Join our Portwenn tours from London and visit the charming village that is the home of Doc Martin. During this small-group adventure exploring Cornwall you’ll enjoy wonderful scenery, unique history and you’ll also stop in at the fishing village of Portwenn.
Portwenn (also known as Port Isaac in real-life!) is located in an isolated part of Cornwall’s north atlantic coast, in a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A historic place of fishing for centuries, Portwenn is a picturesque settlement with charming whitewashed cottages, narrow streets and a beautiful harbour. We hope our Portwenn tours can bring Doc Martin’s village to life…
In 2004, top London surgeon Dr Martin Ellingham moves to the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn. A brilliant vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, Dr Ellingham curiously develops a phobia of blood, forcing him to stop practising surgery. In order to continue his medical career, he decides to retrain to become a local Doctor, known as a General Practitioner (GP), and relocates from urban London to rural Cornwall.
He makes the move to the small fishing village of Portwenn, in North Cornwall. It’s a place of familiarity; for this is where he spent childhood holidays with his Aunt Joan, who still has a farm nearby. Dr Ellingham is a brilliant Doctor, but severely lacking in people skills and when he arrives to start work he finds the local practise to be in disarray, with unusable equipment, chaotic patient records and a rather unwelcoming receptionist.
To his annoyance, locals refer to him as ‘Doc Martin’, and there is a continuous clash of cultures in his dealings with the villagers. By nature, Dr Ellingham is blunt in manner, emotionless in nature, but in his view, always professional and dignified. His abruptness comes as a shock and often leads to skirmishes with the locals, but his medical brilliance slowly wins their respect, and eventually their affection.
In 2000, Port Isaac was chosen as the main filming location for the British comedy film Saving Grace. The story centres around Grace Trevethyn, a popular lady in the village who is suddenly widowed. Due to her late husbands dealings, she has been left with financial problems and has to undertake illicit activity to find the money. She is supported by her friends, one of whom is Doctor Martin Bamford…played by Martin Clunes.
Subsequently, the character of Dr Martin Bamford was taken forward for two Doc Martin prequels. In these productions, Dr Martin is a talented Obstetrician, who discovers that his wife is having a number of affairs with his own friends. He decides to leave London, and relocates to Cornwall, where he spent time during his childhood. He takes the post of local GP in a small Cornish village, where he sets up home, and becomes involved in village life.
The idea of Doc Martin was conceived but there were reservations with the character of Dr Martin Bamford, who was happy and easy-going in nature. Martin Clunes himself suggested a change in personality for the man he was to play, and they decided to make the character blunt, difficult and emotionless. He was also given the new surname of Ellingham, an anagram of the surname of the shows’ new writer Dominic Minghella.
If you would like to visit the charming village where Doc Martin lives, then why not join one of our small-group Portwenn tours from London? Our five-day adventures include the services of our professional Tour Leaders who are experts on the all of the places you’ll visit, full transportation and four-nights accommodation. Tours start and finish in central London.
Find out more about our Portwenn tours and start your adventure now!