Overview and History
Mevagissey is a small village set around a working harbour on the South Coast in Cornwall. The town has a small population of around 2000 but this increases dramatically during the summer months as the village is a very popular tourist destination. The main trade there is tourism now even though the harbour is working and fish are still caught and shipped internationally. There is a reason that this picture perfect village in Cornwall is so popular as it is stunning and unspoilt. The streets are narrow and some of the buildings date back several hundred years. There are quaint tea shops and bakeries and traditional pubs to visit when you spend time in the village. The history of Mevagissey is steeped around fishing but the people of this town are known for their resilience as they have carried the village through, pandemic’s, world wars and other tough times. Back in the 17th century Mevagissey was a thriving fishing village and was most famous for pilchard but there have been around 23 species fished in Mevagissey including lobster and spider crab. The village was also a hot spot for smuggling when taxes were raised and this meant that all sorts of products were smuggled in mainly from Roscoff.More recently during both world wars Mevagissey lost many men who fought overseas, this left young boys and older men to carry on maintaining the fishing industry but the people of Mevagissey battled through. One of the best things from a fishing point of view is that even today the younger generation of men in Mevagissey want to be involved with the fishing industry meaning that it can continue even in modern times.
One of the most charming things about Mevagissey is its small streets, this makes the village lovely to explore but not too great if you are in a car. The best thing to do is to park your car in one of the car parks and then walk into the village, that way you can park and not have to worry about getting your car through the busy streets of Mevagissey. The car park is pretty reasonable and as of 2019 only charging £5 per day. There are also toilets nearby too which are public and super convenient if you are out exploring all day. There are buses that go to Mevagissey, be sure to check the timetable, there will be more during the peak months. One of the more picturesque ways of getting to Mevagissey is the Mevagissey Ferry, this will come from Fowey which is also a very popular village on the South Coast. Again check the time table here to make sure that you get the best time.
You will find many different options of accommodation in and around Mevagissey. There are Bed and Breakfast places with amazing views and there are also holiday homes and cottages available, check out our accommodation section for more information here.
Polstreath Beach is about ¼ mile up from the harbour in Mevagissey Village. Although it is close to the harbour it is quite often relatively quiet because it’s access is along the coast path and then down 200 steps to the beach itself. This is fantastic for some people but maybe for others with small children, lots of belongings or people with mobility issues within their group it may not be so easy. The beach is dog friendly all year round and is a perfect place for a walk or a relax on the beach. Portmelon beach is a small beach 0.7 miles from Mevagissey which is accessible during low tide but it is very small, however a great spot for families and walkable if you are staying in the village. For a larger sandy beach then 2.1 miles away is Pentewan Beach, there is always plenty of space here as it is so large and there is a campsite which sits directly behind it meaning there are great facilities there such as food and drink and toilets. Watersports can be done there too, so if you fancied a go at kayaking or just a swim this beach is a fantastic place to explore. Then there is Gorran Haven, 2.8 miles from Mevagissey, this beautiful beach is very popular, there is parking and shops nearby as it sits at the bottom of a village. Do bear in mind though that during high tide there is a lot less sand and therefore less space. Why not explore each beach on your stay as they all offer something different.
Although Mevagissey is a village it is certainly packed full of things to do. The obvious and must see option is the harbour, it is still working and you can walk down there and get some amazing shots and take in some amazing views. It really is that picture perfect Cornish piece of heaven. As we have already mentioned there is also a ferry that will take you across the bay and over to the beautiful village of Fowey, this will be an adventure for everyone as you will ride the ferry and take in some of the most stunning views that Cornwall has to offer. There is a museum in Mevagissey which is free apart from a donation, there are lots of lovely artifacts and you will learn all about the history of the village. There is also a small aquarium in the village. It is free to get in, they just ask for a donation. It features local sea life and explains all about the local fish around Mevagissey, perfect for children to learn whilst they are staying or visiting Mevagissey. There is also a model railway, speed boat rides and galleries, so you can plan to soak in all the culture and sea air that Mevagissey has to offer. Seasonally there are also festivals in Mevagissey which are fantastic local celebrations that are great fun to partake in. The Shanty festival and Feast week are 2 popular ones, you will see carnivals, live music and games in the harbour. Always best to check dates before you book your trip.
Food and Drink
As you would expect, Mevagissey is packed full of fresh local produce and there are many great places that you can dine on some delicious local cuisine. There are some places steeped in history too like the Ship Inn or the Crown Inn, which are traditional pubs dating back hundreds of years. Both serve a delicious pub menu that you will love. For daytime treats you cannot go wrong if you go to Teacup tearoom, this dog friendly tearoom, serves up stunning cakes and cream teas and it is available to eat in or take away, a definite must if you are in Mevagissey. Fancy some fish? Number 5 restaurant or Sharksfin Bar and Restaurant will give you that fresh fish hit you have been waiting for and the Fisherman’s Chippy serves delicious fish and chips, perfect to sit and look out at the perfect Mevagissey view. The Cornish bakery will serve you up the Cornish Pasty that is a must have whilst in Cornwall, and for a drink with a view Tea on the Quay is a delightful spot. For the sweet tooth, She Sells Mevagissey sells a fabulous selection of ice creams and desserts.