Visit Porthleven and experience this charming town, stunning harbour, fabulous beaches, and some of the best surf conditions in Cornwall.

Discover Porthleven

Porthleven is a picturesque coastal village nestled in Cornwall. Boasting stunning landscapes, rich history, and a vibrant community, Porthleven is an excellent destination for anyone seeking an authentic Cornish experience. With its picturesque harbour, beautiful beaches, and excellent surf, Porthleven offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. As you meander through the narrow streets, you'll be delighted by the quaint cottages, historic buildings, and scenic views that define Porthleven. As you delve deeper into the village, you'll discover a vibrant culinary scene, unique shops and galleries, and a calendar filled with exciting annual events and festivals.

Porthleven Harbour is a charming and historic fishing port a well-loved destination for tourists. Steeped in maritime history, Porthleven Harbour has been integral to the region's identity and economy, providing a safe haven for fishing boats and merchant's vessels for over 200 years. With its iconic clock tower and traditional granite pier, Porthleven Harbour offers a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant local culture, and a rich heritage that continues to thrive today.

Portleven Harbour

The development of Porthleven Harbour began in 1811 when the need for a secure port for ships became apparent due to the treacherous coastline and frequent storms. Porthleven Harbour was constructed by a group of local gentlemen and merchants, led by John Rogers, Esq., the then Helston Mayor. The construction of the harbour was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1811, and the work was carried out by French prisoners of war who were being held in the area during the Napoleonic Wars.

Sir William Lemon, a wealthy landowner and former Member of Parliament for Cornwall, played a pivotal role in the harbour's construction by providing substantial financial support. He was a wealthy landowner who owned a large estate in the area. He was also a member of Parliament and a prominent figure in the local community. Lemon was a strong advocate for the construction of the harbour, and he played a crucial role in securing the funding for the project. He also donated land to construct the harbour and oversaw the project from start to finish.

Lemon was a visionary leader who saw the potential of Porthleven Harbour. He believed the harbour could help revitalise the local economy and create jobs. He was also passionate about improving the people's lives in the area. Lemon's efforts to build Porthleven Harbour were a significant success. The harbour quickly became an important centre for the fishing and granite industries. It also helped boost the local economy and improve the lives of the people in the area.

Porthleven Harbour was completed in 1825 after fifteen years of construction, opened for business in 1826, and became a busy port for trade and fishing. The harbour had 150 boats in 1870 and received coal steamers and vessels carrying cement, bricks and timber. Porthleven also had a lifeboat station from 1863 to 1929 and rescued many sailors from shipwrecks caused by the Atlantic gales. Learn more about on the Website that details some of the early history of Porthleven harbour, including pictures from the past.

Portleven Harbour Today

Today, Porthleven Harbour remains a vital commercial fishing centre and boasts a thriving community of local fishermen who contribute to the region's seafood industry. Visitors often wander along the harbour's edge, watching the daily catch being unloaded or taking in the stunning views of Mount's Bay and the Lizard Peninsula.

The harbour is also home to charming cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and shops that showcase the very best of Cornish produce and craftsmanship. In addition to its commercial significance, Porthleven Harbour is a popular destination for leisure activities such as sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The harbour's sheltered waters provide ideal conditions for these pursuits, making it an attractive spot for water sports enthusiasts. Furthermore, the annual Porthleven Food Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year, offering a lively celebration of local food, drink, and entertainment set against the stunning backdrop of the harbour.

Porthleven Harbour combines a rich maritime history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a vibrant local community. Its enduring appeal as both a commercial fishing port and a tourist destination is a testament to the harbour's unique charm and the spirit of those who call it home. Whether seeking to experience the lively atmosphere of the Porthleven Food Festival or enjoy a peaceful stroll along the water's edge, Porthleven Harbour is an enchanting destination you will love.

Picture of Porthleven Harbour and leisure boats, Cornwall

Porthleven Harbour and leisure boats. Picture © Stoo Mathiesen

Picture of Porthleven Harbour Gun and harbour area, Cornwall

Porthleven Harbour and Harbour Gun. Picture © Werner Wilmes

Porthleven Beaches, Surfing and other Water Sports

Beaches near Porthleven

The most popular beaches near Porthleven include:

Porthleven Beach: This large, sandy beach is south of the village's iconic harbour and mirrors Loe Bar Road. This beach is known for its strong Atlantic Ocean waves and is popular among experienced surfers. However, due to strong currents and hidden rocks, Porthleven Beach is not recommended for swimming. Porthleven beach has a seasonal ban on dogs on the beach during certain hours, not to worry there is plenty of other places to take your dogs for a walk.

