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Cornwall base: Megavissey vs Fowey vs Polperra vs Looe, and South vs North coast

Trip to England in latter half of October (yes weather could be miserable). Cornwall for 4 nights, On the south coast we have narrowed our base down to Megavissey vs Fowey vs Polperra vs Looe. Taking train from London to Plymouth then likely rent a car (we were trying to avoid but so many recommend a car to get just a little further than hiking distance out). Fowey or Megavissey (furthest) vs Polperra vs Looe???

And so many have mentioned north coast in Cornwall but that is much further by car and/or trains.
Thoughts? (just to completely mees up my mind). I suppose we could take a car rental up to north coast (choose one location) for one day.

Thank you,

Posted by
1956 posts

All the scenic/quaint coastal villages/towns that you have mentioned have narrow streets and cars may be banned - apart from a few residents who have somewhere to park them. Usually, you will find a car park on the outskirts of these scenic coastal villages and then just walk in. Your best bet is to find somewhere to stay that has parking and is not in one of these villages. Another consideration is road links. A central location would be a good place to use as a base to fan out from in order to see as many places as time allows.
Travelodge and Premier Inns usually have more central locations with parking outside.

Check out this Google map of Cornwall. Zoom down and look at the villages/towns on streetview. Also check out any place where you are planning to stay. To get from London to Cornwall takes the best part of a day.

Posted by
999 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
You are suggesting teeny, tiny places to stay. A car in those places brings at least two issues. Parking. Parking overnight out side of town...danger Will Robinson! These places are tiny and really never designed for parking.

Two, these small places may not have a pub and or restaurant worth visiting. That means driving out for a meal or drink. Drunk driving is not really tolerated in Europe. That makes drinking a dangerous thing to do. So this is another 'danger Will Robinson' situation.

Better to visit these small places late in the afternoon after tourists have mostly departed, enjoy the views and atmosphere, then drive to the larger town where you are staying. Park your car in a secure place and then go out for a meal and a pint.

Why not consider sleeping in Truro. It has a selection of places to eat and sleep. It has a cross roads. You can head north/south, or east/west out of there quickly.

If you want to visit a real Cornwall farming town, go to St. Just. (You go to St. Ives to rub shoulders with tourists.) It is about as 'real' as a town gets. The Queen's Arms north of St. Just is also a 'real' place to eat. On Google maps you can spy the small road squiggling north out of St. Just. Off this road is where you can get to the coast and see Poldark scenery. And of course the coastal hiking/walking trail is nearby.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
5822 posts

The places you have suggested aren’t that small and all have numerous options for eating. If you have a car, you may want to consider staying on the outskirts of the villages, but more places in Looe have parking. The streets in Polperro are very narrow for driving.

All are good bases, so you can’t go wrong, but Polperro is my least favourite.

Posted by
1687 posts

We stayed in Megavissey and it was a very charming village with several restaurant options. Do not try to drive in the area by the fishing docks - the streets are very narrow, about four feet wider than the car and often crowded with pedestrians. Same advice for Mousehole.

It is an hour's drive between the north and south coasts of Cornwall, a much longer distance east - west. Choose instead a base to the east and another at the west end. Most of the villages you have named are "east end". Places to visit on the north coast , Boscastle, Tintagel, and Port Isaac, are an easy day trip from Megavissey.

We stayed at Gunnard's Head, near Zennor for a few nights. Excellent location for the west end of Cornwall and the restaurant on site had outstanding food.

Saint Ives and Penzance were large enough to be PITA traffic problems. Truro is a central location, but rather charmless and not coastal.

We have been to Cornwall several times. Cornwall and the far northeast part of England are the most scenic parts, IMHO.

Posted by
3 posts

I think I’d choose Megavissey out of all those. Yes, the streets are narrow but not impossible to drive. We drove through it twice on one of our trips and parked and stopped for dinner. Some of the lodging do provide a parking spot.

Since you are looking at the southeast coast, include Charlestown in your search, a good mix of tourist offerings and local charm, and when we stayed there for two weeks, the parking was easy. It’s very near St. Austell, which while not the nicest city in the world, has very good butchers, bakers and other shops.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you so much to all who have commented- very much appreciated! Megavissey it is and we will slow down and just experience the area, no car, taxi if we need to and lots of walking!