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For Doc Martin fans

We just returned from a 3-week trip to the UK that concluded with a two-night stay in Port Isaac (aka Port Wenn). The trip was mainly focused on walking in various places. It was well worth the detour from Wales to Cornwall on our way back to London, as the walking on the coastal path was wonderful, and it was such fun to see the village where the show is filmed.

We traveled around the UK entirely by train and were able to reach Port Isaac by taking the train as far as Bodmin Parkway, and a pre-booked taxi from there. It cost £35 for four of us plus luggage, and was well worth it. One could take a bus from the train station, but that involves a transfer and a 2.5 hour journey. The taxi ride is 35 minutes and our driver on the return provided lots of entertaining commentary. Who would guess that Martin Clunes actually loves dogs?

Posted by
2658 posts

Hi Lola, Sounds like you had a great trip. I'm counting down till my friend and I go. We start our trip by walking the Cotswold Way, then we are going down to Cornwall, will be visiting Port Isaac. After Cornwall going to Wales for a few days, then on to Holmfirth for a two night stay, this is where they filmed Last of the Summer Wine. We will be taking a tour of the Coronation Street set in Manchester before heading down to London. We will be there from Sept 12-Oct 5th., this does not include our travel day over or back.

Posted by
1976 posts

Thanks for the trip report! I'm watching the 6th season of "Doc Martin" on PBS and the beautiful scenery reminded me why I want to visit the town where the show is filmed. Do you have pictures online you can provide a link to?

Posted by
31464 posts

Lola,

Thanks for the great report. I'd also like to visit Port Isaac one day, as I'm also a Doc Martin fan. I'm upset that this is the last season. Oh well, there's always re-runs.

I imagine that the show has really put that small town "on the map", and they'll probably be seeing a steady stream of viewers that are fans of the show, similar to the situation with Goathland (Aidensfield) in the North York Moors (I have visited there).

Posted by
993 posts

Lola, the last time I was in Port Isaac many of the shops had stickers on their doors say "We Support Doc Martin" Apparently some do not. Did you get that impression? What a lovely village yeah?

Posted by
13042 posts

Ken---I am not so sure that Season 6 is the last. There is talk of another; our B and B hostess mentioned that they may be back to film in 2015. And I found this interview with Martin Clunes on the British TV show "This Morning" where he indicates there will be one more season, to get the Doc and Luisa back to "a better place":

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1juwb9_martin-clunes-on-this-morning-26314_people

Laurel---we did not see the stickers you mentioned but most of the shops appear to support the show; they sell lots of Doc Martin memorabelia. And the shop that functions as Mrs. Tishell's pharmacy goes all out, with photos and autographs. Out hostess mentioned one business that is sort of anti, namely the pottery at the bottom of the road leading to the Doc's house. She told stories of the potter having to get up from his wheel and clean his clay-covered hands to greet potential customers, only to find they just wanted to know where the Doc's house is. Understandable that he would find that intrusive. Now they have a sign pointing upward, saying that the Doc's house is 3 houses up. And the potter's family has opened a cafe in their building, so they are capitalizing on the increased tourist traffic.

The people who own the house itself have found it necessary to wrap it with a chain barrier and a "Private" sign. Again, very understandable. Apparently people were coming up the steps and peering in the windows! Even though it is only the exterior of the house that is used.

It really is a beautiful place, and I highly recommend the hike on the coastal trail going west to Port Quin, and back across the fields (about 6 miles RT). We actually wanted to hike the section east to Tintagel (10 miles) but that required a bus there so we could walk back, and the bus was not running on Sunday. So instead we did the shorter hike, and then walked over to Port Gaverne so my husband could go for a swim. Yes, it was cold and he didn't stay in long. As we left we saw kids arriving with Boogie boards, but they were wearing wetsuits. In mid-August they run a triathlon that starts with a one-mile swim from Port Gaverne to Port Isaac, then continues with a run on the Coast Path to Port Quin (fairly gnarly with lots of steps), and a 3-mile kayak trip back. The next day they do a Big Swim, 3 miles from Port Quin to Port Isaac. There is lots going on there besides the Doc Martin nostalgia.

