Visit Port Isaac Where Doc Martin Was Filmed!

I’m in the planning stages of a trip I hope to take late next spring. I thought I’d share some of the details with you today in case it sounds like something you would be interested in. I’ve never traveled with this company but the comments I’ve seen online at TripAdvisor looked good. Of course, I highly recommend you do your own research before traveling with any company.

The tours I’m looking at are with a company called Back-Roads Touring. The main thing that attracted me to them is they only do tours of small groups (maximum of 18) they take the back roads everywhere to the most wonderful, off-the-beaten-path sites and you stay in charming places like country estates, castles or villas. Here’s how they describe it below:

Back-roads Touring in Europe

This is a sample of some of the places they show on their website where you might stay while on one of their tours.

Touring Europe


The tour or tours I’m looking at are these two at Highlights of Britain and Corners of Cornwall. I usually don’t plan trips this far out because I love to snag those last-minute travel deals when I can find them. But these are currently on sale and I noticed their pricing is lower this year than it was last year.

I think the lower pricing may be because they’ve increased their group size from a maximum of 15 to 18 on some of their trips. I initially found this company while searching for “small  group” tours. Normal tour group sizes are around 40-45, so 18 sounds pretty good to me. Please note: The pricing below does not include airfare.

England Tours


I’m looking at going in late May/early June because I want to see England when everything is blooming and it’s lush and green. I’m not sure if crowds will be really bad during that time since this is a “back roads” type tour, but I figured late May/early June might work since I think folks tend to take their holidays in July and August there. Anyone know if that’s true? I just don’t want to go really early spring when it’s still cold and there may not be a lot blooming, same reason I don’t want to go in the fall.

A few things to note as you explore the Back-roads website, if you book more than one tour, I think they give you a little multi-trip discount. Don’t quote me on that but I think I read it somewhere on their website, or maybe they told me. You’ll find their FAQ here: FAQ

Also, when you are looking at a trip, usually on the left side of the page, it will show what trips combine easily together with each other. For some reason that feature doesn’t seem to be working for the 2017 trips, not sure why. But here’s an example of how it looks for the 2016 trips on the site.

When you look at the trip, Corners of Cornwall for 2016, notice how it says on the left side that it can combine with Highlights of Britain or Kent & Sussex. So even though it doesn’t show that on the same exact trips for 2017, I’m pretty sure the two I want to take (Highlights of Britain and Corners of Cornwall) can be combined, meaning after you take one, you can start on the other one.

(You’ll notice the price for Cornwall was higher last year, so glad the prices have come down a bit.)

Back-roads Touring


The reason I’m interested in these trips is because Highlights of Britain goes to England, Wales and Scotland and includes Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farm, Dove Cottage and the Bronte Parsonage. Of course it includes a lot of other places, too.

Here’s the map showing the areas it covers.

Map 1


Corners of Cornwall goes to Dartmoor, Falmouth, St. Ives and Fowey. The second day of the tour goes to Port Isaac where Doc Martin was filmed and I’ve always wanted to visit there since seeing the show.

Port Isaac

Photo Source:


Here’s the map showing what the Cornwall tour covers. So between the two tours, you get to see a lot of England with a little Scotland and Wales mixed in.

Visit Port Issace where Doc Martin was Filmed


I’d also like to go on the Heart of England tour one day. It includes Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Lacock Abbey, Roman Baths, No.1 Royal Crescent, Longleat House and Avebury Stone Circle.

Heart of England Tour


Then there’s “The Garden of England” that includes a bunch of castles and their gardens. ~SIGH~

The Garden of England


The Iconic England tour is a new tour they’ve just added this year. It takes you behind the scenes of Downton Abbey with a tour of Highclere Castle and gardens. It also goes to other well-known places like the estate used while filming Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It looks like it would be a good one to combine with another tour, since it’s just a 3-day tour.

Iconic England Tour


Corners of Southern Ireland looks amazing, too! They also have tours to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. So hard to choose which tours to take! You can see their Europe 2017 tours here: Europe 2017.

Corners of Southern Ireland


BTW, this isn’t a sponsored post, I would have a little note at the end of this post if it was. I’m just sharing this with you because I am beyond excited to have found a tour company that is all about small groups and goes to all the places I’ve been dying to see instead of the typical touristy big cities.

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. Helen Dehner says

    You are going to thoroughly enjoy touring these areas of the U.K. I have been fortunate to visit many of the British cities highlighted in your post as well travel in Wales! Next on my bucket list are Ireland and Scotland! Looking forward to lots of photos!

