Padstow - North Cornwall Holidays in Padstow Tourism Guide


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Padstow Harbour
Padstow Harbour

Holidays in pastow


Holiday Cottages in Padstow

Where to Stay - Holidays in Padstow

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Harlyn Trevone Contantine Bay

Guide to Beaches in Padstow


Padstow on the Camel Estuary, is a fine example of a Cornish-fishing port. The town is largely unspoilt, with a beautiful harbour. There are good shopping facilities, a cinema, cafes and restaurants, including the famous "Seafood Restaurant" run by Rick Stein and many old and friendly public houses, most of them serving pub food and 'real ale'.

The camel Estuary
The Camel Estuary looking from Padstow across the river to Rock

Around the harbour you will find craft and gift shops, artists' studios, book- shops, grocers, newsagents, leather workshops, a home-made fudge shop and much more.

Padstow itself lies on the Camel Estuary, about seven miles from Wadebridge. The area is one of considerable natural beauty with beautiful bays, golden beaches and many interesting walks, particularly along the Coastal Footpath.

The site of Padstow was well chosen by its forefathers. Settled into a narrow gulley on the West side of the River Camel estuary we are well sheltered from the prevailing South - West winds and the air is balmy.


Padstow is a heavenly jumble of houses, quays, boat slips, cafes and restaurants, gift and craft shops, a wine merchant, bookshops, holiday flats, grocers, gown shops, newsagents, accountants, estate agents, a chemist, homemade fudge shop and even a book maker. Not much of this was planned: it has happened through the years. No architect could have schemed the Padstow of today. It is the result of years of adaptation and change. of getting the best out of local natural materials and then ingeniously adapting these buildings to fit the current needs of a friendly little harbour town.


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The Camel estuary

The Camel Trail Cycle routeThe Camel Trail Cycle Route

The Camel Trail in North Cornwall, winds its way along the Estuary between padstow and Wadebridge, then rising up into the hills of Bodmin Moor to Blisland. The scenery along this popular walking and cycling route is some of the most spectacular in the country.

The Camel Trail cycle route was created on 11 miles of disused railway that ran along the valley beside the River Camel, on what was once originally the Atlantic Express Route from London to the West country.

The Camel Trail links the towns of Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin. There is a branch line that follows the river through as it down from North Cornwall's rugged moor land village landscapes and wooded valleys around Blisland the picturesque market town of Camelford. The centre of the Camel Trail is Wadebridge, where the majority of people opt to follow the level/gently sloping route west to Padstow.

There is bike hire available in Padstow and Wabebridge. The route between the two towns is mostly level, with some gentle slopes. With plenty of little coves and places to stop and admire the view or have a picnic along the way, the Camel trail is an ideal way to spend the day with the familly.

the Camel Trailthe Camel Trail

'obby ossIn this part of North Cornwall, It is true that time and tide wait for no man but it is also true that here in Padstow they do seem to wait that little bit longer. Everything moves slower. The traffic, because it cannot do any other, and the people, because their lives are governed so much more by the tides, the seasons of the year and the farming calendar. It will become obvious to our visitors that we Padstonians have discovered that rushing about simply does not do anyone any good.

Some of us here would like the whole world to slow down to our pace but we know that this cannot be. Instead of this, we invite our visitors to share with us the slowing down - if only for a couple of weeks, and you will find that you are drawn towards it as if by an invisible magnet. Folk always have time to stand and stare into the harbour scene and Padstow is no exception. There are seats all around and it is a favourite place for locals and visitors alike. The long seat beside the shelter on the corner of North Quay is called the Long Lugger and this is the traditional meeting place for Padstonians. Here the old boys of the town hold court. swap yarns and generally watch the world go by.


Try to set aside some of your holiday to share our heritage. Visit our dear little museum which is not a huge tomb of a place. but a small room set aside to house some our modest historic treasures. Come to church. sit quietly awhile and reflect upon the history of Padstow. Somehow the church in a small seafaring town reflects life's chequered pattern so much more. Spare a moment of thought for the wives and mothers of yesteryear who prayed for the sate return of their absent menfolk. Of the joy that would be released at the end of a long voyage safely concluded. Of the deep numb grief of women folk who waited day after day! week after week, for a long overdue ship. You will be warmly welcomed at services here. The Methodist Chapel in the middle of the town and the modern Catholic Church hold out equally welcoming arms.

Padstow History

Padstow in North Cornwall, has a long and ancient history dating back to well before the birth of Christ, for around 2500 BC people travelling from Brittany to Ireland used the Fowey/Camel valleys on their journeys. During recent years this ancient path, known as The Saints Way, has been re-opened, making it possible for walkers to trace the footsteps of those early travelers. It is believed that this track continued to be used during Roman times, as some evidence of Roman settlement has been found in the area.

