If you’re wondering where was Doc Martin filmed, take a look at this blog post, which breaks down the best filming locations and includes tips on seeing them all.
Doc Martin, a beloved British TV series, has captivated global audiences with its brilliant yet socially awkward surgeon, Dr Martin Ellingham.
Set in the fictional village of Portwenn, the show’s stunning scenery and charming characters have made it a fan favourite.
Filmed primarily in the picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac, Cornwall, viewers can explore real-life locations, such as Fern Cottage, the exterior of Dr Ellingham’s surgery, the primary school which is now a hotel and the exteriors of many of the cast member’s fictional houses.
In this article, we’ll look at the best Doc Martin filming locations
Where was Doc Martin Filmed?
Doc Martin, the quintessential British television medical comedy-drama, takes viewers on a hilarious journey with Dr Martin Ellingham.
This brilliant doctor leaves behind the bustling streets of London for the fictional village of Portwenn nestled in scenic Cornwall.
While Portwenn is a fictional village, the show is largely filmed in the village of Port Isaac on the north coast of Cornwall.
In fact, if you’re visiting Port Isaac, you’ll feel like you’re walking around the movie set!
Port Isaac or Portwenn?
So, what’s the difference between Port Isaac and Portwenn?
One notable one: Port Isaac is a real place, whereas Portwenn isn’t!
A small town with a population of just over 700 people, Port Isaac boasts narrow streets and alleys (including squeeze-ee-belly alley, rumoured to be the world’s narrowest!), lined with traditional Cornish cottages, many of which date back to the 18th century.
While Doc Martin caused tourism in the town to explode, the historic village has plenty of other stories to tell!
Portwenn is the fictional village of Doc Martin, although most (but not all) of the outdoor scenes are in Port Isaac.
So, Port Isaac is the closest you’ll get to seeing Portwenn in real life, but it is a fictional village.
Doc Martin filming locations in Port Isaac
Port Isaac, a small fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall, is the main location for the fictional village of Portwenn.
Port Isaac has become a popular tourist destination due to its association with the show – and because it’s one of the most beautiful Cornish fishing villages to exist!
Fern Cottage, the iconic location in the Doc Martin series, sits on the south side of the harbour at 4 Roscarrock Hill.
Known as the exterior of Doctor Ellingham’s home and surgery, this historic cottage has drawn fans from around the globe.
Its picturesque exterior and surroundings have been featured in the show, making it a must-visit for Doc Martin enthusiasts.
The Old School Hotel
The Old School Hotel was used as a filming location for the show.
Once a school, it has been transformed into a charming hotel and restaurant.
But in the world of Doc Martin, it’s the village school where Louisa works and where Doc Martin’s son attends classes!
It’s certainly one of the most picturesque fictional schools in the country, as it sits overlooking the bright blue waves of the Atlantic!
The Pharmacy (Buttermilk Confections)
Mrs Tishell’s pharmacy has been the setting for many of Doc Martin’s funniest scenes.
Sally Tishell had an ongoing infatuation with the misanthropic doctor, and they’d often communicate when dealing with health issues in the village.
In real life, the pharmacy is a sweet shop, serving Cornish fudge and locally-made sugary goods.
When filming took place, the sweets all had to be hidden and the signs were changed – this was actually the only building in Doc Martin that’s interior was used for filming as well as its exterior!
Sea Cove Cottage
Sea Cove Cottage was Louisa’s original house (before she and the Doc were romantically involved!).
Nowadays it’s an Airbnb (and yes, it does have that incredible view that was showcased in the series!), but anyone can walk past and see the exterior.
Port Isaac harbour
Port Isaac’s harbour and beach have been the setting for many notable scenes throughout the show, including the wedding of Al and Morwenna!
The Golden Lion Pub
Known as “The Crab and Lobster” in the world of Doc Martin, the Golden Lion Pub dates back to at least the 19th century and is the setting for Portwenn’s pub.
Within its hallowed walls, the Golden Lion witnessed the lively interactions of Doc Martin’s quirky characters, serving as a cosy haven where the village’s stories unfolded.