    • Helen, I can’t wait to see Ireland and Scotland one day. Sometimes I wonder if when I visit England or Ireland or Scotland, if I’ll just stay and not come back. What if I visit and don’t want to ever leave?! πŸ™‚

  2. You are so lucky to be able to afford some trips. I was to England, Scotland and Wales years ago and so enjoyed it all, mostly Scotland!

    • It’s my Capital One Visa points that will help pay for this one. It’s amazing how fast the points accumulate when you get double points for every single thing you purchase. I have everything go on there, including all my utilities, groceries, etc… so it adds up very fast and you can use the points for anything travel related. I wish I had gotten that card ages ago, so much better than my Delta Skymiles card where I’ve tried to use the points and they never apply for the flight I want.

  3. Susan, As a true Anglophile who’s been to England many times over the years, I think you’ve chosen really well! The small groups and touring by van are obvious plusses, and your itineraries – well, they include lots of my favorite places so I’m biased! The Cotswolds, Lake District, Edinburgh, York, Cornwall, oh my gosh, the Yorkshire Dales – all are idyllic. The Heart of England tour has a nice itinerary, too (Avebury!) …it would be hard to choose just two! I’ve done my traveling with friends or my daughter (who I successfully turned into such an Anglophile herself that she spent her junior year abroad in England) and have become pretty good at driving on the left-hand side of the road, but there’s something to be said for a small group with someone else driving and a guide to fill you in on all the interesting details. It did snow one day on a trip in March a few years ago and the trees were bare, so you’re smart not to go too early, although the dry-walled fields with baby lambs and daffodils blooming in the springtime are hard to beat. No matter – you will see scenes out of nursery rhymes that are hard to believe still really exist no matter when you go! Avoiding school breaks is a good idea if possible, and you can check dates here:
    I’m looking forward to following your plans and your trip(s)!

    • Yikes, I may have to reconsider the end of May. Here’s what it shows for that times frame for their summer break:
      Summer break 2017: 05-29-17 to 06-02-17
      Summer holiday 2017: 07-17-17 to 09-05-17
      Thanks for that link, Patty!
      That’s so wonderful about your daughter falling in love with England. Honestly, I’m afraid I’ll get there and not want to come home. lol I guess there’s no place like home but oh my gosh, all the photos I see are storybook perfect!
      Yeah, I’m too chicken to try to drive over there, but I do love the idea of the small groups. I’ve made so many friends on the trips I’ve taken and those weren’t small groups, so I think it will be fun to meet folks in a smaller group setting.
      Thanks again for that link, I’m bookmarking it! πŸ™‚

      • These trips look like great itineraries! We lived in England (near Windsor) for 3 years, and I am so thankful that we were able to see lots of the beautiful countryside. I think May and June would be great times to travel. The only exception would be the late May “bank holiday” which generally falls on the weekend of American Memorial Day. Your travel north would probably be ok, but Cornwall could be extremely crowded. Good luck with your planning.

  4. I see Patty already has warned you about what I wanted to warn you about…school-holidays!

  5. bobbi duncan says

    Hi, Susan. I just returned from Nantucket…that place and England are my two favorite places ever. You will fall in love with England. Michael and I have talked about moving there many times, but it’s so far from our families, not to mention the expensive housing and gas prices. But, oh, what a storybook place. If we could afford two homes, I’d have one there in a heartbeat. We’re not much for touring with groups (like to stay where we want for as long as we want, or move on if bad weather intervenes), but that small group sounds fun and perfect if one is traveling solo. The prices sound really good, too. As you probably know, England’s weather can be very unpredictable even on the warmest days. Late afternoon can turn chilly fast, so having a jacket and umbrella with you is always wise. On a side note: could you repeat the name of the Martha’s Vineyard writer again as I accidently erased the e-mail after reading it…duh! Love the way she writes free-hand, and her adorable illustrations are just precious. Can’t wait to get her books. Thanks for mentioning them. Hugs!

    • Thanks for those tips, Bobbi…good to know about how the weather can turn chilly. I’m so cold natured, I’ll take plenty of sweaters and warm clothing, even if it’s summertime! πŸ™‚
      Sure, her name is Susan Branch and the book is Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. You can see all of her books here: They are all wonderful!

  6. Linda Page says

    I might just have to tag along with you on these trips! I have been wanting to go to England and all ever since my parents lived there. Think I can hide in your luggage???

