Crashing waves, a rugged coastline, and a village centre dating back to the Middle Ages: if there’s one Cornish village that well and truly has it all, it’s Port Isaac. And for fans of ITV drama, Doc Martin, the scenery and setting of this English fishing community likely needs no introduction. After all, it’s the setting for the ever-popular series. Here’s your guide to Doc Martin Filming Locations.
Introducing the Fishing Village of Port Isaac
Set in its own natural harbour, Port Isaac once found most of its trade in the fishing industry. Pilchards have since been named as ‘Cornwall sardines’ and while they’re still fished today, much of Cornwall’s revenue, include the postcard-perfect village of Port Isaac, comes in the form of tourism.
If you’re looking for the ultimate Cornish break, especially in the off-season when tourists are few and far between, then I highly recommend booking a weekend escape in Port Isaac. After all, the area is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern Cornwall, not to mention how many great eateries can be found in the area! Check accommodation prices and availability here.
Home to pubs dating back centuries, several cafés (be sure to visit the Cornish Cove), and plenty of meandering lanes, much of the village is car-free due to the cobbled nature of the tiny streets. From Port Isaac, it’s also perfectly possible to walk a couple of miles down the coastline and reach the ever-so-pretty village of Port Quin.
Doc Martin Filming Locations
Cornwall has been used as a backdrop for many films and TV productions over the past century, including Poldark, Ladies in Lavender, and Doc Martin to name but a few. In ITV’s Doc Martin series, Port Isaac is easily the most recognisable location of all and stars as the fictional village of Portwenn.
Doc Martin Tour of Port Isaac
Filming of the hit series occurs every other year, so as to give residents of the tiny village (only one road going through the village is actually accessible to cars!) a break. If you want a guided tour of the most popular Doc Martin filming locations in Port Isaac, then you may well consider booking this tour. Otherwise, read on for the best of filming locations, movie inspiration, and a glimpse of this Northern Cornish pretty as a postcard fishing town…
Buttermilk Confections, 4 Church Hill, Port Isaac
Used as Mrs Tishall’s Chemist Shop in the Doc Martin series, the inside of Buttermilk Confections is also the only interior within the village used for filming (the rest of the interiors are shot outside of Port Isaac itself). Today, should you enter the sweet shop, you can expect to find a range of traditional sweets and treats.
Fern Cottage, ‘Fern Cottage’, 4 Roscarrock Hill, Port Isaac
Used as Doctor Ellingham’s Surgery in the show, this is actually a Holiday Let which you can rent! Located around a hundred metres from Port Isaac’s historic centre, the red-bricked building offers stunning views onto the rest of the town and beyond.
Though the property is private, you can still snap plenty of beautiful photos from the pathway! Carry on along this pathway and you’ll be well en route to Port Quin, where Castle Doyden is to be found…
The Old Schoolhouse Hotel, Fore Street, Port Isaac
Used as the school village in the show, it’s actually a hotel you can book a stay at. As its name suggests, the 1875 built building was once used as a school for the children of Port Isaac and was only converted into a hotel as late as the 1980s. Home to twelve rooms, the hotel has been family-owned since 2007.
Rendered house, 26 Dolphin Street, Port Isaac
A private residence in the heart of the village, the exterior of this house is used as Ann Ruth’s home in the hit series. In Doc Martin, Martin Clunes on-screen Aunt lives in the cottage. Nearby, several other cottages have been featured in the show, including Rose Cottage, a house that recently went up for sale.
The Cornish Cove, 76 Fore Street, Port Isaac
By far and away my favourite eatery in the village, The Cornish Cove can be found on the fringes of the village, close to the coastal path walk that takes you from Port Isaac to Port Gaverne, where some of the best and most convenient parking is located. Walking alongside the coastal path here also affords some of the best views of the village and the sea beyond.
Back at the Cornish Cove, it’s worth noting that the coffee house is home to one of the best cream teas to be found anywhere in the area, the café was used to film new scenes for Doc Martin in May of 2017. For all full review of this wonderful little café, check out my Cornish Cove write up. Otherwise, you should know that this is a great place to stop and relax on your Doc Martin Port Isaac tour, not least because the coffees are served piping hot and the cakes are simply delicious.
Doyden Castle, Port Quin
A little down the coastline, you’ll find the breathtakingly beautiful folly of Port Quin. Now a holiday let owned and managed by the National Trust, this small castle was constructed by a bon-viveur during the 19th-century. In terms of Doc Martin Filming locations, Doyden Castle stars as Pentire Castle and is featured heavily in series 5 of the show.
St Nonna’s Church, Altarnun
If you’ve ever heard of Altarnun before, it’s likely thanks to the iconic Jamaica Inn book by Cornish writer, Daphne du Maurier. In the book, St Nonna’s Church serves as inspiration for the home of the criminal Reverend Francis Davey.
In the Doc Martin series, it’s in this church, which dates back to the Middle Ages, where Doc Martin is jilted at the altar. In a happier turn of events, Doc Martin returns to the church to be married. Should you opt to visit Altarnun today, you can expect to find a pretty village home to an equally quaint pub.