Padstow in Cornwall was traditionally a fishing village on the Camel estuary, now only 25 fishermen operate out of the harbour with the town now given over to tourism and the Rick Stein dynasty. With opinions divided about the changes to the town over 300 people now earn their living from his business operations.
Padstow is not all about Rick it has a number of shops and outlets catering to tourism, art and food, while it now has a selection of high-quality restaurants to chose from it caters for all tastes and incomes. While many people are happy to browse the shops, take in the harbour views and sample the variety of pasties on offer, Padstow has a lot more to offer.
There are a number of traditional pubs where you can sit outside, watch the crowds and enjoy a pint or glass of wine in the sun or take the kids crabbing on the harbour wall.
As in most seaside towns, Seagulls can be a nuisance so be warned, keep your ice creams close and your pasty closer. Boat trips are extremely popular, with scenic 2-hour trips along the coast, take the ferry over to Rock, go sea fishing, take a bike ride on the traffic-free camel trail or book and adrenalin-fueled rush in one of the speedboats, there is so much choice.
If you are not keen on Crowds you only have to take a walk past the shipwright’s inn up the hill to the monument to discover the true delights of Padstow and the Camel estuary.
Here it is much quieter, take a picnic and simply sit and enjoy the views across the estuary to Daymer Bay, watching the speed boats and water sports taking place. Walk along the estuary barefoot in some of the softest golden sand to be found anywhere, on a sunny day the scene is truly breathtaking.
One of the funny things about Padstow is that it seems to have its own micro climate, even on cloudy dismal days the sun often seems to make an appearance in the afternoon.
Rick Stein may receive some criticism for the size of his operations, But if you take a walk along riverside past his main fish restaurant (lunch menu £40 per head) towards the National Lobster Hatchery (well worth a visit) and you will find Ricks fish and chip shop, deli, seafood bar, and fishmonger. For anyone who loves fish this is the perfect place to see and purchase a huge variety of locally caught fish, like hake, monkfish, John Dory, bass, crabs, and shellfish Comparing the prices to Birmingham huge fish market the prices were comparable for example we purchased very large crab (undressed) for £10 at the time of our visit (July 2016).
The National Lobster Hatchery is a pioneering marine conservation, research and education charity. Our primary aim is to help conserve the vulnerable lobster populations and preserve coastal marine biodiversity.
If you simply want to taste some of the best fish and chips in the country beer battered, and cooked in traditional beef dripping then this is the place. As well a providing a wide selection of fish (not just cod and haddock) and you can choose to have your fish battered, fried, or grilled with the option to eat in or take away. Served with a lemon wedge, chips and parsley at around £9 it is how fish and chips should taste.
If you are visiting for the day I would recommend using the park and ride, located just outside of Padstow, or for the fit and healthy you can park in the large car park at the top of the hill and walk down into Padstow, Be warned it is steep climb back and good exercise for the calf muscles but a good way to walk off some the calories that you may have consumed in Padstow