  7. Bonnie Brown says

    Oh Susan, you will love this trip. We traveled to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England several years ago and while we did visit the major cities, we mostly stayed in the smaller villages and I liked it so much better because you really get a feel for the life and culture there and also get to meet the locals. Your back-roads tour sounds divine. We went in July and the cities were crowded but the smaller places were not. But do be prepared for cool weather. It was pleasant when we were there in July but still cool. I’m very hot natured so YOU definitely need to be prepared for cooler weather!! I would love to do this trip again. Ireland was my favorite. And oh, there were flowers everywhere! Also some of the friendliest people in the world are the Irish. I loved England too, especially the lake district of England.

    • If it’s cool there in July, I will probably be freezing to death if I go in May, then. I’m super cold natured. I keep my thermostat on 78 during the summer unless I’m vacuuming or doing something like that, so I freeze everywhere I go. My body is just used to warm weather/temps.
      I can’t wait to see all those flowers! Sounds wonderful! Ireland high on my bucket list, too. Thanks for that warning about the weather Bonnie.

  8. Susan, you may want to contact Chris from The CafΓ© Sucre Farine. She travels to London a couple times a year to visit with her daughter and the grands. She is the nicest person. She may be able to answer any questions, but if not she is just delightful foodie.

  9. Phyllis stanko says

    Hey Susan I love that card too. Love to use it to upgrade to first class. Such a treat. Loved the post. Phyllis

  10. Cyndi Raines says

    How fun Susan! Can’t wait to travel with you through the blog! I think it will be an awesome trip! Don’t forget to try and squeeze in Downton Abbey’s beautiful home tour! πŸ™‚

  11. Jane, I absolutely love that book. I follow her blog so I pre-ordered it when she offered that. I could wait to get my hands on it. I loved all those pics of her and Joe hiking across all those fields with the sheep all around. It looked like the most wonderful trip! Her stories of Joe driving and her reaction to it all were hysterical!
    Thanks for the link to your friends B & B…will check it out.

    • Jane Franks says

      Oh, sorry to duplicate what you already knew!! Yes, I loved all of that, too, and I also just cracked up at the driving episodes!! It reminded me of growing up! My Mom was sometimes timid in lots of traffic when my Dad was driving. He was very good at driving, but she would be pushing her foot on the floorboard, subconsciously, to put on the brakes, and he would kid her about what good was that going to do!! Glad we have a fellow kindred spirit in Susan B.! xo

  12. Hope you have a great time… I have watched lots of those Brit shows and have come to the conclusion that the “bobbies” over there can’t solve a crime without the help of a priest or a doctor. I like Doc Martin and Father Brown and the one that just finished which was Grantchester also about a priest who solved crimes. Just my opinion…which I hope you find funny as it was meant to be.

  13. One more thing to add to my comment above – Have you thought about adding a few days in London onto your trip, maybe at the end after you’ve gotten acclimatized, so to speak? (And maybe some of your fellow travelers will be staying on.) I love love love the English countryside (and you’re right – you will want to stay!) and am normally not a big city person, but London is really special. It is very walkable and of course the public transportation is fantastic. Plus: the shopping…

    • I would love to see London some time. Not sure I can do it this trip if I do both Cornwall and the Highlights of Britain. Would be nice if we did get to see a little of London, though. Patty, I could get in soooo much trouble with the shopping. lol I think the street I’ve heard about with great shopping is Bond Street, if I’m remembering correctly. Dangerous! πŸ˜‰

      • As I’m sure you know, the only way to plan trips without stressing out is to remind yourself you’ll just have to go again! And I think you’ll find plenty of tempting shopping opportunities outside of London. I notice for example you will have an afternoon “free to explore at leisure in York”, which for me translates to “shopping time”. πŸ˜‰ I think the London shopping mecca you’re thinking of is Oxford Street, but the small independent shops in the smaller towns and villages are addictive too – I even like to check out the charity shops!

  14. Hi Susan,
    Wow, another great trip to look forward to! My parents traveled around in Great Britain a lot and always came back full of enthusiasm.

    For school holidays in Great Britain (and all other European countries) you can check

    Even in late spring you can expect some rain in Great Britain, like you already experienced here in The Netherlands. The country is known for its rain and umbrellas, but maybe you’re lucky. You will have a fabulous time anyway.

    Did you read ‘Notes from a small island’ by Bill Bryson? I can really recommend it for funny stories and a lot of interesting facts about Great Britain.

