Our guide to self-catering holidays in Padstow & Wadebridge
We have to say it, we don’t think you’ve really experienced Cornwall until you’ve spent a few days in the gorgeous foodie haven that’s Padstow. With fisherman’s cottages that huddle around a historic harbour, a seafood scene that put the area on the map and the shimmering Camel Estuary at its feet, Padstow’s one of our favourites.
No matter which of our Padstow cottages you make your home for your stay, every morning should start with a wander down to the harbour and a visit to the little shops that have stood for centuries. Gift shop after gift shop, a grocers and even a shop that sells homemade fudge sit patiently awaiting their visitors, and there’s an unspoilt feel to the resort.
Home to the infamous Seafood Restaurant, owned by local boy and celebrity chef Rick Stein, Padstow has a loyal following of foodies thanks to its reputation for serving up seafood in style. The Camel Trail walking and cycling route makes it easy to explore the surrounding countryside in your own way, and as it follows an old railway track, it’s blissfully flat so you won’t have any hills to content with along the way.
Things to do in Padstow
Now this is an unusual attraction, the National Lobster Hatchery. Found on the quayside, this marine conservation charity work tirelessly to boost the dwindling numbers of European lobster in our seas, and a mind-boggling 53,000 were released into the sea during 2015 alone…that’s a lot of lobster! Visitors are welcome to pop in and learn more about the project, and children are always fascinated to find themselves faces to face with the lobsters.
Next up, it’s the Camel Trail. If it’s been way too long since you hired the family bikes and set off an a two-wheeled adventure for the day then here’s your chance to make it happen. You’ll find plenty of bike hire stores in the area if you don’t fancy driving the family’s bikes down, and as it’s mostly flat the trail’s perfect for all ages who just fancy getting out for a leisurely ride during a Padstow holiday.
Ok, so this one’s not quite one for the list of things to do IN Padstow, but fans of Doc Martin might want to drive the half an hour or so to neighbouring Port Isaac and wander the streets the Doc stomps up and down in the hit series.
The sleepy town caught the nation’s attention when it was chosen as the setting for the series, and a stay in Padstow’s the perfect excuse to go and have a look around - you even spot Martin Clunes shooting scenes for the next series while you’re there. Even if you don’t spot a famous face, Port Isaac’s beautifully unspoilt and you can expect a warm welcome…it’s just one of those Cornwall resorts where everyone’s welcome and the views haven’t changed in centuries.
Restaurants in Padstow
Largely due to the presence of Rick Stein, eating out during Padstow holidays is an experience in itself. The Seafood Restaurant, Stein’s Fish and Chips, St Pedroc’s Bistro and Rick Stein’s Cafe are each owned by the chef himself so whatever your tastes, you can indulge them in Padstow. For those days when you just want good old fashioned fish and chips, Padstow offers traditional fish and seafood restaurants, all served by the port’s own fishermen, as well as tearooms and friendly pubs – and there are plenty of places where you can dine al fresco and take in the views while you eat.
Mr Stein isn’t the only celebrity name on the Padstow foodie scene though, there’s also Paul Ainsworth at No 6 to keep discerning diners happy and well-fed throughout their stays. No 6 serves up seasonal ingredients and dishes created to showcase Cornwall’s produce in style, and Paul prides himself on creating an informal atmosphere so diners can relax. Children over four are welcome, and there’s not even a dress code, so if you chose to pack that extra sun dress instead of an evening one then there’s no need to worry…well this is Cornwall after all.
To be honest, you can set off from Padstow in pretty much any direction and find yourself wandering past some of the finest scenery in the country, it’s just one of those super gorgeous places that’s escaped change, but if you fancy tackling a section of the local coast path then we’d recommend starting at Constantine Bay and walking your way up to Trevose Head. There’s a circular walk that takes walkers along the dramatic coastline and up to the iconic lighthouse (the perfect spot to stop and take some photos by the way), and if you walk this route during spring or summer you’ll pass carpets of wild flowers.
Dog friendly Padstow
If you’re planning a dog friendly Padstow break then there’s one place you need to know about, and that’s Harlyn Bay beach. One of Cornwall’s best beaches for families, Harlyn Bay is dog friendly, and just to the west of Padstow it’s a great place to let your pet enjoy his time on the coast during your stay nearby. The beach is sand and pebble, and there’s plenty of room to spread out for the day without worrying about the crowds. Harlyn Bay’s a popular spot with surfers, so if you sit for awhile to let your dog enjoy the beach you can watch them tackling the waves out at sea.
There’s more good news for dog owners, Constantine Bay beach welcomes doggies throughout the year too. Another favourite with surfers, this wide sandy beach is great for walks (the scenery’s gorgeous too), or lazy family days enjoying the sand.