Further along the coast is the outstanding Loe Bar Beach. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, Loe Bar Beach is an ideal spot for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts, and photographers, but it's not advisable for swimming or water sports due to dangerous rip currents. Dogs are allowed year-round; they should not be allowed into the sea due to strong undercurrents.

Situated a bit further south of Loe Bar Beach is Gunwalloe Church Cove. The beach is sandy, sheltered, and boasts excellent water quality, making it ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkelling. Dog restrictions apply from Easter to October from 10 am to 6 pm.

Praa Sands Beach is a beautiful one-mile-long, sandy beach in the northeast of Porthleven. It is popular among families and water sports enthusiasts, and its waters are considered excellent for surfing, windsurfing, and bodyboarding. Dogs are restricted on this beach from Easter to October.

Rinsey Cove is under 10 minutes from Porthleven, a small, rocky beach with beautiful coastline views. It's unsuitable for swimming due to powerful waves and rocky terrain, but visitors can enjoy its natural beauty, which is also perfect for photography. Dogs are permitted year-round.

Always be cautious of tides, weather conditions, and local regulations when visiting beaches in Cornwall, as conditions can change quickly, and some areas might not be safe for swimming or other activities.

Riding The Waves

If you're looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, Porthleven's surfing is the place for you. However, due to the nature of the underwater reef and rocks, this venue is considered an expert-level surfing area unsuitable for people learning the sport. If you are visiting Porthleven for surfing, be aware that nearby local parking at the harbour can be an issue, especially in summer. When the waves are high, you can also expect an audience watching from the harbour and shoreline.

If you are learning to surf, don’t be disappointed as there are plenty of nearby beaches for learning surfing and other water sports.

Surfing in Porthleven

Porthleven is a fantastic destination for surfing enthusiasts. The waves at Porthleven range from gentle, rolling swells to powerful, barreling waves that offer thrilling rides. Many Cornwall surf schools offer beginner lessons if you're new to surfing. These lessons will teach you the basics of surfing, including paddling, standing up on the board, and riding the waves safely. For more experienced surfers, Porthleven offers some of the best waves in the UK. When surfing in Porthleven, it's essential to take safety precautions, such as wearing a wetsuit and leash and being aware of the tide and weather conditions.

Kayaking in Porthleven

Kayaking in Porthleven is an experience like no other. Its picturesque cliffs, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal location for kayaking enthusiasts. Kayaking companies in Cornwall also offer guided tours of the coastline, providing a unique way to explore the nooks and crannies of the area.

Stand-up paddleboarding in Porthleven

If you're looking for a fun water sport in Porthleven, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great option and involves standing on a large board and using a long paddle to navigate the water. It's a fun and unique way to explore the coastline and take in the beautiful scenery of Porthleven. Paddleboarding is an excellent activity for all experience levels, from beginners to advanced riders.

Sailing and Leisure Boats

Porthleven's harbour and nearby waters provide opportunities for sailing enthusiasts. Whether you have a boat or want to rent one, you can enjoy cruising, racing, or leisurely sailing along the beautiful coastline.

The historic harbour is privately owned, used for commercial and leisure purposes. Berths are available for visiting boats and yachts. The waters around Porthleven can be challenging due to currents, winds, and tides, so it is essential to have adequate sailing experience and knowledge of local conditions before embarking on a sailing trip. Boaters should familiarise themselves with the area's tidal patterns and weather forecast to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Racing and Regattas

Porthleven hosts various sailing races and regattas annually, attracting sailors from the local community and beyond. These events provide opportunities for competitive sailing and a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant sailing community of the area. There are also fun activities, including the raft race, raising money for charity. Porthleven Gig Club gives your details of local events.

The fun event of the year is the Porthleven raft race, usually held in September. Watch the Porthleven raft race page on Facebook for details of this fun event, or on the Porthleven Art Festival Raft Race web page. This event is run along with the Porthleven Art festival.

Porthleven Sea Fishing

Porthleven offers excellent fishing opportunities from the shore and by boat. Anglers can try their hand at sea fishing, targeting mackerel, bass, and pollock species. Fishing charters are available for fishing trips, ranging from short 2 hr trips off the harbour to daily charters for deeper water fishing adventures.

Local fishermen primarily use the harbour in Porthleven, yet it also provides an excellent opportunity for recreational fishing. Anglers often fish from the harbour walls or the beach adjacent to the entrance. Common species caught in the area include mackerel, bass, pollock, wrasse, and various types of flatfish.

Fishing conditions and the availability of different fish species may vary throughout the year, so it's a good idea to check local regulations and get advice from local anglers or tackle shops for the best fishing spots and bait recommendations. Remember to obtain the required fishing permits or licenses, and be mindful of any local rules or restrictions regarding fishing in the area.

