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An Insider’s Guide to Cornwall: Padstow

Padstow - Padstow Harbour - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Padstow – A Picturesque Cornish Fishing Port & Harbour Town

Padstow is on the North Coast of Cornwall, situated approximately 5 miles northwest of Wadebridge, 10 miles northwest of Bodmin and 10 miles east of Newquay.  It sits alongside the Camel Estuary, which is also host to some of the most stunning beaches and picturesque towns and villages that Cornwall has to offer.

As a working Cornish fishing port and harbour, Padstow is popular with holidaymakers and is especially busy in the summer months.  It is home to the National Lobster Thatchery, (a marine conservation charity that is research and education based) – an award-winning visitor centre where you can educate your family about lobster conservation, see the journey of hatchery-reared lobsters and learn about lobster biology.  You can even adopt a lobster!

For the energetic amongst you, there is the well-known ‘Camel Trail’ – almost 12 miles long, this trail stretches from Padstow to Bodmin, via Wadebridge.  Park up your motorhome for a few hours, or camp nearby and enjoy the walk which follows the estuary.  Alternatively, many cycle along the trail – bicycles, tandems and even side cars for young children are available to hire from both Padstow and Wadebridge.

Padstow - Camel Trail - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Walks, History, Mermaids, Boats and Eateries

If you wish to take to the coastal path, there is a 6 mile walk over the headland, overlooking the estuary with several hidden nooks and secluded bays to discover. On your journey, you will find the WW1 war memorial at St. Saviour’s point, not far from the harbour. Be careful when you reach the Doom Bar… it is said that this is where mermaids sit in wait to cause trouble with the sailors!

If the sea is your preferred method of travel, there are plenty of fishing trips, tourist boat tours and speedboat trips on offer in Padstow. On MayDay, the Annual ‘Obby Oss’ festival is always a big hit with visitors. You can also take the passenger ferry to Rock, which is on the opposite side of the estuary, with its watersports, restaurants and boutique shops.

Of course, you cannot leave out Rick Stein when you mention Padstow. Many affectionately call the area ‘PadStein’ due to The Seafood Restaurant, St. Petroc’s Bistro, Rick Stein’s Café and Stein’s Fish & Chips all being under his ownership. This gives visitors with varying budgets, the chance to sample his wares! He also owns a bookshop in the town. There are plenty of other eating establishments in the area, including restaurants, public houses and several Cornish pasty shops and bakeries.

Padstow - Old Church - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Daymer Bay and St Enodoc Church

Not far from Padstow, on the opposite side of the Camel Estuary. You will find the beautiful sandy beach that stretches along the estuary, with its sand dunes and coastal walk.  At low tide, you can walk from Rock to Daymer, along the seaside.  At high tide, you will need to join the coastal path at some points.  Popular with holidaymakers, Daymer is ideal for those who prefer the quieter, calmer waters, as opposed to the popular surfing beach of Polzeath, just around the corner.  Many choose Daymer for a spot of paddleboarding or kayaking.

Just off the beach and the warm tidal waters, you will find a golf course. St. Enodoc Church is hidden away and partly concealed in the ground, surrounded by this golf course.  This church has architectural history documented back to the 12th century and it was renovated in 1864.  The poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman counted St. Enodoc as one of his favourite places, and he was buried there in 1994. There are plenty of campsites nearby for parking up your motorhome for the night.

Grid reference: 50.5888, -4.9159               Postcode: PL27 6SA

Padstow - Glass of Wine - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Camel Valley Wine Tour

If you are leaving Padstow on your travels and you fancy yourself as a bit of a wine connoisseur (or would like to start learning), the Camel Valley wine tour is a great place to start. Find a camping spot in Bodmin, just along the estuary and stay the night.  Camel Valley Vineyard have been producing wine since 1989.  Starting out as a farm, it was bought by a couple, who planted their first 8 thousand vines, taking a punt on wine making.  After extensive training, they made a success of the business and are now award winners.  They have now been joined by their son, who has taken over as the winemaker.

Guided tours are every weekday from Monday to Friday, where you can find out about the growing season, the wine making process, and ultimately wine tasting.  If tours are not your thing, you can visit the vineyard and sit on the terrace in the sun, drinking wine and taking in the incredible views.  Alternatively, buy a few bottles and take them on your road trip.  Bookings will need to be made online, with available slots being released each Tuesday morning for the following week.

Grid reference: 50.4757, -4.7808               Postcode: PL30 5LG

Padstow - Harbour - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Port Gaverne

From Padstow, take the ferry to Rock and follow the South West coastal path to Port Gaverne.  This is a slightly challenging coastal path, with its many hills and exposed headlands in parts, but for those who enjoy the breeze in their hair and appreciate the unrivalled views of the Cornish coast, it is a must.  On your travels, you will pass through Daymer Bay, Polzeath, the historic Rumps, Lundy Bay and Doyden Castle, before arriving at Port Isaac.

Port Isaac is a quaint fishing village with local pubs, cafes, shops and a lifeboat station.  With its narrow streets and traditional cottages, it is popular in high season.  Also known as the fictional village of ‘Port Wenn’ to ‘Doc Martin’ fans, you can often see filming in action and visit the Doc’s surgery at the top of the hill, the ‘Old School House’ and other locations.  If driving there in your motorhome hire, parking is at the top of the hill.  Just follow the path down to the village. The fresh fish and lobsters are landed here – these will be a quick and tasty dinner – great for cooking on the barbecue on a campsite or inside your motorhome.  From Port Isaac, follow the coastal path for approximately 10 minutes whilst taking in the amazing scenery to Port Gaverne.  Port Gaverne is a safe swimming cove in the village, where you can jump off the rocks, paddleboard or kayak.  If you are a strong swimmer, you can swim around the headland to the large sea cave, under the cliff.

Grid reference: 50.5945, -4.8249               Postcode: PL29 3SQ

Padstow - Clock on Mantel - Cornish Motorhome Hire

Pencarrow House and Gardens

Between Bodmin and Wadebridge – just a short drive from Padstow, you will find Pencarrow Woods, where Pencarrow House and Gardens is also located.  Drive through ancient woodland before reaching this Georgian House and Grade II listed, dog-friendly garden.  Pencarrow is child-friendly, with a childrens’ play area, café and gift shop.  Entry for children is free!  There are 50 acres to explore!  Pencarrow has been a family-owned house for almost 500 years.  Join guided tours around the house, where you can learn about the history, discover hidden passageways and marvel at the artwork and statues.

If antiques are of interest, you will find plenty at Pencarrow – from Meissen figures, Candelabras, plates from the Kangxi period (1622-1722), Chinese rose bowls and glass pens that were originally made in 1851, for the Great exhibition in Crystal Palace.  There are some interestingly dressed marble busts, family artefacts, childrens’ toys and antique furniture to enjoy.  Events are held throughout the year at Pencarrow, such as the Christmas Artisan Fayre.

Grid reference: 50.5067, -4.7663               Postcode: PL30 3AG

Book Your Motorhome or Campervan to Visit Padstow

Cornish Motorhome Hire have a number of well-equipped and well-appointed vehicles to choose from. Read about our motorhomes, check availability and book online, using our easy-to-use system, or alternatively, call us on 07986 073469.  Our reviews speak for themselves!