  15. Gwen Healy says

    Susan, try to visit Brighton, number 1 seaside attraction in England and visit the Royal Pavilion that King George 3rd built. It’s only one hour from London by train and apart from the magnificent Regency architecture and history,you will go wild shopping for antiques in the Lanes.

    It is also where I was born, right on the famous Marine Parade overlooking the English channel.

    • Oh, I would love to see Brighton! Thanks for those suggestions, Gwen. If this tour doesn’t go there, I will add those places to my ever-growing bucket list. I have a feeling I will find myself visiting Great Britain a lot in the coming years to see everything. So wonderful that you were born in that area!

  16. Susan Jones says

    My daughter just got back from studying abroad in London and absolutely loved it. She also visited Edinburgh, Scotland and Rome, Italy while she was there. It was a great experience for her. These trips you are studying look wonderful!!

  17. Jackie Manning says

    Hi Susan, You do have a great choice in my wonderful Country, Kent, Sussex, Cornwall etc etc…they are all beautiful counties in the UK. Northern Ireland is wonderful and is Southern Ireland. Scotland and Wales marvellous. Port Isaac is a lovely place as is anywhere in Cornwall, the Minack theatre and St Michael’s Mount. I think you are going to have a problem with choosing where to visit and you will have to do it is at least 3 or 4 holidays to appreciate it to the full!!!

    We never go away in August because of the main school holiday time.

    You can never tell what the weather will be like in the UK!! ;-))
    We have been in Edinburgh this year, never been before and next year we are hoping to visit Northumberland. We are also hoping to visit Italy next year, a country I have never visited.

    When my sister visited from Australia he had a list of places she wanted to visit that she had seen on TV Programmes like Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) Port isaac ( Doc Martin and other similar British shows she has seen in Oz since she moved there 38 years ago!!

    Following on to a comment from someone on here, my son is a “London Bobby” and they don’t rely on doctors or clergymen to help them solve crime like on TV, they are after all only a programme!!! ;-))

    It is lovely that you are keen to visit the UK, We were on a cruise along the blue Danube from Budapest in May with lots of Americans but also a lot had cancelled at the last minute because of the terrorist problems in Europe. Life must go on and we cannot let them get the better of us and ruin our lives.

    • Jackie, I know you are right, it will take a lot of trips to see all those amazing places! You will love Italy, it’s beautiful, breathtaking scenery!
      lol Yeah, I think writers of the shows just love to add that twist to the stories to give it more interest.
      I so agree, I refuse to let terrorism control my life. That’s exactly what they would like to see happen, put us all into fear mode. We can’t live our lives like that.
      Thinking back, I think that’s why I was able to catch such an awesome deal on the cruise I took in early spring to Holland and Belgium. The attack had just happened in that area a few weeks before and I think they had a lot of folks cancel. I, and another reader of BNOTP named Teresa, snatched up that deal and we had a blast.

  18. The cotswolds! Loved it. Had the most wonderful horseback ride of my life there too. Haven’t seen the Cornwall area yet, so post extra photos of that part. πŸ˜‰ So envious of your trip but so excited for you. These small group tours sound like the best way, especially solo. So excited. You will enjoy it so much.

    • Will do if this trip goes off as planned! I can’t wait to see Cornwall! Hey come with me! I’ve heard from a few folks who are interested in this trip. Wouldn’t it be a blast if a bunch of use all went on the same trip?! Thanks, Mia!

  19. I have visited Scotland and England twice, once in May and once in June. My advice is to take a light coat. It was quite chilly both times. Northern Scotland (the Hebrides) is COLD! Very enjoyable trip, just be sure to dress warmly.

  20. Think I’m catching “Wanderlust”…oh my…franki

  21. I was in England and France this past July with my daughter and granddaughter on an EF Tour. The weather was HOT to say the least, so if you’re planning your trip in late May you should have beautiful weather. Your trip sounds absolutely wonderful and I’m also looking into it too. The lake District is one of my favorite spots in England. I like the fact that you don’t care for the busy tourist areas, I don’t either. Looking forward to your continued post regarding your trip.

  22. Gayle Kesinger says

    I am reading Susan Branch’s book, A Fine Romance, based on your recommendation and loving it. I have several people to pass it along to when I finish. Hard to put down. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I can’t travel much anymore because of balance issues but love reading about your travels as they would match my own exactly.

