While Padstow is simply buzzing during summertime, some of us prefer to find a peaceful corner to contemplate the beauty of Cornwall and connect with the quieter side of life. Fortunately, there are plenty of nooks and crannies where you can escape the crowds and do just that. So pack your book and a blanket and find a little piece of Padstow to yourself…
Cushioned from the wind by the Merope Rocks, Mother Ivey’s is an idyllic spot to shelter from the elements and the crowds. Find a private nook to flop on your beach towel with your favourite book, cool off in the Caribbean-blue sea and – when the tide reclaims the shoreline – wander along the coastal path to soak up dreamy views of Trevose Head, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins.
How about standing on the tip of a rugged promontory, the briny breeze whipping a glow to your cheeks as you stare out to the Atlantic and the famous Doom Bar – where many ships have foundered at the mouth of the Camel Estuary? As you walk away from the madding crowds in the harbour town, hear the boom of the waves in the sea caves, watch seabirds swooping around the daymark tower and gaze along the wild North Coast of Cornwall from a dramatic headland featured on screen in the opening scenes of BBC’s Poldark.
Slink west out of the harbour and follow the coast path to this dreamy, white-sand bay near the mouth of the Camel Estuary. Sitting beneath the hulk of Stepper Point, Hawker’s Cove is lapped by calm, shallow water and backed by sugary-white dunes. Bask on the pillowy sands, paddle in the crystal-clear waters and unpack a picnic on the rocks where a legendary mermaid once fell in love with a local lad. A romantic location indeed, and with so much space at low tide it’s the perfect place to fly a kite and feel high on life.
Being one of Cornwall’s most popular cycling routes, many people hit the Camel Trail between Padstow and Wadebridge. However, if you persevere and carry on along the trail from Wadebridge to Bodmin Moor, you’ll find far fewer people on the path that wends through wild woodland and onto the magical moorland. As the crowds thin on the inland trail, you’ll be rewarded with the likes of otters, bats, dormice, kingfishers, little egrets, marsh orchids and marsh marigolds instead.
There are plenty of boat trips leaving Padstow harbour but if you really want to get away from it all and swap crowds for wildlife, hop aboard for a Padstow Sealife Safari. Whether you opt for a one-hour seal safari or 3-hour explorers trip, you’ll come face-to-face with Cornwall’s marine life and experience stunning views of the coastline from the water.
When you hop aboard the passenger ferry from Padstow to Rock you might feel like you’re floating from one crowded shoreline to another. However, once you disembark on the other side of the estuary, you can follow the South West Coast Path to the remote rocky shoreline of Greenaway Beach, or clamber to the top of Brea Hill and take in the views of Padstow and its surroundings from a different perspective away from the hoards of beach lovers.
You don’t have to leave the town to find a nook in this cosy cocktail bar that’s part of the Stein stable. Hideaway and sip boutique spirits just a few minutes’ from the harbour, making your way through the cocktail list that’s tailored around Rick Stein’s worldwide travels. How about a Gin Highball – made with Tarquin’s Rick Stein Gin of fennel, pineapple and bitter lemon?
Instead of sinking a beer in one of the busy waterside bars, why not discover more about the local ales on a tour around a local brewery followed by a taste of the best Padstow beers? Not only will you learn about the brewing process from grain to glass, you’ll also sample beers at source, alongside a detailed explanation of their provenance. Now that’s a thirst quencher in more ways than one.
While so many restaurants in the heart of Padstow are booked out for summer and beyond, seek out a foodie experience with a difference at Craftworks Secret Garden. Tucked away under the pine trees, here you can enjoy delicious street food in a quirky, alfresco dining venue. Take shelter in a tipi or sit under the canopies and devour burgers, burritos, tacos and salads in a wild and wonderful location.
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