It’s rich heritage and authentic charm provided the perfect backdrop for memorable moments in the series.
Notably, the pub was also “the local” in the Fisherman’s Friends movies (who also come from Port Isaac)!
26 Dolphin Street, Port Isaac
This house doesn’t have a name, but it was the residence of Doc’s aunt, Ruth.
She lived here from series five when she moved to Port Isaac after her sister Joan passed away.
While she’s less of a maternal figure than Joan, she and Martin end up having a close relationship, and he frequently visits her house throughout the show.
St Nonna’s Church
St. Nonna’s Church in Altarnun, Cornwall, takes on a starring role in Doc Martin.
This exquisite church served as the captivating backdrop for the series’ unforgettable wedding scenes; it was where Doc and Louisa got married!
You can visit the 12th-century St. Nonna’s Church and explore at your own leisure; Alturnun is about a 30 minute drive from Port Isaac.
The church was also mentioned in Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, as the vicar of Alturnun is one of the main characters.
The interior scenes for the show were filmed almost entirely in a converted barn on Roscarrock Farm, which is close to Port Isaac.
The manor house on the farm coincidentally served as Nampara, the Poldarks’ home in the BBC’s Poldark series.
It’s one of the oldest settled farms in Cornwall, and while you can’t visit as a tourist, it is a wedding venue as well as a working farm!
Doyden Castle, which is located near Port Quin, dates back to 1830 and was built for a man named Samuel Symons.
The castle featured in the dramatic finale of series five – when Mrs Tishell kidnapped Doc Martin’s baby after over-medicating herself!
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the world of Doc Martin just by taking a stroll down Fore Street, where many shots of Doc hastily running up and down the cobbled streets were taken!
A few of Port Isaac’s countryside shots were taken on Bodmin Moor, which sits inland from Port Isaac.
Often, Doc will drive from the seaside village to visit patients who live in more rural locations.
Bert Large’s Chair
Climb on the coastal path, away from the village, to see “Bert Large’s Chair”.
This is a bench that Bert was filmed on at various points in the TV show.
It also offers some of the most spectacular Cornish scenery views in the area!
Tourism and Doc Martin
As you’d expect, thanks to the show, the popularity of Port Isaac has exploded in recent years!
This has had positive and negative effects – the town is full of holiday cottages these days, and not many of its residents live in the village itself.
However, it’s helped local businesses thrive, especially in the busy summer months.
Many tourists just visit Port Isaac for a few hours; it’s very small, so you can see most of it during this time!
If you’re interested in Doc Martin, I definitely recommend checking out these Port Isaac tours.
While you’re in the village, you can take a guided walking tour of the village to see the various locations used in the show, including Fern Cottage, which served as Doctor Ellingham’s surgery, and the Golden Lion Inn, where many of the scenes are shot.
This tour is led by a local who was an extra in the filming of the show. It’s an immersive and interesting look at Doc Martin filming locations, along with some fascinating backstage secrets and a look at the village’s extensive history.
May Contain Nuts
Tours leave from May Contain Nuts, a popular cafe and gift shop in the heart of the village. You can also buy some memorabilia with Doctor Ellingham and the rest of the cast on it!
Visiting Port Isaac information
I’ve written a full guide to Port Isaac, but here’s a bit of information to help you plan your trip:
- Port Isaac is located on the north coast of Cornwall, close to Tintagel and Padstow. It’s doable as a day trip from Bude and Newquay.
- The closest train station is Bodmin Parkway, a 40 minute drive away.
- Don’t drive in the village – the roads are windy and narrow, and there’s nowhere to park! Instead, leave your car in the Port Isaac main car park and walk down (it is quite steep).
Are you ready to learn more about Doc Martin?
Step into the world of Doc Martin in this glorious North Cornwall village!
This list of recognisable locations in the Cornish village will help you plan the ultimate trip to Port Isaac and the nearby region, so you can step right into the famous British series.
Whether you want to see views of the village from the South West Coast Path or see some of the most iconic houses of the series, you’ll love following the footsteps of Caroline Catz and Martin Clunes in Port Isaac!