Originally named Petroc-stow, Petroc-stowe, or ‘Petrock’s Place‘, after the Welsh missionary Saint Petroc, who landed at Trebetherick around AD500, Padstow (dubbed as Padstein on account of the number of establishments owned by the Stein family) is a quaint fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall at the head of the Camel estuary.  In the 16th and 17th centuries Padstow expanded due to the growth of the mining and quarrying industries in the area. Copper ore was shipped to Bristol and slates exported, many from the  Delabole slate quarry a few miles inland. During the 19th century the port flourished with the pilchard industry and shipbuilding.

Padstow to Rock Ferry

Popular due to the closeness of several wide sandy beaches, the foodie connections and the Camel Trail – a walking and cycle trail along the River Camel to Wadebridge – it does become very crowded in the summer. And spring. And autumn it seems. And we won’t mention the three-day Christmas Fair.

Independent shops, such as craft and gift shops, artists’ studios, bookshops, grocers, newsagents, leather workshops, a home-made fudge shop and bakery cluster around the inner harbour

and with seats around the harbour you could spend several hours simply watching the harbour scene and watch the world pass slowly by.

A ferry takes you across to Rock on the opposite bank and where you can walk along the south coast path to Daymer Beach and Polzeath. Or if you like speed, take a 15 minute ride on a speed boat out to sea.


A sandbank called Doom Bar (also the name of a Cornish ale), blocks the entry to the estuary from the sea and has been the cause of many shipwrecks.

The story goes that there was once a merry mermaid who watched over the vessels that went in and out of Padstow. One day, she was shot by a sailor on a visiting boat. The mermaid’s curse was that the harbour would become desolate from that time on. Shortly after a great storm came, wrecking many of the ships in harbour and throwing up the sandbank.

Everything slows down around Padstow; the traffic because of the sheer volume and the people due to the tide times and the farming seasons. It doesn’t do you any good to hurry in Cornwall.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, The fish and chips from Rick Stein’s takeaway are absolutely delicious. I recommend the Hake.


39 Comments Add yours

  1. BeckyB says:

    Padstow is one of those places I have never been too, or at least I don’t think I have. Perhaps I should check with my Mum as to whether we went when I was little, would have been very different then!

    PS I love hake too πŸ™‚ so will be joining you for those fish and chips one of these days

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’m not sure it has changed much. I have a photo from a friend of mine taken way back in the 1970s and the spot where it was taken is exactly the same. Busy even then, but I guess Rick Stein has brought more ‘moneyed’ tourists in.

      1. BeckyB says:

        Ooh sounds like you have a #pastmeetspresent in the making! πŸ˜‰

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    It looks like a place in Cornwall one might want to visit. At least your colour report gives the guarantee for a visual adventure.Thank you!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Very much relies on tourism these days Peter. And the surrounding area is very pretty.

  3. pommepal says:

    I could sit and happily watch the passing parade in this delightful harbour village.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Lots to look at PP, it is a very bustling harbour.

    2. Su Leslie says:

      I’m thinking the same thing. Lovely pics and post Jude.

  4. Sue says:

    Haven’t been to Padstow since childhood, and seems winter is the only time to go to avoid the crowds!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well this was late September and still busy, but nothing like it must be in the summer. It’s a pretty place and close to some amazing beaches.

      1. Sue says:

        Yes, I would love to see it again…

  5. beetleypete says:

    Like, Sue, it is a very long time since I have been to Padstow. I think Rick Stein has put the place on the map for a whole new TV generation. Even if his fish and chips is that good, he may be responsible for filling the place with one tourist too many. 😦
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is a very busy place. We were lucky to get parking down in the harbour on this day in late September! There is a park’n ride facility though just outside the town. I wouldn’t attempt to visit during the school holidays though πŸ™‚

  6. restlessjo says:

    Nice photos, Jude. Never been to Padstow and it looks like I might have missed the boat. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      There are one or two beaches I’d like to explore around there so I may try and book something and stay over for a few days.

  7. It sounds like the best idea would be to stay a few days. That’s our usual strategy and it works well because the tourists tend to come in mid-morning and be gone again mid-afternoon. We do our wandering before and after that. Even with all the people, Padstow does look lovely.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I did have that in mind for my birthday, but never got around to booking anything.

      1. There’s always next birthday!

        1. Heyjude says:

          I’m hoping to escape to Europe for that one πŸ™‚

        2. How exciting. It’s only a hop, skip and a jump for you!

  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Despite the tourist hoards I’m quite fond of Padstow. I used to be a bit sniffy about Rick but he does employ a lot of people

    1. Heyjude says:

      He does indeed and actually I have enjoyed his On the Road series (not watched the Mexico one yet). He comes across as much nicer than I’d imagined.

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    “It doesn’t do you any good to hurry in Cornwall” … note to self: do not go to Cornwall with Gilles. It will make him crazy, because he thinks EVERYTHING is a race.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Haha… that is so funny! I’d hate to see him driving on these roads πŸ˜€

  10. The header is a stunner. I want to know why the Camel Estuary? Your photos are so beautifully sharp and clear, and I love the collage of details. Your Cornwall is suggesting the source for place names here.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The Camel Estuary is a geological ria, a deep valley that has been drowned by post-glacial rising sea levels. The name comes from the Cornish: Dowr Kammel, meaning crooked river a reference to its winding course. And no, I did not know that, I had to look it up! I do know that Heyle = estuary (Hayle in English, which is the area I live in.

  11. Dina says:

    The four number roads in Cornwall surely slows us down, wow what a nightmare. πŸ˜‰ We went back from St Ives in the dark yesterday …
    Padstow looks very nice! Too far away from us in Penzance at the moment though. Have read some enthusiastic reports about Rick Stein.
    See you tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      Rick Stein in Porthleven too, an easy run from Penzance on the A394. Also a seal sanctuary at Gweek just a few miles further on the Lizard. Looks like it is going to be a sunshine and showers day – again!

      1. Dina says:

        It’s perfect at the moment 🌀thanks a lot, we have changed our minds about Newlyn – off to Porthleven! πŸ˜€πŸ™‹

        1. Heyjude says:

          Well you can always walk into Newlyn in the morning.

        2. Dina says:

          We’ll do! πŸ˜€

  12. Have only been to Cornwall once before – must remedy that at some point though I think I would go out of season to avoid the traffic and crowds! Delightful set of photos! πŸ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      It’s becoming that there is no ‘out of season’. But, yes, definitely avoid school holidays!

      1. I can well imagine! On my only trip to Cornwall we had driven down from my in laws in Somerset with our girls for the day. I remember trying to get out from the bottom of the hill at Port Isaac as dusk was falling. It was so tricky to turn the car round in a tight space and that was well out of season (a cold damp January evening)!

        1. Heyjude says:

          I imagine Port Isaac is tricky any time of the year as the road in is very narrow, like many of these former fishing villages. They were not designed for cars.

        2. So we found out! I was relieved we managed to get out I had to do something like a 7 point turn at one point in the dark!

        3. Heyjude says:

          Oh, no. Driving in the dark is one of the things I dislike the most living here.

        4. Yes I can well understand – on that occasion we drove back to my in laws in Somerset via Bodmin Moor. It was January so dark by about 4pm (something of course we had forgotten about!) very spooky as it was foggy!

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