The nearby Loe Bar beach is popular for people fishing with a beach caster; remember to watch out for the waves and keep yourself and your rod well back from the sea edge, as the unexpected and surprisingly strong waves can come in and drag you towards the strong undercurrent just off the beach. Read more about fishing in this area of Cornwall on the website South West Sea Fishing - Loe Bar beach.

For boat sea angling and charter services, search Facebook or Google for local boats operating out of Porthleven and for up-to-date information on availability and costs.

Picture of Porthleven on a stormy day with waves hitting the coastal wall defenses, Cornwall

The coastline of Porthleven on a stormy day. Picture © Tony Armstrong-Sly

Holiday Accommodation near Porthleven

Camping near Porthleven

Camping is a great way to have a holiday in Cornwall and is cheaper than renting a self-catering cottage or booking a hotel. The whole family will enjoy the freedom of sleeping under the stars and meeting new friends who share a similar love of the countryside. For families, it often leaves lasting, fond memories of being together on holiday.

Here are a few camping sites near Porthleven:

Wheal Vreagh Farm Campsite

This small, family-run campsite is in the countryside, just a short drive from Porthleven and Praa Sands. With 17 pitches available, all with electricity, this site is ideal for camping or caravanning. The site also has three comfy cabins available for rent.

Website: Camping | Wheal Vreagh Farm Campsite

Boscrege Caravan and Camping Park

Just under 6 miles from Porthleven. This family-run campsite, just 3 miles from Praa Sands Beach, has a range of pitches to choose from. Set on 12 acres of land and surrounded by beautiful countryside, this family-friendly site also has several caravans to rent or to buy and keep on site. Dog and child friendly.

Website: https://www.caravanparkcornwall.com/

Penrose Campsite

Situated within the Penrose Estate, this campsite offers a tranquil setting surrounded by woodland and lakes. It's about a 20-minute walk from Porthleven and provides hiking, cycling, and wildlife spotting opportunities.

Facebook: Penrose Campsite | Helston | Facebook

Treglisson Caravan and Camping Park

Located near Hayle, Treglisson Caravan and Camping Park is about a 20-minute from Porthleven. It's set in a peaceful countryside and offers spacious pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes. They also two lovely wooden pods / cabins and a caravan for holiday lets. Dog and child friendly.

Website: Treglisson Campsite | Campsite in Hayle, Dog friendly

Gweek Campsite

This small site is the perfect location to get away from it all, and with nine pitches (up to 4 campervans), it is part of the Greener Camping Club. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and near the Helford River, the campsite offers peaceful camping experiences for tent campers. The site does not cater for caravans or motorhomes. You can also rent a clamping house on wheels that sleeps up to 6 persons. This perfect location is for families wanting a shared, friendly experience around a campfire and are happy to make new friends. Modern toilets and free showers are part of the site.
Website: Gweek Campsite - www.gweekcampsite.co.uk

Remember to check availability, facilities, and any specific requirements before booking your camping trip.


Tents and Camping Equipment for a great Holiday

When you plan a camping trip, it is essential to have the right equipment to make your vacation enjoyable. The first thing you need is a big tent to accommodate everyone in your group. You might also consider investing in a high-quality sleeping bag and camping mattress to ensure a comfortable night's rest. A camping stove, cooking utensils, and a cooler can help you prepare meals and keep your food fresh.

Shop for tents, walking boots and camping gear at Amazon

When it comes to clothing, pack appropriate attire for the weather conditions and suitable hiking shoes. It is also a good idea to bring along bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit for emergencies. Remember to pack light and only bring what you need. Camping is all about enjoying nature and disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so try to avoid bringing too many electronics or other distractions. You can have a great holiday under the stars with the right camping equipment.

Latourreg Pyramid Round Bell Tent Canvas Yurt Tent for Outdoor Camping

The Latourreg Pyramid Round Bell Tent Canvas Yurt Tent is a unique camping option that is perfect for those that want to experience luxury camping. The tent is designed with a pyramid shape and offers plenty of space for sleeping, storage and relaxing. The tent is made from high-quality, waterproof, durable, long-lasting canvas fabric. It is easy to set up and can be assembled by one or two persons in just a few minutes.

The round bell shape creates a cosy atmosphere perfect for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The tent is designed with a large front door and two windows that allow for plenty of natural light and ventilation. The tent is also equipped with a stove jack that allows you to use a wood stove to keep warm during colder nights.

Overall, the Latourreg Pyramid Round Bell Tent Canvas Yurt Tent is the perfect option for those who want to experience luxury camping uniquely and comfortably. Shop now for 4, 5 or 6-metre Bell tents

Shop for Latourreg Yurt Tents

Staying in a Hotel near Porthleven

One of the most significant advantages of staying in a hotel is its convenience. Unlike holiday rentals or staying with friends and family, hotels can offer a hassle-free experience. Once you check in, you don't have to worry about anything. Hotels also provide a range of amenities, such as room service, housekeeping, concierge, restaurant and often a bar where you can relax and enjoy a drink, or a coffee, making your stay even more convenient. Overall, the convenience of staying in a hotel can make your holiday stress-free and enjoyable, allowing you to focus on making unforgettable memories.

