Discover Padstow

Padstow TV Chef Hot Spot!

Traditionally a fishing port, Padstow is now a popular tourist destination. Although some of its former fishing fleet remains, it is mainly a yachting haven on the dramatic north Cornwall coastline.

Padstow Cornwall Rick Stein PadstowThe influence of restaurateur Rick Stein can be seen in the port, and tourists travel from long distances to eat at his restaurant and cafes. More recently TV chefs Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw have set up Michelin starred restaurants in Padstow and Rock consolidating Padstow as Cornwall’s Foodie hot spot. Click here to see our eating out guide!

Cornwall: Britain’s New Foodie Capital

There is no doubt anymore that Cornwall is a Mecca for chefs and foodies alike. Padstow must take pride of place at the heart of this, with no sign of taking a back seat in the resurgence of British food and drink. With top local restaurants being busy year-round, local suppliers are going from strength to strength, making a virtuous circle in which top chefs and suppliers can prosper. Rick Stein may have started this trend for Padstow, but young upcoming chefs like Paul Ainsworth seem more than happy to keep Padstow at the forefront of British culinary excellence.

Below is a beautiful time lapse video of Padstow by Tom Mckie

Aerial video of Padstow and surrounding beaches by 360 Beaches

A video guide to Padstow by Cornwall Tourist Board

Footpaths, Walking and Cycling

Cycle the Camel trail

The South west coast Path runs on either side of the river Camel estuary and crosses from Padstow to Rock via the Black Tor ferry. The trail offers walking access to the coast with Stepper point and Trevose Head within an easy day’s walk of Padstow.

The Saints’ way footpath runs from Padstow to Fowey on Cornwall’s south coast.

The Camel trail cycle-way follows the course of the old railway track from Padstow to Bodmin Moor. It is open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders and appropriate for disabled access. The 17.3 miles long route leads to Wadebridge and on to Wenford Bridge and Bodmin.

Coasteering in Cornwall

Get a different perspective on the world and see the beautiful North Cornwall coastline up close. With a guided tour you will have a fantastic time and get some great memories as well as a good dose of excitement in safety. See the video below for a taste of the excitement!

Sea Kayaking in Cornwall

Enjoy the amazing scenery or try your luck at kayak fishing it’s a great day out on a summer’s day. Padstow area has an abundance of wildlife to enjoy and the peace and quiet at sea that all fishermen love. Give sea kayaking a try it could change your life forever!

Padstow May Day

The 'Old Oss' party attending the Oss with dozens of accordions and drums.

May day celebrations PadstowEvents in Padstow May day

Padstow is well known for its “‘Obby ‘Oss” or May day festival. Although it is unclear, the origin of the festival is most likely to come from an ancient fertility rite, maybe the Celtic festival of Beltane. The start of the festival is at midnight on May day eve when local townspeople get together outside the Golden Lion Inn to sing the “Night Song”. The town is then dressed with greenery and flowers are placed around the maypole. The days excitement begins with the appearance of one of the ‘Obby ‘Osses. Male dancers then dance through the town dressed as one of two ‘Obby ‘Osses, the “Old” and the “Blue Ribbon” ‘Obby ‘Osses. Prodded on by “Teasers”, each wearing a mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to tempt or catch young maidens as they make their way around the town.

Finally, late in the evening, the two Osses meet at the maypole, before returning to their respective stables where the crowd sings of the ‘Obby ‘Oss death, until its resurrection the following May Eve.

Padstow May Day 1932

Padstow May Day 2012

Padstow on Boxing Day

Darkie Days are part of the midwinter Pagan festivals that were, until quite recently, celebrated all over Cornwall between Christmas day and Twelfth night. The festivals centre on the practice of guise dancing which usually involves the performing of a traditional play whilst wearing a disguise, usually a blackened face, which allowed the players to lose their inhibitions and perform in return for food and money. The practice of blacking the face is in contrast to the summer festivals, such as the Obby Oss, during which white would be worn to herald the spring.

Padstow’s History

Prideaux PlacePadstow was originally named Petroc-stow or “Petrock’s Place”, because of the Welsh missionary Saint Petroc, who visited Trebetherick in around AD 500. In the medieval times Padstow was known commonly as Aldestowe.

Jubilee monument Padstow

The monument featured in many pictures of Padstow and the Camel estuary was erected in 1889 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee in 1887.

Padstow Jubilee monument photo.

Padstow’s Churches

St Petroc church Padstow.The church of St Petroc is one among a group of three said to have been founded by Saint Petroc, the others being Little Petherick and Bodmin. It is quite large and mostly of thirteenth and fourteenth century date. The font is made of Catacleuse stone which is fifteenth century. The pulpit of around 1530 is additionally of interest. There are two fine monuments to members of the Prideaux family (Sir St. Nicholas, 1627 and Edmund, 1693)

Padstow Maritime Traffic

Boats in Padstow harbour.

During the nineteenth century, ships carrying timber from Canada would sail into Padstow and provide low cost travel to passengers wishing to emigrate. Shipbuilders in the area would additionally have the benefit of their cargoes. Some of the ships that visited Padstow were the Barques Clio, Belle and Voluna; and also the Brig Dalusia.

The entrance into the River Camel from the sea is partially blocked by a bank of sand extending across the estuary known as the Doom bar, which as the name suggests, is a significant hazard to shipping and has been the cause of many shipwrecks.

Old wooden ship in Padstow Harbour holiday pictures.For ships coming into the estuary, the immediate loss of wind because of the cliffs was a particular hazard, sometimes leading to ships being swept onto the Doom Bar. A manual winch was installed on the west bank of the river (its remains can still be seen) and rockets were fired to carry a line to ships so they might be winched to safety.

Ferries have navigated the sand banks carrying goods and passengers across the Camel estuary for hundreds of years and the current service, the Black Tor Ferry, carries pedestrians between Padstow and Rock daily throughout the year.