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Doc Martin, Cornwall

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Charming fishing villages were never quite as lively as when Doc Martin came to town.

Martin Clunes plays Martin Ellingham, the local GP in the fictional Cornwall village of Portwenn. A brilliant surgeon with a blood phobia that ruined his illustrious career, Doc Martin dismays locals with his lack of interpersonal skills.

Doc Martin

The village of Portwenn is based on the real-life fishing village of Port Isaac. Port Isaac is situated in a little valley in North Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor. You may also know it from the filming of the TV series, Poldark. Many of its 18th and 19th century cottages in the old centre of the village are listed as architecturally and historically important; many of the old fishermen’s cottages are now holiday lets.

A fishing village since the early 14th century, Port Isaac’s old white-washed cottages and narrow, meandering streets give comedy drama Doc Martin a genuine quirky Cornish atmosphere. Talking of quirky, look out for the famous Port Isaac alley – it’s called Squeezebelly Alley and if you’re too fat you simply won’t get through!

Until the advent of the railway, Port Isaac was a busy coastal port, an active harbour for ore, limestone, coal and other cargo. Today it’s limited to fishing for crab and lobster, along with scenic tours for tourists. Port Isaac and nearby village Port Gaverne in the next valley are both within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Heritage Coast Area. As such, there are numerous nature and coastal walks around the area for the novice and experienced walker alike.

The walk from Port Quin to Port Isaac takes a steady two hours and you’ll see Tregardock, Trebarwith and Tintagel Island in the distance. The stretch of the Coast Path from Padstow to Bude is recognised for its particularly stunning scenery.

If you’re a cyclist, the Camel Trail is a maintained 18 mile cycle way among the Cornish countryside, travelling along a disused railway line between Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow.

Port Isaac has only a shingle beach but the widely recognised best surfing beach in North Cornwall is only four miles away in Polzeath.

North Cornwall is known for its dramatic coastline. The county packs a lot into its 60 miles of Atlantic Heritage coast with coves, towns, Bodmin Moor, country houses and castles all occupying the same space. Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman penned poems such as Seaside Golf to declare his love for North Cornwall. Many stories are told about the wild and mysterious Bodmin Moor. Extend your trip to Bude, North Tamar, Wadebridge, Padstow, Bodmin and then even further afield to the coastal resort of Newquay, Cornwall’s most popular Cornish holiday destination, 20 miles east of Bodmin.

North Cornwall acts as a gateway to the rest of Cornwall, with the A30 dual carriageway being the main transport route through the county. North Cornwall's railway station is at Bodmin Parkway; aeroplanes fly into the primarily domestic Newquay Cornwall Airport.


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