Shortly after 2000BC the Beaker folk settled around the coast of North Cornwall, and remains of their ancient burial chambers can still be seen at Harlyn Bay. One of these cyst burials is currently on display at the Plymouth Museum.

Much later, during the 1st century BC, Venitii settlers arrived from Brittany, building forts on the coastal headlands. and it is likely that Padstow was a centre of population at that time. However it was with the arrival of St. Petroc in the 6th century AD that Padstow really began to develop. He spent 30 years in Padstow, during which time he founded a monastery here. and remains of old Celtic crosses all still to be found in the area. The monastery and church were destroyed by the Danes in 981 AD and the monastery was transferred to Bodmin, when Padstow came under the control of the Priory of Bodmin. A second church was built to replace the one destroyed by the Danes, of which only the base of the tower now remains, and the present church was built between 1420 and 1450. In medaeval times, Padstow was granted the right of Sanctuary by King Athelstan, which enabled criminals to remain safe from arrest, and this continued until the time of the Reformation. At that time trading continued with Brittany and Ireland and a Guild of St. Petroc was set up by traders in Padstow. Their headquarters was thought possibly to have been in Abbey House, which can be seen over-looking the harbour on North Quay and which is now a private residence.

Prideaux PlaceDuring the Reformation the church's control of Padstow ceased when the ownership of the land was transferred to the Prideaux family Prideaux Place, built on the site of the former Barton of the Monks of Bodmin, was completed in the 16th century and has one of the oldest deer parks in the country. This house is still occupied by descendants of the Prideaux family, and is open to the public on some afternoons. Sir Walter Raleigh lived in Padstow when he was Warden of Cornwall, and his Court House on Riverside was the central office for the collection of dues and taxes. Although his Courthouse and cottage still remain, they are now private residences and are not open to the public.

Padstow's importance as a port developed from earliest times and in 1565 Sir John Hawkins took shelter here while returning from the West Indies, as did Sir Martin Frobisher while returning from his search for the North West Passage to China in 1577. At that time Padstow was well used as a fishing port, and during the 17th century, when mining in Cornwall was expanding, shipments of copper ore were made to Bristol and slates were exported, many of them from the Camel quarry. By the 19th century a number of ship-building yards had been established, and the Padstow Museum houses a collection of tools from that time. At that time the fishing industry was at its height, when pilchards were landed and cured here, and cured fish of many types, as well as wheat, barley, oats, cheese and minerals were being exported.

A considerable variety of goods was also imported from Ireland, France, Wales, Scandinavia and Russia. The first lifeboat was stationed at Padstow prior to 1827 when improvements began to be made to the port in an effort to make it safer. By 1899 the railway arrived, which helped the port and also marked the beginning of the tourist industry. Sadly this century has seen a decline in the fishing industry, which was further affected when the railway closed, but over recent years this seems to be recovering and there are also signs of a small return to commercial shipping. Padstow has retained some of its ancient traditions, the most notable being its May Day Festival to mark the coming of summer, which originated in an ancient fertility rite. At Christmas the traditional Padstow carols are sung in the streets of the town. These are unique to Padstow and date back at least to the 18th century

Where to stay locally

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Late Vacancies & Special Offers


Padstow Holiday Village  Pets Allowed Parking Available Padstow Holiday Village
Tel: 0333 200 2550. Quality in Tourism / Visit England 5 Star Self-catering Holiday Caravan Rental Camping and Touring in Padstow sleeps 6. Pets Welcome

Harlyn Cottage  Parking Available Harlyn Cottage
Tel: 01872 560538.   Self-catering Holiday Cottage Rental in Harlyn Bay, Nr Padstow with Sea Views- sleeps 5. Prices from £375 to £1010

Hesselwood - Harlyn  Pets Allowed Parking Available Hesselwood - Harlyn
Tel: 01531 636 096.   Self-catering Holiday Rental in Harlyn Bay Nr. Padstow with Sea Views- sleeps 6. Prices from £440 to £1395 Pets Welcome

Puffins Wing Selfcatering  Parking Available Puffins Wing Selfcatering
Tel: 01841 520684. Visit England/Quality in Tourism 4 Star Self-catering Holiday Rental in Trevone with Sea Views- sleeps 2. Fri Changeover,

Treyarnon Bay Farm Cottages  Parking Available Treyarnon Bay Farm Cottages
Tel: 01841 520653.   Self-catering Holiday Cottage Rental in Treyarnon Bay sleeps Over 10 people - suitable for Large Groups, Prices from £290 to £1290

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