Is there anything better than a golden beach, fresh salty air and a bag of fish and chips? If your answer is no, get yourself down to Cornwall's Padstow and enjoy the British seaside at its best. This fishing town might be famous for Rick Stein, but there are plenty of things to do in Padstow that don’t involve eating at one of his many establishments. The harbour is a joy, and the surrounding countryside will have you weeping into your Cornish cider at its breathtaking beauty. Cornwall is not only one of our favourite places in England, but it's also one of our new holiday destinations. We at Plum Guide pride ourselves on rooting out the best bits of every destination, so we've put our expert heads together and curated this extensive guide to ensure that your trip down south is as memorable as possible.
Complete the Camel Trail
Want to impress your friends? Complete the Camel Trail and you'll be able to tell them you cycled 12 miles of the Cornish coast from Padstow to Bodmin. No need to tell them it's a trail famous for being incredibly flat and easy, of course. And definitely don’t tell them if you hire an electric bike from Padstow Cycle Hire. What you can tell them is that there are spectacular views of the estuary, surrounding moorlands and woodland. Eagle-eyed cyclists might even spy otters, kingfishers, egrets and marsh orchids.
Go and see Padstow Harbour
Padstow Harbour, Cornwall
A photograph of Padstow Habour just belongs on the box of biscuits your granny keeps the shortbread in. Picture perfect, darling. Spend a little time gazing out at the bobbing boats and admiring the fluttering sails and you'll physically feel your worries float away across the harbour. Enjoy the many ice cream parlours, boutiques and souvenir shops, and don't be surprised when the whole family ends up wearing matching I Love Cornwall t-shirts.
Hop on a ferry and head to Rock
Yes, it is just called Rock. If you're looking for a change of scene, just get on a small ferry from coastal fishing village Padstow and head over to... coastal fishing village Rock. Unsurprisingly, that isn’t where the similarities end, but a pootle around Rock is a nice way to spend the afternoon. Sir John Betjeman’s Walk is a gentle stroll along the Camel estuary, and takes in the late Poet Laureate's grave, as well as the holy well used by Welsh hermit Enodoc to baptise his converts. If that doesn’t scream holiday, we don’t know what does.
Reserve a table at Rick Stein's restaurants
Oh Rick, what are you like? Ubiquitous around here, that’s what. The food at The Seafood Restaurant et al is very good though, so we can’t complain. The freshest of seafood and shellfish from St Petroc's Bistro and aptly named Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips will delight. If you don’t fancy a sit-down affair, grab your battered fish and perfect (they best be) chips and head to the harbour to create the kind of scene that wouldn’t look out of place in a rom-com. Unless you’ve got your kids with you. If you do, sorry about that.
Visit the Trevibban Mill Vineyard & Orchards
This award-winning working vineyard is a must-visit when looking for things to do in Padstow. They know a thing or two about wines and their collection is (hopefully) bigger than yours. Sample your way through Cornish wines and ciders during their tasting tours, and enjoy a light lunch or tasting board on the patio surrounded by wildflowers. Very nice.
Take a trip to Prideaux Place
Prideaux Place, Padstow, Cornwall
Big, fancy and
dusty old, we just love looking around English stately homes, don’t we? Prideaux Place ticks all the boxes with manicured lawns and gently sprinkling fountains, a house filled with royal portraits and rugs that last for days. If our home critics were to visit, we reckon the house would pass the multi-stage vetting process. The Prideaux family have been there for an incredible 14 generations, and the Lord and Lady of the manor, though not quite serving up cream teas in the little cafe, are around to say hello and doff their caps.
Relax at Treyarnon Bay
Treyarnon Bay is a short distance from Padstow and a lovely little spot to while away a summer's day, with gentle waves and golden beaches as far as the eye can see. Surf, kayak and swim the shores or turn your hand to rock pooling. Some of the pools are big enough for small people to swim in. Fortunate folk will spy resident seals and the luckiest of lucky will spot dolphins and
have the all-important holiday story feel at one with nature.
Book a meal at Paul Ainsworth at No 6
Inspiring, beautiful dishes impeccably served, Paul Ainsworth at No 6 is a delight from start to finish. A proud owner of a Michelin star and more than worthy of it. Start your evening off in the stylish cocktail bar upstairs before taking a journey through the best of British fare with the seven-course tasting menu. Highlights include the wild turbot with pearl barley risotto and Paul’s famous Great British Menu-winning dish ‘Taste of the Fairground'.
See the views from Stepper Point
Beacon, Stepper Point, Cornwall | Image courtesy of Wiki Commons / Bob&Anne Powell
Cornwall is oh-so-scenic, and never more so than on the South West Coastal Path, known for its onerous climbs and grisly descents. The trail to Stepper Point is thankfully easier, which is why we've chosen it as one of our top things to do in Padstow (we don't want you injuring yourself). Spy the Old Lifeboat Station and Hawker’s Cove on the route and stop off at the teashop for refreshments. After working up a sweat there’s nought better than kicking back in your perfect Cornish abode.