MORE THAN A BRITISH SEASIDE TOWN, PADSTOW IS NOW FIRMLY ON THE FOODIE MAP.
When the ancient Cornish settled in the area many centuries ago they chose the site for Padstow with great care and foresight. Nestling in a narrow gulley on the western side of the River Camel estuary, the town is sheltered from the prevailing winds and the air is generally soft and balmy. Moving down the hill the buildings huddle closer together until they crowd around the harbour. There you’ll find a great mixture of houses, quays, boat slips, inns, cafés, restaurants, gift shops, a fishmonger and the like. None of this was planned; it just evolved as the years moved on. No architect could have designed the magic of Padstow. It is just the result of years of adaptation to change, of getting the best out of local materials and then using the buildings and the surrounding environment to meet the needs of a working and friendly harbour town.
The harbour is undoubtedly the strongest attraction in the town and visitors find themselves drawn to it like a magnet. Fishing and pleasure craft rock side-by-side on their moorings, children fish for crabs from the harbour wall, quayside inns and cafes overlook the calm water. There are seats all around the harbour and because there’s always something going on and it’s such a restful and interesting place it’s a favourite spot for both locals and visitors. While you’re here please try to set aside some time to share in our heritage. Our museum may not be large but it does contain many of our historic treasures and artefacts. The church too reflects the life, past and present, of our seafaring town; a warm welcome awaits you at its services, as does the town’s Methodist Chapel and Catholic Church.
But the town and its harbour is just the first step in getting to know the area. Walk or cycle the Camel Trail toward Wadebridge, Bodmin and beyond or take a stroll along the Southwest Coast Path towards one of several sandy beaches or take the ferry across the river to Rock. There’s something for everyone in Padstow and the surrounding area; we hope you enjoy your stay and that you will come back again soon. Just remember to slow down!
Leave behind the high summer hustle and bustle and Padstow steadies to a more leisurely pace. Outside the main visitor season, there’s more time and space for everyone to appreciate the true beauty of the area. To spend time soaking up the atmosphere on the quay, to watch the nets being mended or the fishing catch landed or to just stroll along the deserted shoreline or over the cliff path.
The natural beauty of the area – its rugged coastline, sweeping sandy beaches, quiet coves and fabulous walks, is probably its main attraction. But there is much more to do and see. At the centre of all activity is the harbour. Brass band concerts are held regularly, visiting entertainers often perform on the quayside, fishing and pleasure trips depart from there and much social activity is conducted from the harbourside cafes, restaurants and pubs. Treat yourself to a fishing trip, a high powered speedboat trip or more leisurely cruise aboard the Jubilee Queen for a trip along the fabulous coastline. And if dry land is more your scene there’s the National Lobster Hatchery where you can discover the fascinating world of lobsters and their environment. Then there’s the Padstow Town Museum where you can step back in time and discover the history of Padstow through its Obby Oss, Railway and Lifeboat displays. The Museum is open from Easter to the end of October and is run by volunteers.