Our Guide to Padstow, North Cornwall

 

A wonderfully vibrant harbour town known for good food, fantastic events and beautiful beaches, Padstow is a hot-spot destination for families and couples alike. Holidays here are spent browsing curios shops and art galleries, sampling the finest local produce in waterside cafes and restaurants, exploring the coastal footpath and of course, getting out on the water!

Padstow harbour

A Brief History 

Padstow has long been a busy fishing port - today’s fishermen supplying the numerous restaurants and cafes which line the town’s harbour and quaint little streets.

Built in 1536, the harbour has always been the lifeline of the town, and helped it grow into a thriving fishing and trading port - from where copper ore was shipped to Bristol in the heyday of the local mining industry. Padstow was also once heavily involved in ship production, and in 1899, the development of the Atlantic Express railway introduced tourists to the town.

Today, Padstow is a much-loved destination, bustling with visitors throughout the year - no doubt thanks in part to a certain Mr Rick Stein!

Points of Interest 

With seven glorious bays to explore, there’s no shortage of sea and sand, coastal footpath and fabulous walks to be had in and around Padstow! Learn to surf, kayak, coasteer or paddle board – or relax with a sight-seeing boat trip and see if you can spot the local dolphins. If cycling is more your thing, then you’ll love the Camel Trail – a flat, traffic-free cycle path which runs from Padstow to Wadebridge and Bodmin. Following the course of the estuary, the Trail is scenic and family-friendly – and bikes can be hired from various cycle shops in Wadebridge.

For a more leisurely day out, though, we’d recommend visiting Prideaux Place – a beautiful Elizabethan manor house overlooking Padstow harbour, with its own fallow deer park and Terrace Tearoom.

 

Trevone Bay Coastal Footpath
Treyarnon Bay beach
The Camel Cycle Trail
Prideaux Place
Padstow Farm Shop
The Chough Bakery

Shopping 

Offering a varied mix of shops, Padstow is home to all sorts of businesses selling everything from fine wines to books, designer clothes to contemporary art. 

Padstow Farm Shop is great for lovely, local produce – including meat reared on their own farm, cheese, cream, fish, pasta, store cupboard essentials and vegetable boxes – and you can even order online and have them deliver your goodies to you...

… And for the very best pasties and scones, head down to the award-winning Chough Bakery, located right on the harbour front.

The Basement Restaurant, Padstow
Rock Oyster Festival

Where to Eat

Now almost synonymous with good food, Padstow has an excellent reputation when it comes to quality produce and places to eat out. Foodies will be hard pushed to choose which restaurant to try next – but should visit the following at the very least… The Basement, a lovely venue overlooking the harbour where you can sit and watch the world go by with a glass of something fizzy… Bin Two, a wine merchant and coffee bar right in the middle of town (we recommend the fresh lobster rolls!)… the intimate and friendly Margot’s Bistro and of course, one of Mr Stein’s fine establishments – the Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc’s Bistro or Rick Stein’s Café.

Events 

Padstow’s main event is the fabulous ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, which always take place on May Day. Attracting many thousands of people each year, ‘Obby ‘Oss is a celebration of the start of summer and the town is decorated with colourful flags, flowers and a maypole. The highlight of the festival is when the Blue ‘Oss and the Red ‘Oss dance through the streets of the town, with their masked ‘teasers’ trying to catch the ‘maidens’.

Padstow also plays host to a Vintage Rally & Country Fair in July and a Christmas Festival at the beginning of each December – plus there’s an Oyster Festival every July just across the water in Rock.

Padstow harbour
Boats in Padstow harbour
Looking across to Rock

Car Parking

There are four main car parks in Padstow, which are open all year round; the Harbour Car Park, the Railway Car Park at the bottom of Station Road, the Lawns Car Park on School Hill and the Council Car Park by the fire station. During the main season, two additional car parks are available; a park & ride just outside Padstow near the Tesco store, and a park & walk on the far side of the town’s ring road, from where it is a short walk down Church Street to the town centre.

Further information on all of Padstow’s car parks can be found here.

ATMs & Banks 

Padstow has a Barclays Bank on Duke Street and an HSBC on Market Place – both with ATMs. There is also a Lloyds next to Barclays on Duke Street, however this branch does not have an ATM. The Tesco store on the outskirts of the town also has an ATM.

Public Facilities 

There are public conveniences, including disabled facilities, at South Quay. Please note, there is a charge of 20p to use these facilities.

Pretty boats of Padstow

Image credits to: cyclewest.com, Prideaux Place, Padstow Farm Shop, The Chough Bakery, The Basement Restaurant, Rock Oyster Festival

 

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