Discovering Mousehole Harbour and Village

Mousehole (pronounced Mow-zall) is largely famous for its Cornish fishing heritage, harbour views and Christmas lights. It also just happens to be a picturesque and quaint Cornish fishing village that draws locals and holiday makers every year, either for a holiday or weekend stroll.

As it’s been several years since my last visit to Mousehole, I was keen to visit again and have a proper wander and explore. 

Mousehole village in sunshine

Getting to Mousehole and Parking

Mousehole’s in west Cornwall, about 3 miles from Penzance. Getting to Mousehole is fine but the approach into the village is narrow, definitely not wide enough for 2 cars. I can only imagine the gridlock situations that happen in the summer. 

With this in mind, I recommend using Parade car park, situated at the top of the hill (Sat Nav postcode TR19 6PR). It’s the main car park for Mousehole.

There’s alternative parking on the quay. I was fortunate to get a space on the North Quay but arrived very early. There’s seasonal parking on south quay too, from Easter to October.

Both cost £3 for the day.

Mousehole tidal pool

Mousehole’s Tidal Pool

Arriving early for my day in Mousehole, I wanted to explore and discover every nook and cranny.

The first thing on my list? Mousehole’s tidal pool. 

Situated to the side of the north harbour, this little quiet spot looks so special. Encased by a wall, it’s a small tidal pool I’d imagine it’s a safe option for children. 

Houses on the waterfront at Mousehole at high tide
Mousehole houses on the seafront

Mousehole Harbour

I didn’t bring my bathers, so from here I walk along the harbour and look out to sea and across to Mousehole.

Standing on the harbour, I start to remember the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster. This was an awful tragedy where the crew of lifeboat, Solomon Browne, lost their lives. They were attempting to rescue people on a drifting coaster, called Union Star, in adverse conditions in December 1981. No one returned from either vessel.

It’s strange how I was only 5 years old at the time but clearly remember people talking about it with a sense of disbelief.

Those on board are still remembered today. Such a disaster really amplifies the risks our Lifeboat crew take every time they venture out to sea. It’s such a brave job to take on, and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Fishermen working on a boat in the harbour

It seemed fitting at this time for me to see some local fishermen hard at work on their boats, thankfully resting on much calmer waters. I could’ve stayed and watched them for ages!

Around Mousehole Village

From the harbour, I decide to take my time and amble around this traditional Cornish fishing village. I weave my way through the interlinking roads, finding endless traditional Cornish cottages with curious names, like Loon Bennett and Tides Retreat.

A house with adjacent building and foliage
The door and garden gate of Loon Bennett in Mousehole
A house with a blue door and window frames

Mousehole Christmas Lights

Even though Mousehole attracts a lot of visitors in peak summer months, it draws people in December for its famous Christmas lights. Now in their 56th year (although with the pandemic, they will be off until 2021), Mousehole has a reputation for putting on quite a show.

The Mousehole Christmas lights started out as a modest string of coloured bulbs, initiated by local artist, Joan Gillchrest. She was clearly onto something as they’ve grown over the years. Come December, impressive light adorn Mousehole harbour and St Clements Island. It’s a pretty big deal now, and is definitely something I’d like to see another year. 

A row of houses in Mousehole Cornwall
Grenfell Street sign and tribute in Mousehole

Mousehole Hugs Grenfell

Walking around Mousehole, I was surprised to see a tribute to London’s terrible Grenfell Disaster – a road sign with a green heart – on Grenfell Street.

The tribute commemorates the 72 people who died in the awful Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. A notice offers information about the Cornwall Hugs Grenfell charity. They arranged for those who fought, and lost loved ones, in the fire to have holidays in Mousehole.

I guess a small fishing village in Cornwall is the last place you’d expect to see such a tribute. I was actually quite touched and felt proud that people in Cornwall had reached out and showed solidarity to those who are hundred of miles away. 

An old brown shed door with padlock with blue and white hanging rope

A Strong Fishing Heritage

Mousehole, much like other Cornish villages, has a strong fishing heritage and identity. From as far back as the 13th century, when it was called Port Eyns, Mousehole was the main port in Mounts Bay. This was the case for several hundreds years, until Penzance and Newlyn became more dominant.

Nipping in and out of little side roads, taking lots of pictures, I chanced upon what must have been the local fishermen’s shed. It instantly reminded me of my grandad’s (or “Grampher” as we say in Cornwall) in Portloe (I’m sure it wasn’t his, but he worked in it and it stank of fish!). It’s here that crab and lobster pots are made, which in itself, is such a skill. 

It’s one of those things where local Cornish fishing families have passed down skills from generation to generation. I actually have one too!

The front of Tyler Gallery in Mousehole

Art Galleries and Shops

I was well aware that Mousehole has a strong artistic connection, which I think was one of my reasons for wanting to go. With the latest pandemic, and my visit being on a Sunday in low season, some galleries were closed. 

I enjoyed looking around The Tyler gallery, where I gazed longingly at Michael Praed’s art work, wishing I could produce something similar. There’s also Josh Sim’s Mowzer Gallery, whose bright and energised abstract art left me wanting more. Unfortunately I was unable to to look around on the day of my visit.

I find it fascinating how so many artists paint the same view, and each have their own interpretation of it. I’m always curious to see how artists portray their surroundings, and develop their artistic style. It’s like looking through the eyes of another person. 

The walkway to Coast Shop in Mousehole
The Mousehole Shop

I also found Coast gift shop with an impressive display of Christmas decorations alongside tasteful homeware. Not forgetting the ever photogenic The Mousehole shop, and what a treat! Books, cards, traditional games, accessories, art and jewellery. It was like stepping into a treasure trove of all the things I’d like in my house.

From here, I made my way back to the car. I spotted several places to eat like, Number 2, The Rock Pool Cafe (fab sea views here) and the local pub, The Ship Inn. 

Given the latest lockdown restrictions, I thought I’d save it for another time.

Plus, I had a run from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove planned.

One things for sure, even though I live in Cornwall, I could happily holiday in Mousehole.

Author: plbedford

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