Ahhh lovely Padstow…. that quaint harbour town in Cornwall where you can sit slurping an ice cream as you listen to the boat masts chinking in the Cornish sunshine. Where, ever since a certain celebrity chef waved his magic wand over everything, simple pleasures such as eating fish n’ chips out of a paper bag are now a classy affair, and even the seagulls have a penchant for caviar scraps. Padstow has certainly found its way onto the discerning holiday maker’s map, but how would a local suggest you spend the perfect day in Padstow? Here we discover the best way to spend a day in Padstow, courtesy of those who know Padstow best – us local folk!
Breakfast in Padstow
Now, this perfect Padstow day is going to be busy, so we need to start the day off properly. No cutting corners. If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Padstow then look no further than The Basement. This rather curious-looking glass box set just back from the harbour is actually an ingenious way of eating ‘al fresco’ without having to feel the sharp blasts coming in from the Atlantic. The Basement prides itself on making absolutely everything on the premises, even the breakfast marmalade. We love the smoked haddock kedgeree with a perfect just-drippy-enough poached egg for the most delicious way to start your day. Couple with an expertly-barista’d flat white and you’re good to go (if you can drag yourself away from the woodburner and cosy blankets…)
Or you can visit Cherry Trees Coffee open from 9am and 8:30 during school holidays. Their menu comprises of anything from a full Cornish breakfast through to a range of fruit pancakes. Or you could even sample Dad’s mince on toast – chilli con carne served on delicious thick bread. It may sound unappetising first thing in the morning but it tastes divine!
If you’re looking for a great breakfast in Padstow, the choice is endless!
Padstow Boat Trip
A visit to Padstow isn’t complete without a boat trip. Really, it’s not. You’ll never experience such awe-inspiring views of the dramatic coastline as you will from atop the water. And that’s without even mentioning the wildlife you’ll see! Grey seals, dolphins, porpoises, sun fish and basking sharks can all be spotted when enjoying a Padstow boat trip. Sea Life Safaris invite you to spend two hours (metaphorically) stepping into the waders of the fisherfolk who made Padstow’s fishing harbour so successful by chartering a boat trip. You’re in safe hands; Ian Kitto is a crew member of the RNLI Padstow lifeboat crew and has been skippering boats for well over a decade. More than just a boat trip, Sea Life Safaris promise a true experience you’ll be inspired to write home about…
Best Food in Padstow
After all that seafaring action you’ll have worked up quite an appetite. Whilst the throngs head to popular lunchtime haunts such as Rick Stein’s Bistro or Cherry Trees Coffee House on the harbour front, those-in-the-know will instead head slightly out of the harbour back towards the old railway. There, like a shimmering oasis rising out of the railway car park, is a quirky vintage beach hut-style crepe van hosted by the delectable Kelly. Serving the finest sweet and savoury crepes that we’ve ever tried (and we’ve tried lots), The Cornish Crepe Company also serve up ice creams to die for (slathered with clotted cream if that’s your thang), Italian coffee and tastebud-tingling smoothies.
The Lobster Hatchery in Padstow
Whilst marvelling over just how delicious your crepe was, stroll across the car park to the National Lobster Hatchery at the other side of the car park. This pioneering marine conservation research centre is often overlooked by tourists who walk past it to ride their bikes along the famous Camel Trail bike route which goes all the way to Wadebridge and Bodmin. The Lobster Hatchery works hard to preserve the rich coastal heritage and livelihoods of the small communities in Cornwall via their lobster stock enhancement programme. £3.75 entrance fee is a snip when you consider all the good your money will do to help this deserving charity.
Shopping in Padstow
Marine fashion fans will be happy to learn that Padstow boasts the usual luxury harbourside favourites such as Fat Face, Seasalt, White Stuff and Crew, but for a really special shopping experience in Padstow you will want to pop in to Dukeswood on Duke Street. This delightfully olde worlde toy shop in Padstow is crammed full of classic toys such as Steiff teddy bears, puppets, musical instruments and wooden toys and will provoke wide-eyed joy in children of all ages. Whilst riding the nostalgia train, why not nip around the corner to the Christmas shop in Padstow, Tidings, that is open all year around. You might be lucky enough to get caught in a flurry of snow!
A Padstow Restaurant for Dinner
Where does one begin? The choices for an excellent dinner in Padstow are practically endless, but Number 6 is a good start. Boasting a Michelin star for the stellar contemporary British fare, Paul Ainsworth’s Number 6 restaurant in Padstow is one of the very best restaurants in the UK, let alone Padstow. Instagram food fans get ready because the fairground-themed dessert is a showman’s delight. Tucked away underneath an alleyway off Duke Street is a slightly different kind of restaurant for Padstow which is conspicuously titled Burgers and Fish. Yes they serve the usual fresh fish for which many of Padstow’s restaurants are famed, but all of the main courses are cooked over a charcoal grill which gives everything a subtly smoky flavour which wouldn’t be out of place in the good old U S of A. Indeed, the leather-boothed seating and speakeasy decor completes the American dream (and the burgers are out of this world).
Best Padstow Pub for a Pint (And you won’t be able to say that after too many!)
Padstow has a charming mix of welcoming traditional old boozers such as The Golden Lion and The London Inn where the beers are cold and the ales are well-kept. These old Padstow pubs are frequented by salty old seadogs who will tell you a tale or two if you give them a chance, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a local band playing or hear a traditional Cornish ‘shout’. Then there are the gastro pubs such as The Old Custom House, The Old Ship Hotel and The Shipwrights who pride themselves on creating interesting menus and serving top quality pub grub. We can’t think of anywhere else where Michelin-starred restaurants rub shoulders so comfortably with traditional pubs like they do in Padstow; something which makes this harbour town a truly unique place to visit.
Places to Stay in Padstow
Blimey that has been one fun-filled day in Padstow! We bet that you’ll be longing to rest your sleepy head and listen to the lapping of the tide as you sail away to dreamland… Unfortunately you can’t park your campervan in the harbour itself, so the closest place to stay to the water is probably Rick Stein’s B&B accommodation above the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow harbour. With 16 rooms to choose from (and a delicious breakfast cooked to perfection), the Seafood Restaurant accommodation even has dog-sitting services so that your four-legged friend can enjoy their holiday in Padstow too. For a Padstow B&B run by truly welcoming locals, you won’t go far wrong by booking a stay at Symply Padstow B&B; an Edwardian-style B&B on the edge of town with breath-taking estuary views. There’s something quite charming about the nostalgic feel of this 5-star accommodation, and the four poster beds will gently lull you to sleep as you dream about meeting the seals tomorrow…
If that hasn’t convinced you to visit Padstow then we’re not sure what will. Anything we missed? Let us know! We’d love to hear about all the things our beautiful little down has to offer!