Having just recently re-opened, naturally, we’re celebrating the much anticipated, newly refurbished Harbour Inn in Porthleven as our pub of the month.
Undergoing a complete transformation, the Harbour Inn has long been a popular choice for both locals and visitors in Porthleven, but this investment has injected a new lease of life into the pub making it a must-visit this May. As the name might suggest, the pub’s enviable harbour-front location is the perfect place to call base and explore this little slice of Cornwall and the surrounding area.
Immerse yourself in the easy-going atmosphere of this harbour town – with a community-led spirit at its core, experience Cornwall like a local and let the waves wash away the stresses of everyday life. Whether it’s a fleeting trip or a week-long break, Porthleven’s irresistible charm will have you counting down the days to your next visit before you leave.
A SPRING FEAST
With the arrival of warmer weather, we’ve refreshed our menu to reflect the changing of the seasons. From our locally caught fish and spiced flatbread sharers to firm pub favourites you know and love, tantalise your tastebuds while watching the waves roll by. And, with plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options available, you needn’t worry about trying to find a place to eat in Porthleven to cater for everyone.
Of course, no visit to Cornwall would be complete without paying ‘tribute’ to the region’s pint of choice. Perfectly poured by our team, a pint of Tribute pale ale is the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Or, enjoy the fresh, crisp notes of the coastal breeze with a pint of korev lager – best served in the sunshine. Too much choice? Our exclusive, limited-edition Cask Club range is also available in the Harbour Inn. With exciting experimental brew styles to discover each week, this could be the perfect answer if you’re looking for something a little different. While an ale might be our first choice, Fridays are for a little fizz - enjoy 25% off bottles of prosecco and get the bubbles flowing ahead of the weekend.
Just popping by for a pitstop? Indulge in something sweet, our afternoon tea with sumptuous scones will have you raring to go again in no time – just be sure to make it jam first!
J ust been into the newly refurbished Harbour Inn and what an amazing refurb it is, by far the nicest pub in Porthleven, and the team are all so nice and attentive. They could not have done more to make us enjoy our meal, the food is top notch and we had speedy service even though it was extremely busy. We were only down for the day but might book a room later this summer to enjoy the place for a couple of days, a must-visit if you are in the area.
Recently refurbished, stay in one of 15 boujee boltholes, just footsteps from the harbourfront. Find plush pillows, cosy nooks, and a few little extra surprises on your arrival - simply settle in and make our rooms your home away from home.
Stylishly decorated with you in mind, our five different room types suit every type of stay, from quick pitstops to week-long getaways with all the family. Watch the world go by from our bar downstairs, sampling a few of our award-winning ales, before retreating upstairs in the evening - with just the stairs to conquer, there's no need to worry about organising transport back to your accommodation.
RETRACE OUR STEPS
The Harbour Inn was originally built as a private hotel in the late 18th century to early 19th century, possibly by William Edgcumbe Cudlip who appears as the earliest owner of the premises. In 1838, the Rowe family were proprietors as Cudlip’s son chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps as a landlord.
By 1870, the hotel was owned by the Porthleven Dock Company. It wasn’t until 1946, the hotel was renamed the Harbour Hotel. Known as the Commercial Hotel, the building was half the size of what it is today!
In 1927, it was leased by the dockyard to Ellis Brewery and Edward Dunstan was listed as the tenant. Ellis Brewery merged into the St Austell Brewery business in 1934, however, St Austell Brewery did not purchase the hotel until 1985 when it was restored to private ownership.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PORTHLEVEN
Porthleven, as a harbour, developed significantly during the early part of the 19th century when William Cookworthy shipped his locally-quarried China clay to his Plymouth-based porcelain factory. Yet, its usefulness as a port was limited due to its vulnerability to the strong prevailing Atlantic winds and rough seas, claiming many a wreck.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of London, the quiet harbour village was mostly home to boat-builders and fishermen. There was a steady rise in population during the 19th century with new buildings established amongst the community, the most notable being the church (1842), lifeboat station (1863), coastguard station (1866), and chapel (1883).
In the 1850s, much to the annoyance of the local fishing fleets, the port was taken over by Harvey & Co, who had major plans for alterations to the harbour, including building the massive sea walls you see today.
By 1913, the harbour was busy receiving coal steamers alongside vessels carrying cement, bricks, and timber.
Today, the Porthleven community has a far more relaxed attitude to everyday life. A surfer's paradise, it’s become one of the UK’s best-known spots with waves often exceeding a 2m break (certainly not one for the faint-hearted!) thanks to the shallow reef that was shaped by blasting the harbour during its construction.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
You’ll likely have seen pictures of Porthleven before visiting from some brave photographer chasing storm waves, capturing the crashing waves against the harbour’s famous clock tower. In the summer, you’ll find calmer seas – the emerald greens and swirling white waters making for mesmerising scenes.
The unspoilt charm of Porthleven is hard to match, making it a top choice for visitors to Cornwall. Yet, with so many nooks to discover, you’ll be able to enjoy an authentic trip and make unique memories with every return visit.
