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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.