Padstow is a gateway to the outdoors. Here you can paddle, bike, swim, climb and swing on an adventure fuelled holiday. Prepare to get active with this guide to the top outdoor activities in and near Padstow.
Situated on the Camel Estuary, on the North Cornwall coast, Padstow is surrounded by beaches, cliffs, waterways, woods and rolling countryside where opportunities for adventure are abundant. You don’t have to travel far from base for a dose of outdoor fun as there is a host of activities to enjoy within a short walk or drive from the town. Let us guide you to some of the top outdoor activities in the area.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Stand Up Paddle Boarding – or SUPing for short – is one of the world’s fastest growing watersports and a natural addition to Cornwall’s offering of boardsport activities. LIke surfing it is an exciting way to enjoy the sea and explore the coastline. Unlike surfing it does not require the same level of grit and determination to progress with wave riding. SUP tours are usually led on flat water, making this a family-friendly, inclusive activity. Great SUP locations near Padstow include Harlyn Bay and the Camel Estuary if shelter from wind and swell is required. Local operators include Harlyn Surf School.
At high-tide, the Camel Estuary is a vast expanse of flat, if fast flowing, water. This makes it great for learning to waterski or wakeboard from the back of a speedboat. The Camel Ski Club is one of the area’s oldest activity providers and experts in getting beginners on their feet for this exhilarating activity. There are also cable tow wakeboard parks at nearby lakes.
This activity, although invented in Pembrokeshire, is perfect for the cliffs, bays and inlets of the Cornish coast near Padstow. Coasteering is an exhilarating blend of rock scrambling, wild swimming and cliff jumping. Coasteering routes traverse low lying rocks, travel through caves and into nooks that few people have ever seen. Sometimes marine life such as seals, dolphins and fish pop up to join you. It’s fantastic for a refreshing blast of coastal adventure. There are good Coasteering companies at Harlyn, Polzeath and Newquay.
The town of Padstow was built on fishing, so it seems fitting that fishing trips from the harbour are among the most popular activities to do in the area. You can take a boat trip and learn the basics of sea fishing. These boats, such as the Emma Kate, usually fish for mackerel and sea bass, and sometimes you’re allowed to take your catch home for dinner. Yum!
There’s water everywhere in this part of Cornwall, from the wild open sea to the tranquil creeks and inlets. Naturally, one of the best ways to explore this watery wilderness is by kayak. Kayaking companies, such as Vertical Descents, can teach you the basics of the sport before taking you for a paddle along the coast. Expect to see beautiful, rugged coastline and countryside, as well as marine species and bird life.
One of the country’s most popular off-road biking routes, the Camel Trail, leaves from Padstow and follows the path of a disused railway line along the Camel Estuary to Wadebridge and beyond. There are plenty of places, such as Padstow Bike Hire, where you can hire bikes for an adventure along the Camel. If you fancy a more extreme ride, you should head to Cardinham Woods or Lanhydrock near Bodmin, where there is a network of trails for serious downhill (and uphill) fun.
For a special treat why not head inland for a spot of tree surfing. ‘What the heck is tree surfing?’ you may ask. Well, tree surfing is a high ropes activity strung up in the canopy of the forest in the Tamar Valley. This is a challenging high ropes obstacle course, where you can climb, traverse, descend, swing and leap through a wooded wonderland. This is an activity – by local company Tree Surfers – which will test the nerve and skill of all members of the family, no matter how old or brave.
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