Polperro lies in a sheltered ravine on the River Pol, 4 miles (6 km) west of Looe. The large bustling harbour with its colourful maze of boats is closely surrounded with enough old fishermen's cottages and painfully narrow streets that make Polperro the perfect Cornish fishing village. Today, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy but, as in many other Cornish coves, fishing was once King. In days long past great shoals of pilchards were hauled ashore to be salted and pressed, the oil being used for heating and lighting. Today the pilchard shoals no longer come but there are still some dozen local boats operating from the harbour to bring home a variety of fish along with crabs and lobsters.
There certainly are enough pubs, cafes and restaurants to make everyone's visit a memorable one and artists will find the village full of fascinating subjects for their brush. These days' visitors' cars are not allowed to venture into the narrow streets and alleys, therefore visiting vehicles must be left in a public car park just north of the village. Drivers and passengers can then stroll down the remaining half mile to the harbour. For those unable to walk the steep hill, horse and cart "taxis" are available and there are also electrically driven "milk floats".
The harbourside Polperro Heritage Museum of Fishing and Smuggling located in an old fish processing warehouse provides an insight into the village's work and history.
There are guided walks to show visitors the more interesting parts of the village and boat trips along the coastline where seals and dolphins can sometimes be seen.
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