Things to do in Padstow

Padstow in Cornwall is a really lovely place to visit. It’s a small harbour town, but it should be easy to fill a week without travelling too far. It is very popular and gets very busy in the summer holidays. If you’re lucky enough to be able to go outside the school holidays, you will probably enjoy it even more!

Here are some of our recommendations of things to do in Padstow:

Ferry to Rock

Padstow’s beach is a little bit inaccessible, it’s a fairly long walk from the harbour if you’ve got little legs and a steep path down to the beach. When the tide comes in, there isn’t much beach there. So it’s nice to get a ferry across to Rock – which is on the other side of the estuary. When the tide is out, it is so close it looks like you could walk there! Rock is a spacious beach and dogs are allowed on it, so there are always a fair few running about. Good news for dog-owners, possibly not quite such good news for others.

Children always enjoy a boat ride, so that’s a little bonus treat thrown in – it costs £3 return for adults and £2 return for children.

Rock beach

Chilling out

It’s nice to just wander round Padstow and look in the shops, eat ice cream or eat chips. Although at peak times you might struggle to sit down to eat your chips! There are a number of ice cream shops of course. Roskillys and Harbour Ice are our favourites – they both do a big range of flavours, including some unusual ones. You can also sit down in Harbour Ice and watch the world go by. There are at least three chip shops and the queue for Stein’s fish and chips is always out of the door at peak time. Early morning or evening are the best times to wander round and relax.


Trevone Bay

This beach is a mile or two outside Padstow. It is a surfer’s beach and you get some great waves. There’s always loads of kids body boarding. The tide comes in fast and goes out fast! It is my favourite beach in the area.


The Camel Trail

You can’t go to Padstow without cycling the Camel Trail. It is a disused railway that runs along the estuary from Padstow to Wadebridge and on to Bodmin. There are a couple of bike hire places in Padstow where you can hire bikes, as well as trailers for toddlers and tag-along attachments for children to pedal along with a parent. There is no charge to use the Camel Trail and you can take your own bikes. But you won’t be able to hire a trailer or tag-along to attach to your own bike.


Crazy golf

The crazy golf course is not the craziest or the best maintained you will have ever seen. But it does have stunning views across the estuary. Crazy golf is always a good way of filling an hour when the weather isn’t great.

Cream teas

You have to have a cream tea when you go to Cornwall! But is it jam first or cream first? Needless to say, these are available everywhere. This one was from Harbour Ice and was very nice because they scones were warm. My absolute favourite place for a cream tea though has to be at the Metropole, Padstow’s landmark hotel, for the stunning view you get.


Boat trips

There are boat trips for all in Padstow. Lots of people like the speedboat trips, which take about 10 or 15 minutes and go out to the open sea. Then there is the Jubilee Queen, which does hour long trips into the open sea, and you can even go out on fishing boats for anything between two and 12 hours. It seems obvious, but don’t do a boat trip if you suffer from motion sickness…

Rick Stein

It’s many years since we saw him wandering around Padstow like a Muggle with his little dog, and even three years since we saw him doing a book signing, but Rick Stein is the unmistakeable king of Padstow and there’s signs of him everywhere. Everyone can afford a bit of Rick Stein if they want – whether you are rich enough for The Seafood Restaurant or you just want to sample the fish and chips from his chip shop. He also has a hotel and bistro (St Petroc’s), a café (it looks more like a restaurant to me!), a deli, a seafood school and a gift shop!


Other stuff

Also in the local area you will find:

  • Go-karting at St Eval (near Newquay) – for ages 7 to adult. The queues can get big!
  • Cornwall’s Crealy Adventure Park (near Wadebridge) – kind of a theme park, but Cornish style!
  • Lappa Valley Steam Railway (near Newquay) – a miniature railway, great for very young children.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’ve been to Padstow lots over the years and seen the Rick Stein empire grow. It’s a beautiful little town though and I feel overdue a visit. I’ve done the Camel Trail pre children and I’d like to do it again – it’s a pity the shops don’t hire tag alongs – they are missing a trick.

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  2. Sounds like a lovely holiday!

    My cousin spent Summer in Cornwall (can’t remember where but know the Rick Stein visited his boss, so can’t have been too far) working and said it was the best Summer he has ever had.

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  3. Now I want cream tea. It’s probably my favourite thing about living in England (I’m Dutch), and I put the cream on first as if it is butter. But then, I am a foreigner so I don’t think my opinion counts in the poll!

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  4. The ice cream board you photod… I always hit my head on the way in… I forget to duck into cottage doors.

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  5. It sounds so lovely and that cream tea looks amazingly delicious. I’d love to go there one day!

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  6. What a great and comprehensive list – makes me want to go back! Look at that scrummy cream tea 🙂 A fabulous place and I too can recommend the camel trail – easily doable with kids too.

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  7. I love Padstow, in fact I have a painting of the harbour on the wall in my office here in Canada, and I think I have done almost all of these things. the photo of the cream tea literally has me salivating, clotted cream doesn’t exist over here 🙁

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  8. Sarah this looks like such a fantastic place. I am a cream then jam kinda gal!

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

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  9. Thanks very much, everyone. It really is a beautiful place!
    Erica – you can hire tag-alongs, but just not to fit your own bike, you have to hire the bike too!
    I’ve tried cream first and jam first, Judith and Jaime. I have concluded jam first is better – which just happens to be the Cornish way! Cream first is the Devon way.
    So lovely that you’ve got a Padstow pic over there in Canada, Lou!

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  10. It sounds like you had a great time. Cornwall is up high on my to visit list as I haven’t been there in 20 years.

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  11. This is a fantastic guide to Padstow. We were there at Easter especially for RS’s fish and chips and they didnt disappoint. Would love to go back again soon. x

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  12. I can see why you love it so much. Don’t think my boys have even been to Cornwall! Think I need to rectify this.

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  13. We’ve never been to Padstow, but would love to. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive post, it’s great to have your recommendations. This post would be perfect for the weekly #familydays Linky at, if you’d like to join in.

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  14. Aah Padstow – we know it well! It’s great to read your post and see how other people view the area. As you pointed out there is a lot to see and do there. I’m glad you had a great time when you visited, thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

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  15. Thanks very much, everyone! I didn’t go to Padstow until I was 20, PinkOddy. We’d never been to Cornwall at all before then. I would definitely recommend it!

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