How to spend a day in Padstow

Padstow is a picturesque harbour town about 10 miles from Newquay, and makes for a gorgeous day trip on a summer’s day.

At the head of the Camel River, Padstow also marks the start and end of the Camel Trail, which you can cycle along. We’ve previously hired bikes from Wadebridge and cycled to Padstow, and it really is a lovely, flat trail. But, if you are heading into the fishing port by car, park on the Link Road car park and walk into town to avoid struggling for a space.

The charming seaside spot was put on the map by celebrity chef Rick Stein, who owns four restaurants, a coffee shop, deli, fishmongers and gift shop there. The town’s rugged coastline also has links to the hit TV series Poldark, with some cliff scenes filmed in the area.

If you fancy a trip to Padstow, here’s how I recommend spending the day.

After the walk down from the car park, you’ll probably have worked up an appetite, and my favourite brunch spot has to be Pucellis. This cosy restaurant has been a family-run business in Padstow – known as the foodie capital of Cornwall – since 1983, serving up authentic Italian dishes made with local produce. You won’t find a better table in the town, elevated on the first floor with panoramic windows overlooking the harbour.

Whilst I was pretty tempted by the French toast, Jake and I shared their prosciutto calzone for £9.75, with a cup of tea and glass of fresh orange juice. The calzone featured quality prosciutto with garlic butter, tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone cheese, and it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had out – I could have eaten another because the flavours were just beautiful.

Following food, we headed over to the harbour where mum and dad were crabbing – a very popular pastime along the walls watching the boats bob up and down. There are a handful of shops where you can pick up a net, bucket and bait, and when we’ve finished we usually wait until we see a family heading down to the harbour and offer them our equipment so we don’t have to bin it or carry it around all day.

The best ice cream shop in Padstow has to be Roskilly’s – but make sure you go before the lunch time rush to avoid queuing. I ordered a chocolate waffle cone with vanilla and salted caramel ice cream, real Cornish clotted cream and a fudge stick for about a fiver. The harbourside outlet is tiny with a one-in-one-out operation, but for velvety ice cream made on a farm on the Lizard Peninsula, South Cornwall, you can’t get much better. It was the best ice cream I ate all week.

From here we ventured around the shops, from big name brands like Joules and Trespass, to boutiques and bottleshops. One of my favourite places to visit is the Padstow Bookseller – an independent bookshop with rows and rows of fiction, non-fiction and classics. I ended up buying the sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, subtitled Tales From The Cafe.

For gifts, or treating yourself to a bottle for the holiday, Cornish Spirit sell a variety of spirits, including vodka, rum, gin and the infamous Cornish Moonshine. A little down the road, Tarquin’s Gin School and Shop where you can do a distilling masterclass for £85 per person, or simply sample some of their spirits and pick up whichever one takes your fancy.

Also around these stores, you’ve got Buttermilk, and artisan confectionary shop selling fresh fudge by weight, as well as biscuits, gin infused marmalade, and a brilliant range of plant based chocolates suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Their packaging is also 100% recyclable or reusable, with sustainability at the heart of their ethos.

And whilst the store wasn’t open during our most recent trip, Tidings will get you all excited for the festive season, stocking all things Christmas! Tidings Christmas shop opened in the quaint back streets of Padstow in April 2006 by Debbie Morris-Kirby, and it’s a real hidden gem. Their products are unlike anything you can buy in a supermarket, handpicked and beautiful – including Disney ornaments! Their window display is simply stunning.

Typically, after hitting the shops, we’d grab some food at one of the towns chippies or pasty shops before heading over to the other side of the harbour. Check out Slickers Doghouse on the North Quay to pick up a peanut butter dog ice cream for your pooch, as well as any toys, treats and accessories you might want to treat them too. Lisa Hope’s lovely little shop is packed full of eco-friendly and sustainable products, including brands we love, like Beco and Goodchaps. We ended up buying two Beco hemp rope toys, as well as a Goodchaps goody box, and doggy ice cream, of course.

Last on the list of shops to hit up is Pink Lemons Boutique. Opened in 2018, the colourful small business is run by husband and wife team Leah and Paul, inspired by the Cornish lifestyle and their love of India. Think sustainable, fashionable brands with stunning patterns, vibrant colours and oversized collars. I fell in love with so many pieces, and have since followed them on Instagram to see when new items come in.

From here, you can walk along the coastal path to Padstow’s closest beach, St George’s Cove – which is about 20 minutes away. We made tracks along the path but decided to climb the hill to the left and set up a picnic blanket to overlook the beach from the grass bank. Further up the coastal path, you can visit the World War One memorial at St Saviour’s Point, which has the Camel estuary as a beautiful backdrop.

After a day of adventuring and exploring, we headed back to the car, but not before popping into PW1 cafe and bar. The smell of their cinnamon rolls and Scandinavian jam doughnuts as we walked past was too good to pass up, so I got a doughnut to take away and eat back home. If you’re staying into the evening, though, this little bolthole also serves up espresso martinis, sex on the beaches and more of your favourite cocktails.

Where’s your favourite place to visit in Padstow?

Read more: Where to eat in Newquay – 19 must-visit restaurants, cafes and bars


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Staffordshire, UK

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