While it’s easy to set back into this relaxed pace of life, adrenaline seekers will still find plenty to jump into. Regarded as one of the best, advanced surfing spots in the country, bring your board and ride the waves – you’ll likely have an audience watching from the harbour! Or, hop on your bike and explore the headlands through cycling trails.
WHAT'S ON IN PORTHLEVEN?
Not sure when to visit? Plan your trip around one of these events and get involved with the local community.
Flora Day – 5th May
Immerse yourself in this ancient Cornish tradition. A spring festival to mark the arrival of new vitality and fertility, houses are adorned with flowers and greenery while the locals dance around the town. Unlike anything you’ll have seen, join in the floral festivities just a stone’s throw from Porthleven in Helston.
St Ives Food & Festival – 12th – 14th May
With the Porthleven food festival a fond memory a few weeks prior, enjoy yet another fantastic foodie extravaganza in the glorious setting of St Ives. From chef's demos and masterclasses to live music and tasting sessions, this weekend has plenty to offer.
Mazey Day – 24th June
A little further along the way in Penzance, the week-long midsummer celebration also known as the Golowan Festival culminates in Mazey Day – the second-largest street party in the UK. Watch parades, and performances, and raise a toast to summer days in this Cornish celebration – the perfect day out.
Porthleven Torchlight Procession – 28th August
Revived by the community back in 2013, but pre-dating to 1948, the annual torchlight procession attracts over 1000 participants – a wonderful spectacle to end the summer on the August bank holiday.
Porthleven Arts Fair – late September - early October 2023 dates TBC
Launching in 2021, the Porthleven Arts Fair is relatively new to the scene but has been a hit amongst locals and visitors alike. A celebration of art in all its forms, the week-long event is a fantastic opportunity for you to develop a new skill, and discover a newfound appreciation for art.
PACK YOUR HIKING BOOTS
With the South West Coast Path cutting through the town, you can be sure to find an array of routes to suit every type of walker. From strenuous, day-long hikes, to gentle circular strolls, explore our gorgeous coastline putting your best foot forward.
Porthleven to Loe Bar
From coast to countryside, this circular route has it all and is perfect for all the family to enjoy. Follow parallel to the sea and you’ll be rewarded with postcard-worthy views across Loe Bar - the beach separating the ocean and Loe Pool, Cornwall’s largest natural freshwater lake. If you decide to cut your walk short, stop here and dip your toes before heading back; or, to continue, walk along the edge of the lake towards Penrose Estate. Find the Stables café and tuck into a cake and coffee, much deserved before the return journey.
You can loop back around here, or instead, wander along into water-lined wooded valleys as you follow the River Cober. Emerge at the Helston Boating Lake where you can again relax before retracing your steps. Alternatively, you’ll find regular buses running back to Porthleven if you’d prefer to put your feet up.
Porthleven to the Lizard
A more challenging route clocking in at 13.4 miles one-way, make a day of this spectacular coastal hike. Passing gem after gem, you’ll venture to the country’s most southwestern point – the Lizard, far less crowded than the equally nearby Land’s End. After a hearty breakfast at the Harbour Inn to fuel your trek, make your way along the path, discovering Gunwalloe and Dollar Cove, Poldhu, Mullion, and the famous Kynance Cove before finally arriving at the picturesque endpoint of the Lizard.
You can easily shorten the walk at Mullion, or even extend the walk by 3 miles to Cadgwith if you’re feet are up to it! Keep an eye out for Cornish choughs, cormorants and seals on the horizon, set strikingly against bright yellow gorse surrounding your every step.
Just a short drive from Porthleven to Praa Sands, enjoy a relatively gentle stroll with this 4-mile circular walk. Ascend the coast path through the dunes towards Rinsey, the historic Wheal Prosper engine house guiding your way onwards.
Exposed at low tide, explore the beach with its gorgeous sandy stretch alongside endless rock pools and caves. If you’re worried about the steep descent and loose rocks, skip the beach and wander around the headland, looking across the ocean as you go.
TAKE TO THE ROAD
Porthleven sits on the South West 660 route between St Austell and Penzance, and this is perhaps one of the most stunning sections of the full route taking you past secluded south coast gems. If you have time for just one segment, make it this one.
While it’s tempting to put your foot down and take the A390, the winding, narrow roads of the SW660 make for a far more interesting journey, even seeing you hop on the King Harry ferry. Pop by St Austell Brewery, before cruising on to route highlights such as the Roseland, Falmouth, Helford, Lizard and more – spend a little time discovering these must-see spots along your route. If you want to extend your adventure (and who could blame you!), the Harbour Inn is the perfect place to make your base, enviably situated within driving range of all these hotspots. We’ll see you on the road!
STAY WITH US
We’re offering you an exclusive 10% discount for stays at the Harbour Inn, booked in April. Use the code ‘PUB10’ to redeem and discover the picturesque harbour town of Porthleven.
* All bookings must be made before May 31st. Only available for use on bookings made before October 18th at the Harbour Inn.