Polperro is a typically picturesque Cornish fishing village. It is located three miles from the larger seaside and working town of Looe. When you are in this part of the world you realise just how unique, and how far, from everywhere else that Cornwall is.
Polperro is a Cornish word (Porthpyra) meaning Pyra’s Cove. Formerly a smugglers’ paradise, it dates form the 13th century and its harbour is still laden with small vessels of all shapes and colours.
Even on a wet and windy autumn afternoon the charms of the village inspire you to explore. Sensibly, cars are not allowed so they are left at the top of the hill. From there it is a gentle stroll downhill, where eventually you reach the harbour and the shoreline.
There are dozens of welcome distractions along the way. While St. Ives may be the county’s most well-known artists’ colony, Polperro seems to have an artistic streak of its own to be proud of. A community hall displays a wide range of local artists’ work which from the traditional to the contemporary, along with other craftware. Almost opposite is a two storey building, home of the East Cornwall Society of Artists, in the wonderfully named Ebenezer Gallery.
If this were not enough there are several shops selling artworks as well. The Polperro Gallery also aids aspiring artistic talents and will “transform your photo into a unique piece of art with your camera to canvas”.
If all this culture makes you hungry or a little thirsty then there are inevitably plenty of places to eat. Some attractive looking independent cafés and restaurants await your pleasure, seemingly at all times of the day. “Bean & Scone” is one, “Somewhere” is another.
The Old Market House and the Blue Peter Inn are just two ancient stalwarts of the village. In 1760 Methodist preacher John Welsey stayed at the former. The latter, by all accounts, appears to be full of local characters and fine ales accompanied by live music.
There are many more sites and sights to see. On a fine day a walk on the hills above the town and around the coastline would be a wonderful adventure. On a wet day such as when I visited, it was enough to admire that rough sea, the prettiness of the village and the resilience to the centuries of changes that have tried, and failed, to wreak havoc on this Celtic Cornish cove.