Padstow Cornwall Guide
One of the highlights of Cornwall, if not the country, this famous fishing port teems with life and eccentricity all year round. One of the premier attractions of the county.
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The town’s history stretches back thousands of years, but it was when St. Petroc founded a monastery in the 6th Century that its story really began. It is not worth looking for the monastery sadly, as Vikings destroyed it a few hundred years later.
In time, the Prideaux family took over ownership of the land and the town developed as a fishing and trading port. Sir Walter Raleigh was Warden of Cornwall from the Court House in Padstow, his administrative centre. Both the Court House and his cottage still stand today, although not open for viewing.
During the Industrial Revolution, the town realized its full potential as a port, with the exporting of the goods from the mining and fishing industries. Shipbuilding yards were also established. The Atlantic Coast Express ran directly from Waterloo to Padstow as the Cornish terminus of the Southern Railway.
During the 20th Century the town went into decline, especially with the loss of the railway. But it has allowed a superb cycleway, with wonderful views, to be placed on the site of the old tracks, the Camel Trail. Trail Bike Hire is situated here, offering cycle hire at the beginning of the cycle trail.
Padstow in the 21st Century
Eating and drinking out is a delight as Padstow has become world renowned as a location for fine dining with world class restaurants, benefiting greatly from the fresh fish from the still working fishing industry. But few can resist some old fashioned fish and chips on the harbourside, just try walking past, or relaxing outside one of the homely pubs in the early evening without yielding to temptation.
Art galleries and unique shops lie amongst the eccentric alleyways and cottages, and the Tourist Information Centre sits on the harbour. Accommodation is plentiful and of a high standard, making it an ideal place for your holidays.
The town has no beaches, but lies close to some of the best in the country. What it lacks in sand, it makes up for in sailing, bike hire, watersports, boat trips and a marina in the harbour.
The passenger ferry between Padstow and Rock is thought to be the oldest crossing in Britain still in continuous use. In the Summer there is also a water taxi.
The inlets of the estuary also lead onto other hidden gems. Not far away, on the way up from the water can be found St. Issey, with The Pickwick Inn not far from.
Don't forget to see what's on in Padstow in our events guide. If you have an event you would like to be included, please contact us.
The Harbour Restaurant at The Metropole