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Things to do in Padstow
Padstow is one of Cornwall’s most popular places to visit. A historic fishing port on the Camel Estuary, Padstow was put on the map by celebrity chef Rick Stein who opened the now famous Seafood Restaurant back in 1975. Today, visitors are drawn from all over the UK and the rest of the world to enjoy a taste of Cornish harbour life. There’s certainly a lot more to this charming fishing port than Rick Stein’s delicious seafood.
If you’re planning to spend some time in and around Padstow, look out for the following attractions:
The Camel Trail
Padstow lies on the mouth of North Cornwall’s beautiful Camel Estuary. If you want to explore upstream from the port, one of the best ways to do it is by bike on the Camel Trail. It’s a mostly traffic-free, level trail for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and wheel-chair users. At a total distance of around 18 miles, it runs along a disused railway line all the way from Padstow to Wenfordbridge on Bodmin Moor. You don’t have to go all the way of course. For example, you could cycle from Padstow to Wadebridge and back (a return trip of around 11 miles or 18km), perhaps stopping to enjoy a coffee or cold drink along the way. It’s easy to hire bikes in Padstow – you can even hire tandems, tag-a-longs and trailers for young children and dogs! Adult bike hire £12 a day, children’s bikes from £5 (trailbikehire.co.uk).
The National Lobster Hatchery
The Cornish coast is renowned for its rich diversity of marine life, but threats from over-fishing and pollution can’t be ignored. A visit to The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow will open your eyes to the importance of preserving marine diversity around our coasts and protecting vulnerable lobster populations. The story of how juvenile lobsters are reared from eggs before release into the wild around the Cornish coast is both fascinating and educational. The National Lobster Hatchery (nationallobsterhatchery.co.uk) is a marine conservation, research and educational charity. Admission prices are £3.75 for adults and £1.75 for children. Under-fives are free. Meet the Expert Tours are £12 Adults or £6 for children.
Beaches and watersports near Padstow
There are several glorious sandy beaches only around 10-15 minutes drive from Padstow, including Trevose, Harlyn and Constantine. They’re all great family beaches usually with excellent water quality. If there’s an Atlantic swell rolling in, why not take to the waves on a surf or boogie board (wetsuits advisable even in the summer!). Or to develop your core strength and balance skills, you could jump on a standup paddleboard? For a totally exhilarating experience, a coasteering session will take you to hidden coves and spectacular jump-off spots along remote, rugged stretches of this coastline. Try the award-winning Harlyn Surf School in Harlyn Bay – surfboard and wetsuit hire £16 per hour, standup paddle board lesson £40, coasteering £40 per person.
Boat trips from Padstow
What better way to experience the beautiful Camel Estuary than aboard a boat? Several different trips are on offer from Padstow harbour. Sea and weather permitting, you could take a summer coastal cruise out to sea and around the offshore islands. The area is rich in marine life and if you’re lucky, you might encounter a pod of dolphins, the odd seal or even a basking shark. For something a little more hands-on, try your luck on a mackerel fishing trip and perhaps catch your supper. On very high tides, take a scenic boat trip up the Camel Estuary to Wadebridge. Try padstowboattrips.co.uk – coastal tour £15 for adults, £10 for children (under-3s free). For mackerel fishing, a 2-hour trip aboard Emma Kate II costs £15 per person (emmakate2.com).
Rick Stein’s Cookery School
Let’s not forget Padstow’s master chef. If you share his passion for delicious fresh food, why not take a course at his Cookery School in Padstow (rickstein.com/school)? You could learn how to cook impressive fish dishes, get to grips with crab and lobster or perhaps try out tantalizing Eastern Mediterranean or Indian Street Food recipes. There are evening, half-day, full day, two-day and four-day courses available (evening course from £40, full day from £198). If you’d rather leave it to the experts, why not book a place on one of the evening Masterclasses (from £16). Just sit back and relax with a glass of wine, while one of Rick’s chefs shows you how it’s done. Please note that Rick doesn’t teach the courses himself, but all of his chef lecturers are highly trained and inspirational.
Roads can get busy around Padstow in high season. The BMW Gran Tourer’s satellite navigation, with real time traffic information, will help you avoid the jams and get to your destination faster.
We’ve mapped out the locations for you here: