Oh, how we’d love to capture that holiday feeling of being by the sea in Padstow. Fishing boats chugging in and out of the harbour at dawn and dusk. The bustle of the quayside. Gulls swooping overhead. People strolling along cobbled streets, dipping into foodie hotspots, boutique shops and ice cream parlours. Gazing across the Camel Estuary with a salty breeze whipping your cheeks.
It’s truly an inspirational place. It’s no surprise that many writers have literary roots in this area of Cornwall, or have filled the pages of their books with the essence of coastal life here. The area has inspired the tales of Daphne Du Maurier, Rosamunde Pilcher and Winston Graham of Poldark fame, as well as poets and playwrights John Betjeman, Charles Causley and Nick Darke.
To celebrate this literary heritage we’ve hunted down three more recent books inspired by Padstow, that will take you under the skin of this thriving fishing village that’s become one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations.
Celebrity Fern Britton has written several novels from her bolthole in Padstow, echoing the character of this seaside abode in her fictional town of Trevay. Her latest bestseller, A Seaside Love Affair, transports you into the scenery and community spirit, as locals are up in arms to save the town’s much-loved theatre from being taken over by a global coffee chain.
With A-listers arriving for a charity season at the theatre, Trevay finds itself in the spotlight and a plot unfolds to change the future of the town and its residents. It’s definitely one for a holiday read by the sea – and you’ll be tempted to delve into Britton’s other books based on Padstow and its surrounds.
More true to life is Raynor Winn’s The Salt Path, an honest and extraordinary narrative of how two people lift themselves from despair and homelessness on a 630-mile odyssey along the South West Coast Path. Now a million-copy bestseller, the memoir draws a vivid image of North Cornwall’s dramatic scenery, and the contrast of the wild coastline that hems the bustling harbour town.
The couple cross the estuary by ferry to land in the bustling heart of Padstow, conjuring up the scene of buskers playing to the busloads of tourists, the tang of the salty air, and the prominence of the Stein empire. Staying in their tent on the edge of Padstow, Winn notices the oystercatchers and terns chattering along the sand, and also depicts the beach life and surf culture on the doorstep – a scene far removed from the town’s upmarket restaurants and boutiques.
While visitors to Padstow relish in the treasures of its gastronomic reputation, hopping between Michelin-starred restaurants and eateries showcasing produce plucked from the surrounding land and sea, Down And Out In Padstow And London tells a different tale of the foodie scene.
Quitting journalism for cheffing, and journeying from kitchens in Padstow to London, Alex Watts takes us on a humorous and honest journey behind the kitchen doors. Via a failed Masterchef audition and 16-hour shifts slaving away at a gastropub, Watts ends up back in his office chair, from where he brings us a raw account of the heat in the kitchen, as well as his experiences in Padstow.
Although it’s not strictly set in Padstow, Liz Fenwick does an amazing job at evoking the mystery and beauty of the Cornish coast.
The atmospheric novel revolves around an imposing cliff-top house that means very different things to three generations of women, who gather one last time for an eventful summer at their family home by the sea.
Inspired to read or write all about it? Why not come to Padstow and find your muse? Or kick back in a coastal cottage with a reading list to accompany your stay in North Cornwall? Browse our collection of holiday cottages in and around Padstow and find the perfect pad for your next literary adventure.
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