Padstow has a lot going on. You can walk, learn, surf, eat, cycle, explore or just sit back and admire the view. Prepare to be inspired with this list of top things to see and do.
So you’ve booked your holiday home, requested time off work and packed your beach towels. Now it’s time to decide what to do while on holiday. Luckily Cornwall is a first class holiday destination with no shortage of things to see and do for a fun-filled holiday. This is true also of Padstow which has plenty of attractions, activities and sights to keep you occupied and entertained during your one or two week break. Here are our suggestions for essential things to do in Padstow and the surrounding area.
The harbour is the heart and hub of activity in Padstow. Take the time to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere at this scenic location. This small, horseshoe shaped harbour is home to Padstow’s fishing fleet as well as visiting yachts. Shops, pubs and cafés line the road around the harbour, making it a busy, vibrant scene especially in the middle of the day.
Pick up the South West Coast Path and head out of town along the Camel Estuary for eye-wateringly beautiful coastal scenery. The trail passes several small beaches, as well as Hawkers Cove which is a great place for a picnic. Continue uphill to the bulky headland of Stepper Point and admire views out to sea from the Coastguard’s lookout tower.
Padstow has its own stately home – Prideaux Place – an Elizabethan manor house which has been inhabited by the same family since 1592. Join a tour of the house to explore its unique history and marvel at the antiques and treasures. Also take a stroll around the immaculate gardens and visit the deer in the deer park, which is thought to be the oldest in the country.
It may be a cliché, but the Cornish Pasty experience is inescapable in Padstow. Numerous bakeries, shops and cafes sell numerous varieties of the traditional pasty. And you can see their customers munching on the local delicacy as you stroll around the streets. So don’t fight the urge – treat yourself to a Cornish pasty.
Padstow is located beside the Camel Estuary which flows in and out to the Atlantic Ocean. On the other side of the water is the small village of Rock. Be sure to make the short hop across to Rock to get a different perspective on Padstow. Enjoy a spot of lunch at one of the restaurants or the pub, or walk along the coast to Daymer Bay – another scenic beach celebrated by the former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman.
Fishing is still an important industry in Padstow. Many of the local restaurants are dependent on the daily catch for their culinary offerings. Among the most popular shellfish sourced from local waters is lobster. One organisation which is helping to maintain a healthy local population of lobsters is the National Lobster Hatchery. Take the time to pop into the visitor centre to get up close to the king of crustaceans and learn about the important marine conservation work of this charitable organisation.
Besides the ubiquitous Cornish pasty, the other local fare you can’t miss is a delicious Cornish ice cream. There are many locally produced ice creams to sample including Cornish clotted cream varieties produced by Roskillys and Kelly’s of Cornwall. Don’t miss this delicious treat on a hot day in Padstow.
Get on your bike and pedal along the Camel Trail to Wadebridge. This traffic-free trail follows the route of a disused railway line along the scenically beautiful estuary, with its creeks, inlets and abundant birdlife. Bikes are available to rent in Padstow to cycle ride along this popular trail. If you’re feeling energetic, you can stretch the ride further as the trail continues all the way up towards the source of the Camel River on Bodmin Moor.
You can’t come to Cornwall without taking a dip in the sea. One way to enjoy this is to take a surfing lesson at Harlyn Bay. This sheltered beach is great for beginners, so it’s perfect for families with kids who want to experience wave riding in a safe, beautiful setting.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out and fine dining in Padstow. You could eat at a different restaurant, pub or café for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week and still not run of exciting places to eat. You have the choice of quality pizza, gourmet burgers and locally caught fish and chips. Or for an extra special treat visit Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant or Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 for Michelin starred tucker in the heart of Padstow.
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