Posted by
13042 posts

Sarah---sorry, no pictures; I don't know how to link to them. But they all look just exactly like the village you see in the show. The only difference is that I am in them!

Posted by
27707 posts

Great report. Sounds like I should see the show, and then trundle down to Pt Isaac. I've sort of wanted to visit since I love the music of Fishermans Friends.

Posted by
13042 posts

Hi Nigel---we stayed at a B and B run by one of the Fisherman's Friends and his wife. Very kind and welcoming people. We did not get to hear them sing as we were not there on a Friday night, but we are going to buy their CD.

Posted by
1286 posts

Lola, loved your informative report. I'd definitely like to visit one day. I'm glad to hear you were able to travel by train.

Posted by
6333 posts

I live and work in Hollywood and a simple fact regarding on location filming is that it's intrusive. Never let anyone tell you it's not. So after the initial excitement wears off and it does quite quickly ( hurry up and wait describes film and TV production) residents and business owners grow weary of the lack of parking, access to walkways and streets being denied, construction noise, congestion, etc. Yes, filming a series on location definitely generates revenue and that's a plus for the community. As I'm often asked "How can I get my home used as a location," I look at the home owner and inquire, " are you absolutely certain you are okay with 50-80 complete strangers in your house day and night? Will your neighbors share the excitement?"
Location filming is a blessing and a curse and I imagine for a quaint berg like Port Isaac, residents and shop owners have varied opinions about that reality.

Posted by
31464 posts

I can well understand the feelings of the locals regarding the increased tourist traffic resulting from having very popular shows filmed in their community. When I visited the Goathland Hotel (a.k.a. "Aidensfield Arms"), there was a large sign on the front desk that said "NO, Heartbeat is NOT filming today". I gather they had been receiving numerous questions about that from visitors, and were getting tired of them.

Posted by
993 posts

Nigel, I heard there was someone left on the planet who hadn't seen Doc Martin! The character was seen first in the movie "Saving Grace" (?) anyone(?) and of course there are those two movies. Same sort of premise but he had a different name and he was nicer.

Lola, I can't wait to go back. Our base is Mevagissey and we'll stop in PI on our way to N. Wales. Martin Clunes also loves horses. He did a special on them..he got a bit teary in places..

Posted by
85 posts

We are going to "Port Wenn" in July. Two years ago we went to Ballykissangle. We love the town of Avoca. The lady in the tourist office was helpful. The people at the Mill were wonderful and we enjoyed our B & B but I have to say we were made to feel very very unwelcome at Fitzgeralds pub. Probably the most disappointing experience I have had in many years of travel so I was pleased to read all the positive things about Doc Martin's home town. We are also going to see Peter Kingdom's place in Norfolk

Posted by
13042 posts

Laurel---yes, I have seen Martin Clunes' special on horses. I love horses too (and have had several in the past) and it was very moving to see his affection for his own horse. A nice big one, part Clydesdale as I recall.

He looks so different when he steps outside his Doc Martin curmudgeon role. You should watch the interview I linked above. Apparently he is making ( or has made) movie about lions, something inspired by Elsa the lioness of " Born Free" fame. It is called "A Lion called Mugie'" filmed in Kenya. He has also written a book on dogs, titled "A Dog's Life."

Mary--- I think you will find a warm welcome in Port Isaac, wherever you go. I can't think of any actual pubs, but the small restaurants are very friendly. Try the Mote, right by the harbor. Our B and B hostess recommended that and the Old Schoolhouse. Of course the Bert Large restaurant does not exist, but his "son" Al now lives in Port Isaac and is involved somehow in the Mote (again, according to our hostess. Her daughter works there).

Posted by
37 posts

Just FYI, Martin Clunes has also done a documentary on dogs. Love the show.:-)

Posted by
1976 posts

Martin Clunes also did a wonderful three-part series called "The Islands of Britain."

Posted by
993 posts

Martin Clunes. Yes, I saw the Islands of Britain too. It was fun to watch. I also liked his Reginald Perrin.