Famed as the backdrop to TV's “Doc Martin”, the sleepy, salty fishing town of Port Isaac still offers a glimpse of the rugged and charming character of north Cornwall. It's packed with cosy rentals that crowd its wiggling, winding cobbled lanes and quaysides, while a whole host of other Port Isaac cottages can be found on the coast around wider Port Isaac Bay. This guide takes a look at what to expect from homes in these parts and some ways in which you might bag a bargain.

Features that make Port Isaac cottages a real draw

If you're wondering just what it is that sets the rentals of Port Isaac apart from the rentals that dot the rest of the Cornish north coast, read on for 3 hints below.

Sea views from Port Isaac cottages

One of the great treats of many a Port Isaac holiday rental is the location. Homes shoulder above the wide bay in which the stone-clad town cradles, casting their gaze across the blue-green waters of the Celtic Sea. The upshot is that you can catch sight of the waves and the wild cliffs from your bay window, or enjoy postcard-perfect snaps of the coast from your bedroom.

Dog-friendly Port Isaac cottages

It shouldn't be hard to pinpoint somewhere in sleepy Port Isaac that will take both you and the pup. In fact, there are cottages with pet-friendly policies all over the town. Many have features like enclosed gardens, so you can let the pooch off the lead. Others come with doorstep access to the walking paths that crisscross the headlands.

Local charms in Port Isaac cottages

If you're pining for a characterful stay that's steeped in Cornish heritage, Port Isaac's range of age-old fishing homes and farms could be perfect. Loads still have original features, which means whitewashed exteriors, steep-gabled roofs and quaint gardens. Inside, you might find exposed-beam ceilings and smoking log burners warming the sitting room.

The best areas in Port Isaac for your cottage stay

Before going in search of the perfect Port Isaac cottage, be sure to read this guide to the various areas of the town and its vicinity. You’ll find a few alternative suggestions to being in the beating heart of the harbour.

Head to Fore Street and Church Hill

Sandwich yourself between the swaying fishing sails, Cornish pasty shops, enticing seafood restaurants and rows of stone-faced Port Isaac cottages by settling in the very heart of the town itself. You might pay a premium for the heritage-rich homes in this vibrant area, but real immersion in the community is the reward.

Be charmed by Port Gaverne

Tiny Port Gaverne is wedged into an inlet that’s just around the headland from Port Isaac proper. It's packed with its own array of cottages that offer something much quieter than others in the area. Many have sea views and proximity to the route of the South West Coast Path, perfect for daily hikes.

Pint-sized Pityme has rental options

As you cross southwards across the Cornish countryside from Port Isaac, the compact little village of Pityme makes itself known. Being inland a little, the cottages here might come with lower rates. However, they are still perfectly located for driving to Port Isaac's shanty taverns, trips to the surf-swelling beach of Polzeath, and even ferry rides from Rock to Padstow, where acclaimed seafood bistros await on the harbour.

How to score cheap Port Isaac cottages

To stash your pounds for the fresh fish dinners and boat rides around Pentire Point, you might want to consider the 3 tips below.

Look a little inland for Port Isaac cottages

Because the bustle of the quaysides and the salt smells of the harbour in Port Isaac are the main attractions, the homes that ring the heart of the town itself are often the priciest. You can dodge those swelling rates by heading a little inland to seek out your stay. There are plenty available in nearby hamlets, such as Trewetha and St Endellion.

Choose a Port Isaac cottage in the autumn

The cost of rentals all along the north coast of Cornwall can rise considerably during the summer months, particularly this close to chic Padstow and Rock. Instead of vying for a deal then, you could plan an autumn break. September and October can still have days filled with sun, but things tend to be much cheaper and the beaches much emptier.

Book as early as possible

Not only will booking your Port Isaac cottage well in advance give you plenty to get excited about, but it also ensures that you have the pick of the most wallet-friendly deals before they get snapped up.