Padstow is one of Cornwall’s best known holiday destinations, and after spending five minutes here you’ll soon see why. Padstow attractions aren’t hard to come by either, with many in the town itself or just a short drive away.
Here, we round up ways to spend your days with our top ten Padstow attractions to visit.
Padstow Harbour is what Padstow is best known for… well, Rick Stein’s fish and chips are a close second. The small commercial port is 1.5 miles from the sea, positioned in the estuary of the River Camel. Meandering Padstow Harbour you’ll soon see that Padstow has a thriving fleet of fishing vessels, with regular landings of fish, lobsters and crab alongside a growing shellfish farming industry producing mussels, cockles, oysters and scallops. And if you’re a fish lover, head to one of the restaurants along the harbour to enjoy catch of the day.
View across Hawkers Cove, North Cornwall with Stepper Point in the backgrounded golden sands. shutterstock©Triple H Images
Padstow itself is more known for its harbour than beaches, as it was well situated for shelter along the wild north coast. However, beach lovers need not fear, however, for sandy spots are not very far away at all.
St George’s Cove is Padstow’s nearest beach, just over half a mile from the harbour with views to Rock and Daymer Bay. On a full low tide, you can walk to Hawkers Cove and Harbour Cove. Trevone Bay is popular with both families and surfers.
©Shutterstock/ Paul Nash
Stepper Point is a headland just outside of Padstow, which rises to just 242 feet making it an accessible walk for most. Follow the footpath which is clearly marked, not forgetting to take a moment to appreciate far-reaching views out to Doom Bar, a sandbar at the mouth of the estuary of the River Camel.
Most notably, the 40ft stone tower that sits on the headland above Stepper Point, known as the Daymark is a reminder of times gone by. The stone tower was built in 1830 to serve as a navigation beacon for seafarers during daylight, in fact it’s still visible from over 30 miles offshore.
An obvious attraction in Padstow, is the Camel Trail, a ‘car-free’ route which extends for 17 miles from Bodmin to Padstow passing through stunning scenery, and the areas of Wadebridge, Bodmin and Blisland. The most popular route is Padstow to Wadebridge section is just over 5 miles long, with glorious views across the Camel Estuary and more. The easy level terrain makes it a safe route to enjoy some off-road terrain.
One of Padstow’s attractions has to be the award-winning visitor centre the Lobster Hatchery, a charity which was set up to support the Cornish fishery and local lobster population.
Lobsters are nurtured from egg through their most vulnerable stage of their life cycle and released back into the wild. The visitor centre is here to teach visitors all about it. Open seven days a week from 10am-4pm, a family ticket costs £19.95 and is valid for 12 months.
A historic attraction in Padstow is Prideaux Place and deer park, built in 1592, a fine Elizabethan House overlooking Padstow. The Prideaux family dates back to the 11th century, and are said to descend from William the Conqueror, King Edward I and Queen Eleanor of Castile.
This historic Tudor mansion offers visitors a real experience, from ghost stories to showcasing an ever growing collection of Teddy Bears. Visitors will also get to see England’s oldest cast iron canon and the wonderful gardens here. Tours of the house are guided and do not need to be booked in advance.
The volunteer run Padstow Museum is small but beautifully packed with local artefacts about the history of the area. Located close to the harbour, the museum is open four days a week (Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday 10:30am – 1pm), and is a great way to spend a few hours, particularly on a rainy morning.
Situated 5 miles outside of Padstow is Camel Creek Adventure Park. An all-weathers’ attraction and open all year round, there’s water rides, Creeky’s indoor playhouse, a show arena, rides for bigger kids, and Creature Creek where you can meet plenty of new four-legged friends. With almost 30 rides and attractions, this makes a perfect family day out when a beach day is off the cards.
Trevose Head, Cornwall ©National Trust Images Hugh Mothersole
National Trust owned Trevose Head is situated around 5 miles (by car) outside of Padstow. While there’s a car park at Trevose Head, you can walk there from Padstow as it’s quite easy, however the route is longer and will take around 5 hours.
At Trevose Head visitors will notice the contrasting coastline, jutting out into the ocean there are far-reaching views and the opportunity to spot local wildlife. It lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Look out for seabirds and seals, which are known to frequent the area. You’ll also spot the lighthouse, which is a key landmark perches on the tip of the headland and built in 1847.
Padstow RNLI lifeboat station, completed in 2006, is also situated at Trevose Head, and holds practice launches every Wednesday. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for Tom Parson’s hut , a tiny dwelling, built around 1841 and closely associated with supposed smuggler Thomas Parsons.
Looking for something different to do in Padstow? For the perfect rainy day out for competitive families, prepare to get soaked at Retallack Aqua Park just 7 miles outside of Padstow. Choose to surf the perfect wave whatever the weather on Cornwall’s only FlowRider. With safe and easy to ride waves, it’s the perfect set to learn to surf in safe surroundings without braving the sea on a rainy day. Or how about the challenging inflatable Aqua Park? Featuring separate inflated islands, giant trampoline, ‘stepping stone’ climbing obstacles, tough balance beams and lots more. The race is on with a ‘total wipeout’ style set up.
Dreaming of booking a holiday in picturesque Padstow? We have brought together our favourite luxury holiday cottages in Padstow, to inspire your Cornish escape.