Harbour Holidays

Things To Do in Padstow if You Love the Water

Camel estuary
For those of us who love the water, summer in Cornwall brings beach adventures, boat trips and water-bound fun galore. From the thrills of surfing and wakeboarding to speedboat safaris and giant slip and slides, there are activities for everyone keen to make a splash on their summer holiday. From aqua parks to aquatic escapades, here’s how to cool off and enjoy the water in and around Padstow.

Giant Slip and Slide, near Wadebridge

Giant slip and slide

Photo courtesy of Giant Slip and Slide

Not all water-bound activities in Padstow take you out to sea. The whole family will love a thrill-packed day out at the giant slip and slide park, with 440ft-long chutes and a three-metre high launch ramp. Hit the slides on an inflatable hoop or a super-slippy bodyboard, and continue the family-friendly fun in the Water Pistol battle park. Right beside the A39 at Winnards Perch, it’s the perfect pitstop to cool off between sightseeing adventures in Cornwall.  

Dip in the Sea Pool, Treyarnon 

Cornwall’s coastline is dotted with natural and man-made sea pools where you can dip in a safe haven next to the Atlantic Breakers. One of our favourite spots for a wild swim is just a few miles south of Padstow at Treyarnon Bay, where you’ll find a 12-metre-long rock pool hewn into the rocky edges of the beach. Wait for the tide to ebb and plunge into the lozenge-shaped lagoon, then flop on the sun-heated rocks to warm up. If you’re keen to seek out more dipping spots to cool off in the area, check out our blog on the best sea pools in Cornwall

Speedboat Sealife Safari, Padstow 


Photo courtesy of Padstow Sealife Safaris

Strap in for a full-throttle adventure from Padstow Sealife Safaris that brings you face-to-face with Cornwall’s incredible sea life and shows you the stunning coastline from the water. You might see seals, dolphins, whales, puffins and porpoises as you power along in a state-of-the-art speed boat, with an expert skipper at the helm. All trips leave from Padstow harbour, whether you choose a one-hour seal safari, a three-hour explorers trip, or stay in the shelter of the Camel Estuary for a calmer ride. This is one of the area’s best boat trips for fun on the water.

Aqua Park, near Wadebridge 

Splash, jump and bounce your way around the Aqua Park at Retallack Resort, near Padstow. Wipeouts are inevitable as you take on the challenges of this huge, inflatable obstacle course on the lake. Inflatable ‘ringo’ rides and wakeboarding are also available, or you can pootle along on a pedalo if that’s more your pace. Boasting an array of watersports away from the sea, Retallack Resort is also home to the FlowRider artificial wave machine, where you can practise your surfing and bodyboarding skills on a stand-up wave.

Pleasure Cruise, Padstow 

Jubilee Queen H_Lawrence

Photo by Hayley Lawrence

If you’re looking to explore the North Cornwall coastline at a more leisurely pace and aboard a more luxurious boat, venture sea-bound in style on the Jubilee Queen. An iconic vessel that has been cruising in Cornish waters for 40 years, this sleek liner welcomes the whole family – including young pirates and four-legged friends – to enjoy a 1.5-hour spin to see seabirds, marine life, secluded coves and rugged beaches. As you’d expect of a luxury liner, there’s also a well-stocked bar onboard. 

Learn to Surf, Harlyn

When the surf’s up, the beaches around Padstow light up with opportunities to ride the ocean swells. And there’s nowhere better to start your surfing journey than at Harlyn, a crescent of golden sand just ten minutes from Padstow. More sheltered from the brunt of the Atlantic than Cornwall’s big open beaches, here you’ll often find mellow waves perfect for beginners. Tap up the experts at Harlyn Surf School for kit hire and lessons, and enjoy all the convenience of beachside parking and a sea view café, which make this one of the best places to learn to surf in North Cornwall

Stand-up Paddleboarding, Camel Estuary from Rock

Stand up paddle boarding on the Camel estuary

Photo courtesy of Camel Ski School

Explore the Camel Estuary and Padstow’s beaches under paddle power on a SUP (stand up paddle board). The world’s fastest-growing watersport, paddleboarding is the perfect way for all ages and abilities to drift along the Cornish coastline and encounter sea life – toning your core muscles along the way. Take an hour’s supervised session with Camel Ski School to learn the basics, or gather friends and family who dare to share a 6-man Monster SUP. Once you’ve got your balance and nailed the paddling technique, you can join a two-hour guided SUP safari to secret spots along the estuary, or glide away on a ‘Paddle and Prosecco’ evening (adults only on the latter). 

Coasteering, Trevone

Swim, scramble and cliff jump on an exhilarating coasteering adventure that will bring you nose-to-nose with Trevone’s rugged shoreline. The experts at Trevone Bay Adventures will take you into the nooks and crannies of the coast around Padstow, to places that are inaccessible by boat or on foot. Wild swimming in gulleys and coves, climbing, rock pooling and jumping into the big blue (if you wish), you’ll get an outside-in perspective on the shoreline and meet incredible sea life along the way. All the kit is provided, but you must be at least 12 years old and able to swim 50m to participate. 

Wake Surf, Camel Estuary from Rock


Photo by Hayley Lawrence

If you’re a keen surfer and wondering what to do when the waves are flat, it’s time to try wake surfing with Camel Ski School. Their specialist boat is far more than a sleek vessel to cruise along the Camel Estuary and see pretty Padstow from the water. The powerful engine creates a wave that can be adjusted to different heights, so once you’ve been towed to your feet on a surfboard, you can drop the rope and free surf – just like riding an endless wave. Book a single lesson, or charter the boat for an afternoon and enjoy a private session for up to eight people. Based at Rock on the Camel Estuary (hop over on the foot ferry from Padstow), Camel Ski School also offers waterskiing and wakeboarding under expert tuition. 

Cool off by the beach in Padstow this summer

Book a holiday cottage in North Cornwall and plunge into summer adventures in and on the water around Padstow. 

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