Padstow Town Guide
Overview and History
Padstow, famous for its harbour, Rick Sein, fresh dining and gorgeous beach has something for the whole family. Rick Stein has a seafood restaurant and a take away here as well as a shop which tourists love to sample some of his famous fish and chips. The harbour is a fantastic place with a great atmosphere to explore throughout the day or night, with lots of little shops in the narrow streets surrounding the harbour to explore. There is a beach called St Georges Cove just half a mile away from the harbour as well and so much coastline to explore around the town.
Possibly even going back as far as 2500 BC, Padstow was a harbour since then. It is also thought that St Petroc, one of the Cornish saints, built a monastery here in the town, which was originally called Petroc Stow for this reason. After Padstow was raided by the Vikings in 981 the monks from the monastery moved inland to Bodmin. Padstow became a fishing port and today its main trade is tourism. Padstow’s population today is around 3,000 but this grows substantially in the summer months each year.
The town itself is a small town so the best thing to do is to leave your car in one of the car parks rather than trying to park in the actual town itself. There is a large car park level with the town called the railway car park, this may be full during the summer depending on what time you arrive. There are other car parks at the top of the town that you can use too. There are buses that travel into Padstow from most towns too so you could do that for a day or night out, obviously check the time table because there won’t be too many in the evenings with it being a small town. There is no train station that comes into Padstow as the old track is now the Camel Trail that provides a fantastic coastal walk or cycle all the way up the coast.
There are many different options for staying in and around Padstow, the countryside is stunning all around there and we have some great locations in our accommodation section for you to look at. Hotel, bed and breakfast and self catering amongst your options here. I would recommend one of the beautiful self catering places we have selected for you.
Padstow is surrounded by a stunning coastline. St Georges Cove is the closest beach to the town but there are several other beaches in and around the area. Harlyn beach just a short drive away is a fantastic beach, it’s large and has a pub about 5 metres away from it. Harlyn is dog friendly and you can do all sorts of water sports on the beach including surfing and kayaking. Tregirls beach is a wide sandy beach at the mouth of the Camel Estuary perfect for families and dogs, as they are allowed too and off their leads. Daymer beach is a beat more off the beaten track and for that reason is secluded, its bordered by sand dunes and is perfect for swimming due to its shelter. There is a car park and toilets though. The closest beach to Padstow though within walking distance is St George’s Cove and this is a fantastic family beach, is a stunning little cover overlooking the Camel Estuary, so you really are spoilt for choice when you stay or visit Padstow as to where you can enjoy the delightful Cornish coastline.
For such a small town there is certainly plenty to do in and around Padstow. There is the Padstow Museum which will take you on a journey through Padstow’s history is a great place to visit particularly on a rainy day, find out all about the lifeboats and Padstow’s contribution to the war. Also here you can explore why May Day celebrations are such a huge thing in Padstow. Rick Stein is a huge part of Padstow and here you can enjoy his food and peruse his shop but also you can learn how to cook with one of his chefs. A cooking lesson is a fantastic way to learn how to cook the local cuisine and a once in a lifetime experience. The beaches themselves are one of the amazing attractions here in Padstow and one of the best things about them is apart from parking they are free to use and you can spend the whole day there. If you want to go a bit further and make the most of the sea then Padstow has you covered, Padstow SeaLife Safaris, Harlyn Surf School, boat trips, speed boat trips and fishing trips will keep everyone entertained. The Camel trail is geared up for cyclists and you can hire bikes to use for a day trip up the camel trail. If golf is your thing then Trevose Golf and Country Club is not far. Or why not go for a walk or swim in the sea.
Food, Drink and Entertainment
Padstow is a hub of amazing fresh Cornish cuisine, featuring Paul Ainsworths Michelin starred No. 6. This little treat is a must visit for all food lovers, his tasting menu is sublime and will definitely impress you. Paul was featured on Masterchef the Professionals in this restaurant so you may have seen some of his stunning food. Of course Rick Stein has restaurants in Padstow as well as a shop. Either sample some fine dining in the restaurant or simply try some take away fish and chips. Rafferty’s Cafe and Wine bar is another fantastic choice if you would like to sample some of the local cuisine. Padstow is a fine place to get a traditional Cornish Pasty or a cream tea. Padstow features many pubs serving fresh produce too. The Harbour inn, The Old Custom House and The Pickwick inn which also features accommodation, check out or accommodation section.
Some of these pubs are right on the harbour and feature live music on certain nights especially during peak times. The Obby Oss is a festival celebrated on May Day in Padstow and has been for hundreds of years. It is a large part of their tradition and is a fantastic day out. The town comes together on the streets and celebrates with folk music and dancing accompanied by accordions and drums. This is a real treat for anyone visiting Padstow and the atmosphere is amazing.