9th July – Port Isaac & Padstow (briefly)

When I drew up a list of places to visit, Port Isaac was at the top of the list.

The reason for that? Doc Martin.The ITV series starring Martin Clunes as the eponymous Doc, is filmed on location in Port Isaac, although it is called Port Wenn in the series.

I used to watch Doc Martin with my Mum, I must have seen all the episodes at least twice if not more. I even watched half an episode a few days ago when I was channel hopping, although that may have been because I’ve now been there.

From what I could see there is very little in the town that screams ‘This is the home of Doc Martin!!!’. There’s a coffee shop at the top of the road that has some photos and some merchandise, but isn’t actually featured in the show itself.

Considering most visitors come here because of the show, I find that a little odd.

The only place featured in the show that actually makes any kind of reference, is the sweetshop which doubles as Mrs Tishell’s Chemists. There is a small display of candid on set photos, and the proprietress is happy to answer questions about filming and the use of the shop.

After walking down the hill (there’s that recurring theme again) and having a quick look around, I walked up to the Doc’s house. There is a sign at the bottom of the street directing visitors to the house but when you get there…There’s a little chain link rope thing and a ‘Private Property’ sign. The door’s the wrong colour too 😉

If you watch the show, then you are aware Bert had a restaurant not too far from the Doc’s house; there isn’t a mention of this place at all.Another view showing Bert’s and the Doc’s house.At the bottom of the hill is the sweetshop/chemists, I was wandering around trying to work out where it was, when it dawned on me this was the only shop I hadn’t been in.

I walked in expecting a chemist (the power of TV!) and found shelves stacked with sweets.Not a great photo, I didn’t take one when I went in, and by the time I realised I hadn’t the place had filled up. If you had a postcard from Port Isaac from me, it was on the left hand side by the door as you look out. So if you see Doc Martin and there’s an inside shot of the chemist, your postcard was bought there!

Port Isaac is a working fishing port and to the right of where those three chaps are standing, is where the fishermen sell their catch. You can go in and have a look, I’m not a fish person but it was interesting to see the ladies (perhaps fisher-wives) cleaning and prepping the fresh shellfish.

After a quick coffee I went back up the hill to see the school and Louisa’s cottage.

Here’s the school…a terrible photo!It was originally a school but is now a restaurant.

Walking up the hill I tried to spot various other locations. The gallery is the TV grocers and I couldn’t work out if the chipshop was the chipshop in the show or whether they used the ice cream parlor next door.

Virtually opposite is Louisa’s cottage; at least I think it is. It could be the one with the blue door.I really enjoyed being in Port Isaac and would come back, perhaps when the filming takes place next year (fingers crossed), or to hear the Fisherman giving a concert.

Once again I had planned to be somewhere all day and that hadn’t worked out. As nice as it was I couldn’t stay any longer in Port Isaac. I was also on the way to my 4th campsite, so I looked on the map to see what was about that I could visit.

Not too far away was Padstow, so I drove there and I don’t know why, I really can’t put my finger on it but I didn’t like it. I could have been the amount of people, it was the busiest place of my trip at that point and I was possibly used to having a bit more space.

Although I didn’t stay long, I did go and have a look at Prideaux Place and found myself on the tour. The guide was an older gentleman and he was soooooo boring. It was a bit like he had read up on the house the day before and was now trying to remember as much as he could, all without making it sound interesting.

The tour was supposed to last an hour, which would have been fine as my parking ran out in one hour 15 minutes. However on the hour mark we were only 3/4s done, so I had to make my excuses and make a dash to the car park.

It was then off to my 4th campsite for a one nights stay before heading towards Land’s End.