Polperro is a historic Cornish village and fishing harbour on the South-East Cornwall coast.It is situated on the River Pol, 4 miles west of the neighbouring town of Looe.It is well known for its idyllic location, surrounded by tightly packed old fishermen's houses which makes it attractive to tourists. Travelling through the narrow streets to the small harbour are the paths where barrows of fish were once carted, and at night, brandy casks and tobacco bales were carried to the eager folk. This peaceful fishing cove was once a thriving centre for the area's smuggling. Cartloads of contraband left here, some taken across Bodmin Moor and up to London. The Smugglers have long since sailed into folk history and the shining shoals of pilchards have gone,but a visit to the smuggling museum brings this rich heritage back to life.

Polperro Old Photos

Sailing into Polperro from the sea is an awesome experience. Fishing trips or pure pleasure cruises are easy to arrange from the quayside. Or take the cliff path to explore the secluded smuggling coves of Talland and Lantivet Bay, with its protected inner harbour full of colourful boats. Polperro is still a working fishing village,although tourism provides the main source of income.
One of the most popular places in Cornwall, the village of Polperro is one of the prettiest.Packed tightly into a steep valley on either side of the River Pol,the quaint colour-washed cottages and twisting streets offer surprises at every turn: with the Saxon and Roman bridges,the House on Props,the old Watch House, the Fish Quay, and the 16th century house where Dr. Jonathan Couch lived, naturalist and grandfather of the writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch,who lived in Fowey.
The picturesque village of Polperro is famous throughout the world, and a must for visitors. Last year the village organised its own Arts Festival and it was such a success that it is being held again this year with an extended programme over a week.Polperro,being one of the most beautiful villages in the country has always been a draw for artists, so art exhibitions featuring work by local painters, as well as local scenes by visiting artists will be mounted in galleries, pubs, restaurants and other venues throughout the village.
The coastline here is part of the 80 mile South Cornwall Heritage Coast, and from Polperro beautiful walks extend to Talland in the east or Lansallos in the west, both with beaches and interesting churches. These and other secluded coves have, over the centuries, provided ample opportunities for smuggling.

Old Polperro Harbour Cornwall

1937 film British Pathe of Polperro


If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Old Polperro Photos
Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson,
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again - and they'll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining's wet and warm - don't you ask no more!
If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you "pretty maid," and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house - whistles after dark -
You've no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty's here, and Pincher's here, and see how dumb they lie -
They don't fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you've been told, 'likely there's a chance,
You'll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood -
A present from the Gentlemen, along o' being good!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson,
'Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie -
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by.
Rudyard Kipling

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