  23. Joyce Vowell says

    The next series of Doc Martin should be filming in Port Isaac next spring. Maybe you’ll get a chance to see some of it. There is always a crowd watching the show film outdoor scenes and many of the actors appear to be quite friendly to fans between scenes.

  24. Susan, so glad you are going to visit Great Britain. So many of those tour packages sound just wonderful. On Sept 10 through 29 hubby and I will be going back to Scotland and then we will tour Ireland for the first time. Hubby wants to drive (on the left side of the street mehhhhhh) so that’s what we’ll be doing.

    When we went to Scotland the first time I absolute loved St Andrew’s, the highlands, and Edinborough.

    Of course I’m saving my money for a great souvenir when we tour the Waterford factory in Ireland. :0)

    God bless, have a wonderful day.

  25. Diane Westbrook says

    Hi Susan!
    Oh, so envious of your upcoming trips! My eldest Son and his family lived in England for three years. His company furnished them with a lovely home in Seven Oaks, Kent and a car with unlimited mileage. I spent a month plus with them on May and we traveled all over England. You will LOVE it all! I could not tell you what my favorite area was as it all was. I still think about that trip and re-live it through the photos. I tried to hit antique stores and charity shops and have some lovely old pieces to remind me of the trip too. I frame old prints of the different areas and they too bring back memories. I, too love Doc Martin and there is a film that you should try to rent called “Saving Grace”. It is such a fun movie and Martin Clunes was in was filmed in the same area as the Doc Martin series.

  26. Peggy Winter says

    Hi Susan,
    I love the Cotswolds in England and have spent extended time there on a couple of trips. I actually rented an apartment for two weeks the last trip.
    We spent the days going from one garden to another. There are so many beautiful villages and gardens to explore. We went the end of May and came back the first week of June. It was still considered “off season” and our rental of a two bedroom flat was less than $700 and that was 2012.

    With the exchange rate so great now is a wonderful time to go.
    Here is a link to a Sway presentation of my pictures from the Cotswolds if you are interested.

    I know you will have a great time and I look forward to seeing and hearing about your trip.

  27. Susan, I’m watching the best series right now called Poldark. Its a PBS series and I’m loving it as much as Downton. It’s set in Cornwall and the scenery and photography is so beautiful. Check it out!!

  28. That sounds fantastic. I’ve pinned it as we are supposed to go to France next September and I might have the opportunity to go to England in June.
    I’d love to go to Port Issac. We were absolutely addicted to Doc Martin.
    I can’t wait until the next season.
    Have a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Susan,
    I would love to join you hehe!! I took my daughter to London for a week in mid March (2008) and I was so delighted seeing they were having spring blooming before us in northern Indiana! the weather was nice all week having only one day of rain but being a we still went site seeing of course! Having only 6 days I feel we visited the major sites in London and one day took the train to Windsor. We would love to visit England again to visit places on your list !! But , we first would love to go to Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha Vineyard or a least one of those islands!!
    Have a lovely week
    p.s. I did ask an older English gentleman why they name their homes and/or cottages?? He said “Oh we are just silly like that “. He was so charming.

  30. Hello Susan,

    I’m really loving your site! I was so excited to see your interest in Back-Roads Touring. I’m actually a US agent for Back-Roads and I’d love to discuss these tours with you! E-Mail me when you get a chance – [email protected]

    I look forward to speaking with you!

  31. Nan Brower says

    I hope you will get to go. I have been to England a number of times and it is a wonderful place to visit. My last trip just 2 weeks ago was with Transcendental Travel and Acorn TV. One of the places we visited was Port Issac also known as Port Wenn. We got to see many of the buildings used in the series and even got to meet the actor Ian Mc Ne ice who plays Bert Large. Check out Transdendental’s and Acorn’s Facebook pages as they have pics from this tour. It was the first time it was offered and was very sucessful. Hopefully it will be offered again. I highly recommend it.

    • Nan, that sounds like a dream tour! I would love a tour like that! Thanks for sharing that info, I’m going to Google and read more about it. Would love to see Port Isaac/Port Wenn!

  32. We traveled through Scotland, Ireland and England in 2014. While I enjoyed seeing the famous sights in London, I was so happy when we rented a car in London and took off for Cornwall and the Cotswolds. We went to Port Isaac, because we loved Doc Martin too. Funny seeing the pharmacist’ house with her neck brace on the outside! We also enjoyed going to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey). These shows have turned us on to British TV and we are hooked. So, did you go? Planning a trip now to the Greek Isles, etc. Thanks for the medicine carrier and purse organizer tips!

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