We’ve spent the last few years writing about Padstow, recommending the best places to eat, drink and experience. There is far more to do here than you could hope to fit into one visit, so to narrow down your search here is our pick of the crop.
Cornwall is one of the UK’s top food destinations thanks to incredible produce from land and sea. It’s attracted an abundance of high-profile chefs and many of them have made their home here, making it the perfect place for a celebratory meal.
The Seafood Restaurant
Rick Stein’s dining empire stretches across four establishments but this is the original. At The Seafood Restaurant, you can watch chefs prepare your oysters, crab and langoustine. Alternatively, sit on the terrace to feast on views across the Camel Estuary.
The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth
Based in an eco-hotel twenty minutes outside Padstow, the Scarlet has incredible views over the dramatic bay. The menu changes regularly to match the seasons and it’s also a great spot for afternoon tea.
Paul Ainsworth at No 6
The Michelin starred chef has a clutch of terrific establishments in Padstow. His flagship, Paul Ainsworth at No 6, is an undeniably classy restaurant, housed in a stunning Georgian townhouse. Modern British, European and seafood are the focus.
If you’re just looking for a quick bite to eat or an afternoon tea, there are plenty of options that give you a real taste of Padstow.
Rest A While
On the coastal path north of Padstow, the Rest A While tea rooms are tucked away in a back garden with views across the mouth of the Camel Estuary.
The Golden Lion
A traditional pub on Padstow Harbour, the Golden Lion is Padstow must. It’s also the starting point for some of Padstow’s famous May celebrations, the annual Obby Oss. Its a great pub for award-winning beers and fresh pub food and famous for its Sunday lunch.
A little further round the habour Greens has amazing views of the harbour and a great spot for lunch or dinner and even a little crazy golf.
Best nearby beaches
Two miles west of Padstow, this sandy inlet has fantastic rock pools. Follow the coast path a little further to experience an 80-foot deep sinkhole formed from a collapsed cave.
One of the closest beaches to Padstow, on the Camel estuary, the beach is sheltered from the wind. Come at low tide and walk to the historic Gun Point fortifications.
Fans of Poldark might recognise Porthcothan as the setting for Nampara, home of Ross Poldark. This sheltered, rugged cove is perfect for swimmers, particularly at high tide.
Best beaches for surfers
Cornwall is famous for its surfing beaches and many can be found in North Cornwall.
North facing, you’re sheltered from the biggest swells and the gustiest winds here, making it a great option for novice surfers and paddle boarders.
Fistral Beach, Newquay
The beach is large and produces consistent waves attracting the world’s best surfers to competitions staged here, including the popular Boardmaster’s festival.
Chapel Porth beach, St. Agnes
The swell here has been described as ‘epic’ and produces some of the best waves in the UK. There’s also a good beach café overlooking the cove.
Padstow has long been a major centre for shipbuilding, fishing and tourism and you don’t need to look far to find fascinating evidence of the town’s rich history.
Small but perfectly formed, the Padstow Museum is home to an intriguing selection of objects reflecting our history, including an Obby Oss and Padstow’s very own currency!
Visit over the May bank holiday for one of the oldest and most renowned street festivals in the UK. Meet the legendary Obby Oss and join in with folk singing and dancing.
The Shipwreck Treasure Museum
Charlestown is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful harbours. Housed in a former warehouse, the museum accesses underground tunnels once used to transport clay to the harbour.
Things to do with kids
Newquay’s Pirate’s Quest
An immersive theatrical experience which takes visitors back in time to the golden age of piracy.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
At the heart of this impressive aquarium is a 250,000 litre tank containing a coral reef display, reef sharks, loggerhead turtles and an enormous southern stingray.
The Camel Trail
If the sun is shining, take an accessible journey on a former stretch of railway. You can walk the Camel Trail or hire a bike for a flat ride by the estuary, through stunning woodlands and on to Bodmin Moor.