Where is Doc Martin filmed?
Port Isaac in Cornwall is home to ITV’s hit series, Doc Martin, which has been filmed here since 2004. The series stars Martin Clunes as Dr Martin Ellingham – a brilliant surgeon with a fear of blood, who gets the job of the only GP in a sleepy Cornish village. Caroline Catz plays his wife, Louisa. Now eight series in, it is loved by fans in the UK and around the world. Part of the show’s attraction is undoubtedly the idyllic setting in which it is filmed. In the TV show it is called Portwenn – not far off its real name, Port Isaac, on the north coast of Cornwall.
About Port Isaac
Port Isaac is an unspoilt picturesque fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall, five miles from Wadebridge and set amongst magnificent cliff scenery. White washed slate hung cottages stand in tiers above the harbour. Between the cottages are narrow passages called ‘drangs’. A stream runs down through the village to the harbour, where fishing boats unload their catches. There are long stone built fish cellars by the harbour.
I have posted my photographs of Port Isaac here.
The village provides good walking on the South West Coast Path, which leads either side of Port Isaac on the cliffs. It has been a fishing village since the 14th century, but from the 15th century until the middle of the 19th century, Port Isaac was a busy port, handling coal, timber, corn and Delabole slate. The name, Port Isaac, is derived from “Porth Izzick” which means corn port, reflecting the trade in corn.
What about the name Portwenn?
Portwenn is, of course, the fictional setting for the TV series, but the name itself has relevance to the area. Port Wenn is actually the old name of the nearby cove, Port Quin.
Visiting Port Isaac
As car parking is very limited, visitors need to park in the car park at the top of the village and make the steep climb down into Port Isaac. There are plenty of places to eat and drink and a number of shops selling local art and crafts.
The most visited building in Port Isaac is Fern Cottage on Roscarrock Hill, a two bedroom detached stone house, which is Doc Martin’s home and also his surgery. It has stunning views over the harbour and out to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Golden Lion pub, is a beautiful 18th century pub, full of character and charm. The “Bloody Bones Bar” has a smuggling tunnel which leads down to the beach. The pub’s outdoor terraces give a wonderful view of the harbour and the cliffs beyond.
Port Isaac in films and other TV series
Port Isaac has been used as a location for other productions, including Poldark in the 1970s and Saving Grace, a comedy also starring Martin Clunes, in 2000 which, in fact, was a forerunner to Doc Martin. In 2005, scenes from The Shell Seekers, a television production, starring Vanessa Redgrave, were filmed in Port Isaac.
The ninth series of this programme has now been filmed, so we will see Doc Martin and Port Isaac on our screens again soon.
Port Isaac is the home of the Fisherman’s Friends singing group. For many years, this group of ten Cornish men sang sea shanties at the harbour in Port Isaac. Of the original members, nine grew up in Port Isaac and the tenth, a fisherman, is from Padstow. In March 2010, they signed a contract with Universal Records and their debut album, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, became a top ten best selling album. They have performed internationally and on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival. A comedy drama feature film, Fisherman’s Friends, was filmed in Port Isaac in 2018. It stars Daniel Mays and James Purefoy and is based on the story of their rise to fame.
Where in England is Port Isaac (setting for Doc Martin)?
Location of Port Isaac, Cornwall
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