Wadebridge, situated in the north of Cornwall, straddles the River Camel and is just five miles upstream from the more well-known fishing village of Padstow. Wadebridge is probably best known for its Camel Trail; linking this town to Rock and Padstow, with 18 miles of flat cycle track which runs parallel to the River Camel.
Wadebridge was originally a market town but later became a foundry town. As you enter the town and cross the River Camel, you’ll go over a rather impressive fifteenth-century bridge. The town was formally known as ‘Wade’, from the time this bridge was built it became known as Wadebridge.
Just off the Atlantic Highway (A39), Wadebridge is perfectly placed to explore North Cornwall.
The easiest way is by car, as Wadebridge is just a 20-minute drive from the main A30 which cuts across the Cornish countryside. At junction 31 of the M5, take the A30 signposted to Bodmin and Okehampton. The last section of your journey takes you on the A389 into Wadebridge. and the B3314 to Rock.
If you’re driving to North Cornwall in a plug-in electric vehicle, see our list of charging locations here.
If you want to travel by rail, the nearest station is Bodmin Parkway, which is about a 25-minute drive away from Wadebridge. For a local taxi service click here.
Newquay Airport is about 20-minutes’ drive away from Wadebridge. Flights from London and other locations in the UK run during the summer months. Please check to see what flights are available at Newquay Airport.
Jubilee Road/ Co-Op car park has 170 spaces and is centrally located. It’s reasonably priced with an hour costing 60p and 4 hours costing £2.40. Parking is free after 6pm.
The biggest car park in Wadebridge is run by Cornwall Council on Piggy Lane which is just shy of 200 spaces. It’s a four minute walk from the town centre and costs 80p for an hour and £5.30 for 24 hours.
A little further out of the town centre (5-10 minute walk) Goldsworthy Way car park is also run by Cornwall Council. There’s 59 spaces, maximum stay is 3 hours which will cost you £3.20, an hour costs 80p.
You’re well placed for a foodie adventure in Wadebridge. Both nearby Padstow and Rock have become renowned for its food scene and popularity with the country’s top chefs. But if you want to keep it really local, Wadebridge has plenty to offer too.
For something exotic, why not try The Tiny Thai situated just by the Wadebridge Bridge? The modern Thai street food is fresh and full of flavour. It is a family-run business, serving really authentic Thai food, not adapted to western tastes.
Saltbox is a cool new street food venue in Wadebridge of converted shipping containers. Bringing together a unique collection of independent businesses and talent, there are 6 places to try. Craftworks specialises in burgers, burritos, tacos, for conscious gut-health eating try SpiceSea with Indian inspired dishes, Woody’s Pizza offer a delicious Neopolitan Pizzeria, Graze Tapas is a tasty rooftop tapas and ice cream bar plus there’s The Laid-back Coffee Co. and The Bar at Saltbox for refuelling.
Strong Adolfos has redefined roadside dining. Situated in Hawksfield, a fresh and exciting retail stop on the Atlantic Highway, five minutes’ drive from Wadebridge. Open from 8:30-4pm daily, head there for Kimchi mushrooms on toast, or a nutritious Buddha bowl. There’s an excellent selection of vegan-friendly food, alongside some nourishing smoothies to ensure you’re set for the day ahead.
For fine dining, perhaps The Mariners in Rock is worth a visit, relaunched in 2019 by Paul and Emma Ainsworth, it champions the very best local ingredients. Offering an all-day menu, day visitors may fancy a cream tea or a drink on the terrace overlooking the boats as they glide on the water. If you happen to be a Paul Ainsworth fan, then you’ll find two of his other restaurants in Padstow with No 6, and Caffe Rojano – both well worth a visit.
The other side of Wadebridge towards Bude, is St Kew Highway just a 5 minute drive out of Wadebridge. Be sure to add St Kew Farmshop to your hotlist. Open Monday to Saturday 9-4pm, the menu is small but perfectly formed. Pop in for breakfast or lunch, for delicious avocado on sourdough, or a hearty bagel or topped flatbread – the food looks as good as it tastes. Get your caffeine fix too, with Cornish roasted Yallah coffee and be sure to check out their selection of scrumptious cakes while you’re there.
Just down the road, in a truly tranquil location, tucked away in a valley is St Kew Inn. A traditional village pub where the drinks and food are carefully considered. Using locally sourced ingredients where possible, its menu offers the freshest of seasonal produce including Porthilly mussels and ember baked fish of the day cooked on its open fire. The Inn has four areas in which to dine including a charming garden.
No trip to Cornwall is complete without a traditional Cornish pasty. In Wadebridge you have not one but two of Malcolm Barnecutt bakeries, one on Molesworth Street, and one at The Platt. The Cornish bakery chain dates back to 1930. Their pasties are hard to beat.