Hotels offer a range of amenities to ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Luxury amenities are one of the biggest draws of staying in a hotel on holiday. From plush bedding to luxurious toiletries, hotels offer everything you need to feel pampered and relaxed.

Some hotels also offer spa facilities, which can be a real treat for guests. Imagine retreating to a serene space where experts are waiting to rejuvenate your body and mind. Hotels may also offer swimming pools, saunas, and steam rooms, which can be perfect for unwinding after a busy day of sightseeing. If you want to play a round of golf, then you will often be able to find a hotel with a golf course, usually situated in the countryside only a few miles from town.

Another luxury amenity often offered by hotels is room service. Room service can be particularly convenient if you travel with children or have had a long day and want to relax. You can indulge in a delicious meal or snack from the comfort of your own room without venturing out, especially after a long journey.

Overall, the luxury amenities hotels offer can be a great way to make your holiday unforgettable. By staying in a hotel, you can truly relax and indulge in the finer things in life, making your trip all the more special.

Hotels near Porthleven

Harbour Inn

The Harbour Inn overlooking the harbour, Porthleven, Cornwall.

Artisic image of The Harbour Inn, Porthleven.

The Harbour Inn hotel offers stunning harbour views, traditional pub grub, and cosy rooms. The Inn has outdoor seating areas for you to enjoy drinks while viewing the harbour. The hotel is also dog friendly, with dogs allowed in certain bedrooms and the pub. With delightful rooms available and great food, this should be on your list of hotels. Music is a regular feature, with forthcoming performances listed on Facebook.

Website: Harbour Inn | Porthleven

Facebook: Harbour Inn | Porthleven near Helston

Places to Visit near Porthleven

Picture of National Trust Penrose Estate, Cornwall

Penrose Estate. Picture © Dennis White


With two beaches at Gunwalloe, you are spoilt for choice. Church Cove is a beautiful sandy beach with restrictions on dogs from 1st July to 31st August, while the nearby Dollar Cove has no restrictions on your dog's use of the beach or the surrounding coastal paths.

Gunwalloe Church Cove is nestled between cliffs and takes its name from the nearby St. Winwaloe, a 15th-century church just meters away from the shoreline, making it a unique and charming spot to visit. The beach is popular among families and visitors looking for a peaceful day at the shore due to its enclosed nature, which provides some shelter from the wind.

The cove is also quite popular for rock pooling and swimming during summer, with lifeguards on duty during peak season. Nearby, several coastal walking paths offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and walkers can frequently observe the local birdlife and wildflowers that flourish in the area. Gunwalloe Church Cove has a car park, toilets and a cafe.

Website: National Trust.

National Trust Penrose Estate

The Penrose Estate is a beautiful and expansive area of countryside in Cornwall, England, managed by the National Trust. Covering around 650 hectares (1,606 acres), it encompasses a variety of landscapes such as woodland, farmland, coastal areas, and wetlands. The estate is located near Helston, between the Lizard Peninsula and Mount's Bay, and surrounds the Loe Pool – Cornwall's largest natural freshwater lake. The estate is rich in biodiversity, providing habitats for various species of flora and fauna. It is an important area for wildlife conservation, with the Loe Pool designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Visitors to the Penrose Estate can explore several well-maintained walking and cycling trails that offer stunning views of the Cornish countryside, the Loe Pool, and the coast. The trails cater to different fitness levels and interests, making the estate an ideal destination for families, nature enthusiasts, and outdoor adventure seekers. One of the key features of the Penrose Estate is the grand, Georgian-style Penrose House, built in the 1770s. Although the house is not typically open to the public, occasional guided tours are offered by the National Trust, providing insight into its history and architecture.

The estate also boasts several other historical structures, including old farm buildings, remnants of ancient settlements, and a Victorian folly known as "The Lodge." Furthermore, a café offers visitors refreshments, situated in the former coach house at the Penrose Estate. Overall, the National Trust's Penrose Estate is a haven for nature lovers, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse landscape with a unique combination of natural beauty, wildlife, and heritage.

The estate boasts a stunning stretch of coastline along Mount's Bay. Visitors can enjoy walks along the South West Coast Path, which runs through the estate, offering breathtaking views of the sea, cliffs, and coves. Walking and cycling trails allow visitors to explore the estate's diverse landscapes. Additionally, Loe Pool offers fishing opportunities and designated picnic areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings. To learn more about the Penrose Estate visit the National Trust website.