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Help on Tour of Cornwall


My husband and I are arriving in London on June 24 and leaving for Paris on July 3rd. During this time we would like to visit Port Issac and the area around it. What advice can you give me for short (2-3 days) or even one day tours of the area. AND...what is the best way to get to Cornwall from London? Flight from Heathrow? Renting a car is not an option. Ideally I would like to hop on a plane on the 24th and be back to London on the 26th or 27th. We have to be back in London by the 29th. Thoughts?

Posted by
14052 posts

If you want to visit Port Isaac, I suggest you plan a 2-night stay there, as it is delightful, and fun to visit all the Doc Martin sites.

We did that in May of 2014, taking the train to Bodmin Parkway station, with a pre-booked taxi from there (£30). The direct train (no changes) from Paddington Station takes 3h 51min.

We stayed at Orion House B and B right in the village, which was a great choice. The proprietress told us some great stories while she made our breakfast. "Bert Large" was staying across the street right before we arrived. The town has prospered with the Doc Martin tourism, and is very welcoming. Most of the visitors seem to be American or Australian.

At that time, (2014) season 6 had been completed, and there was uncertainty as to whether there would be a Season 7. Apparently Martin Clunes was pushing for it, and they did indeed return in 2015 to film Season 7. Now they are up through Season 9. They do most of the filming in April, so you won't see that in July. But you may see some of the actors in town as they have moved to the area to live.

The location of the village is very scenic, as you know well from the movies. We poked around the narrow lanes of the town, enjoying the gardens, and also walked west on the coast path among the cattle, looping past the upland building (a large barn-like structure) where they film many of the interior scenes. We also walked east to the next village where my husband went for a swim in the bay. If you are strong hikers you can take the bus to Tintagel and walk back from there. We did not do that as the bus does not run on Sunday.

On our return to Paddington Station, when we exited onto London St., we found quite a commotion at the intersection with Praed Street. And then we saw the cause: two contestants from The Amazing Race (which I have never watched, but I knew about it) were frantically trying to find their way through the crowd and into the station. Maybe trying to catch the Heathrow Express to Heathrow for their next stop?

Posted by
5772 posts

Port Isaac doesn't have rail service. The National Rail website shows trains from Paddington to Bodmin Parkway, which looks like the station nearest Port Isaac, most involving a change in Plymouth. Travel time is around four hours. There's some kind of bus service from Bodmin to Port Isaac, or a taxi might be easier at a higher cost.

Rabbie's, a well-known and well-regarded company, offers this 5-day tour of Devon and Cornwall. It looks like it includes part of an afternoon in Port Isaac. The rest of the itinerary looks very good if you want to see more of the area. But you'd need more time than you apparently have. Google may help you find shorter tours, perhaps from Exeter or Plymouth.

It's hard to get around Cornwall without driving, and the driving tends to be slow especially in summer. Train is definitely the best way to get there from London.

Posted by
2726 posts

From London Paddington you can go to Bodmin Parkway it’s a 3 hour 49 minute ride, which is the closest train station to Port Isaac which is 14 miles, you can either take a cab or coach (bus) to Port Isaac. You do not have to change trains.

Posted by
2135 posts

It seems a shame to go all the way to Cornwall just to see Port Isaac. You will find the cheapest train fares get loaded around 11 weeks ahead for you to pre-book specific trains. Note that some of the 10 coach trains to Cornwall split at Plymouth with only the front 5 proceeding west. The company is:>

Rather than return to London, you can fly from Bristol direct to Paris with Easyjet.

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks for all the help. I like the spending 2 nights in Port Issac idea. We have to return to London as we are going to Wimbledon...will stay there until July 3.

Thanks for the train tips.

My research continues....