Cornwall is also known for its fish and chips. You’re not far from famous Rick Stein’s fish and chips in Padstow, where you can tuck in overlooking the Camel Estuary.
If you are visiting in springtime, then pay a visit to Pentire Head, which is famed for its fields of poppies which colour the landscape in vibrant red. A perfect setting for the must have Instagram snapshot. Plus, it sits right on top of Polly Joke Beach which is a stunning cove to spend a few hours at.
For family fun, the Camel Trail links Wadebridge, Rock and Padstow, with 18 miles of flat cycle track and bike hire if you need it. It runs parallel to the River Camel.
There is also lots of fun to be had at the go kart circuit at nearby St Eval and The Camel Creek Adventure Park, which has plenty of rides to keep everyone happy. We’re sure it will tire out even the most energetic of little ones! They will sleep well, back at the cottage.
It isn’t a Cornish holiday without a day out on the beach and this area has lots to choose from within a short drive from Wadebridge.
Seven miles away, Polzeath is a gently shelving beach, which is good for those new to the sport. Waterski-ing is another option. And there’s something for everyone. Try Camel Ski School for wakesurfing, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, SUP/kayaking and inflatable rides on the river. You may also charter a boat. Sailing and powerboating are other options for thrill-seekers. Try Camel Sailing.
Wadebridge has plenty to offer art lovers. Wave 7 Gallery features up and coming and established artists and offers a wide range of contemporary exhibitions. Run by Victoria Mead she also offers art classes throughout the year.
Mog & Crusoe is always filled with Cornish-inspired fine art prints. While Pop Cafe Gallery is a bit of everything, showcasing fun art prints, selling tasty coffee, and they offer a picture framing service.
Cornish-based artist Tracey Hunter has her own gallery at The Old Cattlemarket, she’s paints wonderful Cubist-inspired contemporary land and seascapes.
As aforementioned, Wadebridge doesn’t have its own beach. Daymer Bay Beach in Padstow has the added draw of a ferry over to Rock, but there are many more including Hawker’s Cove Beach, Harlyn Bay and Butterhole Beach. Children will enjoy building sandcastles in the fine soft sand of the area and bigger kids and adults will have fun bodyboarding and surfing. Don’t worry you’re never far from a beach in Cornwall.
Wadebridge is the perfect Cornish market town for meandering the shops, as there are plenty.
Ann’s Cottage is where to head for the best surf clobber, while Country Wise is a great independent, family run shop selling outdoor and country clothing, stocking well known brands such as Barbour, Patagonia and Aigl footwear.
Just outside of Wadebridge at Hawkesfield there’s a lovely collection of stores, including Finisterre which has a stylish collection of surf-inspired sustainable clothing, Jo & Co Home with home accessories, fashion, beauty and gifts, plus Replenish Zero Waste store to reduce your plastic consumption.
The Regal cinema in Wadebridge, opened its doors for the first time in January 1931, and it’s the perfect place to head when the weather isn’t playing ball. The aforementioned Retallack Aqua Park is good whatever the weather as you can still surf the perfect wave.
The Camel Trail to Padstow isn’t just for cyclists. Much of this famous route is along a disused railway track, which has been reclaimed for leisurely strolls and bike rides. The path is well surfaced, so take on a gentle jaunt (it’s about 5.5 miles) and take in the wonderful Cornish scenery – just watch out for bikes!
The trail actually extends to Bodmin if you want a longer walk, but that’s almost an 8 mile walk.
Of course, your holiday is the best time to indulge in a little glass of something special. Wine lovers might like to take a tour of the Trevibban Mill Cornish Vineyard, an award winning winery that Cornwall is very proud of.
However, being in Cornwall, it wouldn’t be right to not mention the Haywood Cider Farm just a few miles away in St Mabyn, with 14 orchards and organised tours, there is a lot to see.
Wadebridge is now most famous for the starting point of the Camel Trail, however it was once most known for its wool production. The name Camel has nothing to do with the animal, it in fact comes from the Cornish for elbow, many moons ago it was decided the geographic shape of the river from Wadebridge to the Atlantic closely resembles the shape of an elbow!
As you’re further inland you don’t get that breeze off the coast. The best time of year to visit Wadebridge for warm weather is from late June to early September, as with much of Cornwall.
There are two public toilets centrally located in Wadebridge, at The Platt and Egloshayle Road. They are accessible Monday to Saturday from 9am until 5pm, but they are closed on a Sunday.
Wadebridge, situated in the north of Cornwall, straddles the River Camel and is just five miles upstream from more well known fishing village of Padstow.