The bustling North Cornwall port of Padstow has been a centre for fishing and boat building since mediaeval times and an attractive town has grown around the harbour over the years. Padstow’s former prosperity can be seen in the imposing Georgian (and older) buildings that line the quayside. Whilst once the merchants who owned them traded cargoes from far and wide now-a-days they are home to cafes, holiday accommodation and shops.
So, once you have spent a day or so pottering around the harbour, sitting in the cafes and admiring the view from your cottage what next? Well, the list of suggestions below are a few of my favourites and there should be at least one to suit everyone and help get the most out of your holiday in Padstow.
Cycle the Camel Trail
|Cycle the Camel Trail|
The scenery is some of Cornwall’s finest as the trail follows the route of the River Camel the 11 miles to Bodmin. The surrounds are also a haven for wildlife with many relatively rare water birds such as curlews and egrets to be seen. Whilst most cyclists call it quits at Bodmin there is a further section leading up to the village of Blisland on Bodmin Moor. This steeper wooded section is more demanding but the views and scenery at the top are worth it.
The Camel Trail is traffic free and safe for families. It can also be taken at your own pace with plenty of refreshment spots en route, and a great pub at the end! If you haven’t got a bike with you that’s not a problem as there are plenty of places to hire a bike in Padstow and Wadebridge.
Go to the BeachSome of the best sandy beaches in Cornwall are within a stone’s throw of Padstow. Just a few hundred metres along the coast path, north of the harbour is a magnificent stretch of sand incorporating Hawker’s Cove, St George’s Cove and Tregirls beach.
|St George's to Hawkers Cove|
Alternatively you can catch the ferry from the harbour over to the super posh village of Rock on the other side of the Camel. There are a few great beaches within walking distance of here starting with Rock beach itself. This dune backed, sandy beach follows the estuary around to the next beach, Daymer Bay, a lovely sheltered beach bordered by sand dunes. If you really fancy a walk, the next beach around is Polzeath, another great family beach with a reputation as a surfing hotspot.
Dine with Stein!
|Rick Stein Seafood Restaurant|
The original Rick Stein restaurant is the Seafood restaurant which is generally well regarded if a little pricey. If you want to tick it off the list but save yourself a few quid don’t bank on Stein's Fish and Chips being the answer. Whilst the menu has some slightly more exotic offerings than the average chippy, expect to pay a premium for it. Of the four I think I’d be plumping for tea and cake at the café and leaving my bank balance relatively unscathed!
Go on a boat tripBoating excursions from Padstow’s harbour are a great way to explore this part of the North Cornish Coast. There are a host of companies running cruises and angling trips with sailing times depending on the tides. Just to the east of Padstow is the striking double headland of the Rumps, with several islands just off the coast including Puffin Island - guess what you can spot here! Head in the opposite direction around Stepper Point and there are numerous points of interest such as Tregudda Gorge and Trevose Head beyond.
Wildlife spotting trips are popular and there is always something to see at anytime of year. Common sightings include seals, dolphins and a host of sea-birds If you are lucky and it is the right time of year you may even spot basking sharks and sunfish. Perhaps the most spectacular sighting was a year or 2 ago when a pod of killer whales were spotted of Trevose Head.
Get on yer Obby Oss!
|Obby Oss catches a maiden|
There is a less well known tradition on Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Mumming Day, or Darkie Days as previously known, involves the slightly dubious practice of the townsfolk dressing up and performing as minstrels. It isn't clear what the origin of the custom is and certainly there is no racist intent these days.
So there are a few ideas to get going with, there are plenty of other things to do in and around Padstow such as visiting the National Lobster Hatchery or enjoying a pint in the London Inn. Whatever you decide with such a picturesque town and fantastic surroundings you'll find plenty of things to do on holiday in Padstow.