Mullion Cove

In Brief

Type: Harbour attraction
Suitable for: Families, hikers and history buffs
Address: Nansmellyon Road, Mullion
Price: Free
Dog friendly?: Yes, although dogs must be kept on leads in the harbour

Why can’t a harbour be an attraction? We say it can. And Mullion Cove’s harbour is quite the attraction. Nestled a mile away from the main village of Mullion on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula, this National Trust-owned site encompasses a picturesque bowl-shaped cove that houses a gorgeously quaint fishing harbour next to a terrace of fisherman’s cottages, all watched over by towering cliffs on both sides.

The square harbour, which has a dog-leg shaped wall, is really popular in the summer. At low tide, boats nestle on the sand and are often joined by kids exploring the foreshore. On fine days, the natural shelter given by the cove makes for tranquil waters and provides a great spot for snorkelling and swimming. The little ones also love exploring the rocks and caves that are found outside the harbour in the cove. There is a small coffee shop near the harbour for refreshments and plenty of parking just few minutes’ walk away.

The harbour itself was completed in the 1890s, during a veritable pilchard boom. On one side of its walls is what’s known as the Fisherman’s Cottage. This regularly photographed Insta-worthy structure is thought to have been built in the late 1770s and was used as a cellar for storing fresh pilchards with a loft above it that stored nets between fishing expeditions. This cottage now stands as a reminder of this area’s traditional fishing past.

Old pilchard cellars and net lofts, in fact, can still be seen around the Lizard peninsula that houses Mullion Cove. In days gone by, this stretch of coast was notoriously treacherous for the pilchard boats and any other vessels that regularly worked in the dangerous waters here, for that matter. In fact, a lifeboat station worked here between 1867 and 1909 due to so many lives being lost in the south coast waters. All the coastal nooks and crannies around here also made the area a smuggling hotspot many, many moons ago.

These days, the same rugged coastline around Mullion Cove attracts hikers for the lovely walks heading off from the attraction in either direction. For those staying put in the cove for a few hours, we recommend a short jaunt up the cliff path for a bird’s eye view of one of Cornwall’s prettiest and storied coastal gems. Thank you for looking after this special attraction, National Trust.