Rough Tor Rugged moorland terrain, with pre historic settlements

Today, Padstow’s harbour is also filled with pleasure boats of all descriptions. There is a regular ferry across the river to Rock (a.k.a. Little Chelsea!) , a village which has lately been all but taken over by the young and posh from London. When asked what the best thing about Rock is a true Padstow local will oft reply, "The view!". Other vessels offer cruises around the bay.

Padstow’s harbour is undoubtedly the strongest attraction in the town and visitors find themselves drawn to it like a magnet. Fishing and pleasure craft rock side-by-side on their moorings, children fish for crabs from the harbour wall, quayside inns and cafes overlook the calm water.

However, the boom in the popularity of the port has caused house price inflation both in the port and surrounding areas, as people buy homes to live in, or as second or holiday homes.[citation needed] This has meant significant numbers[citation needed] of locals cannot afford to buy property in the area, with prices often well over 10 times the average salary of around £15,000. This has led to a population decline.[citation needed]

Padstow is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) when it was held by Bodmin Monastery. There was land for 4 ploughs, 5 villeins who had 2 ploughs, 6 smallholders and 24 acres of pasture. It was valued at 10/- (10 shillings or 50p).[8]

a Small cove with some sand. Parking at Bessys Cove car park - no facilities or toilets',50.102297,-5.415412, 207], ['Perranuthnoe',50.112171,-5.44203, 208], ['Sennen Cove',50.07879,-5.699372, 9], ['Gwenver Beach',50.089075,-5.689673, 210], ['Lands End',50.066396,-5.714264, 211], ['Lamorna Cove',50.063048,-5.564428, 212], ['Porthcurno',50.04303,-5.650498, 213], ['MouseholePicturesque village with traditional Cornish Harbour

Looking at a map it is not hard to see why Padstow is where it is; The River Camel is the only sheltered estuary between Hayle in West Cornwall and Devon . Positioned in a small valley on the more sheltered westerly side of the river, Padstow became a thriving fishing port and later trading port.

Vaults Beach a large remote shingle beach with some sand at low tide - National Trust parking close by

St Catherines Castle Fowey - remains of Henry VIII castle in Readymoney Cove

St. Mawes, is a pretty harbourside village that looks out over the River Fal towards the busy maritime town of Falmouth. The dramatic Cornish coastline around St. Mawes was used as the setting for the popular television series Poldark and Hornblower

Siblyback Lake Outdoor Activity Centre and cycle path.

Portloe is the living reality of a Cornish fishing village. The boats unload lobster, crab and other fish. Pretty cottages cluster around the harbour and stretch up the valley on both sides....

Bessys Cove Beach is a small south facing rocky cove with some sandy patches. The beach access is difficult via a steep path and no facilities

Padstow is a charming working fishing port surrounded by glorious sandy beaches, at the head of the Camel River. Watching the everyday ebb and flow of harbour life is a perfect way to spend a day. This foodie destination with popular eateries such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, is the start and end point for the Camel Cycle Trail and a good base for water sports. 

Polruan - Fishing village on the River Fowey, opposite Fowey

Notable for its British Telecom Earth Satellite Earth Station (note that the BT visitor centre has been closed), prehistoric monuments and barrows, and national nature reserve of 103 acres, habitat of rare heathers. Wind farm.

St Just - Lands End - Few towns have retained their character in this century as St Just, the first and last town in England

It was during the 16th and 17th centuries that Padstow's growth accelerated. This partly as a result of the 1496 bridge in Wadebridge which prevented boats from passing further up the river. In 1536 harbour construction began in ernest with the first stone pier being constructed. The growth of the mining and quarrying industry in the area established Padstow as a major port town. Copper ore was shipped to Bristol and slates exported, many from the Delabole slate quarry a few miles inland.

Cawsand on the Rame Peninsula Cornwall

It's hard to read anything about Padstow these days without the name of a certain celebrity chef being mentioned, so we're not going to! However, I have recently heard Padstow referred to as Padstein! Whether the town owes a debt of gratitude to the chef depends on where you're sitting, it certainly seems to have kickstarted a quality dining revival in Cornwall as a whole, but on the other hand Padstow is now one of the least affordable places in Cornwall in terms of property prices.

Charlestown a small picturesque port with historic sailing vessles and Shipwreck Museum - Charlestown harbour and fleet of small vessels, have appeared in many films

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There are many attractive beaches and coves close to Padstow. One of these is Bedruthan Steps , said to be the stepping stones of an ancient giant. Constantine Bay is one of the best surfing beaches in the area, although bathing can be hazardous at times. The sand dunes and rock pools are attractive to young families.

The BIG Sheep is firmly established as one of the UKs most innovative and exciting family attractions. Hilarious and entertaining shows include the World Famous sheep racing, complete with woolly jockeys, Horse Whispering, Dog and Duck Trials. Plus, a great selection of slides and imaginative soft play climbing areas, tumble towers, mazes and obstacles in our MASSIVE indoor playarea

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 a dramatic coastline with few easily navigable harbours. The influence of restaurateur Rick Stein can be seen in the port, and tourists travel from long distances to eat at his restaurant and cafés.

For some of the cliff scenes the filming action moved to the Padstow area. Fans of north Cornwall will recognise Levlizzick, and the spectacular views across the Camel Estuary and Tregirls beach.

Family Beach - ideal Family day out.

Brown Willy - the highest point in Cornwall.

Serpentine rock gift shops clustered around village green with walks to lighthouse and lifeboat station at mainland Britains southernmost point

Padstow was already a bustling little port of fishermen and boat-builders in the time of Elizabeth 1st. Nowadays the local fisherman supply the many fish restaurants which have recently become a major feature of the town.

During the 19th century the port flourished with the pilchard industry at its height and shipbuilding becoming a major industry with 6 yards producing ships at one point.

Padstow Harbour Commissioners, The Harbour Office, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8AQ, tel: +44 (0)1841 532239, fax: +44 (0)1841 533346, email: VHF Radio Channel 12

The approach from the sea into the River Camel is partially blocked by the Doom Bar, a bank of sand extending across the estuary which is a significant hazard to shipping and the cause of many shipwrecks.

NB ALL map locations are approximate - please verify location with the owner prior to booking - Map not displaying in IE? try the F5 key


Another Padstow custom which has caused some controversy over recent years is Darkie Days . On Boxing day and New Year's Day, an old tradition is to don blackface and parade through the town singing minstrel songs. The origin of this custom is not known but it has been suggested the activities may not be acceptable and even racist. For this reason the name is likely to be changed to Mumming Day .

Liskeard - market town with main line railway station and the Scenic Liskeard / Looe line

A small sandy beach only accessible at low tide.

National Trust Headland vith views of Godreavy Lighthouse

St neot and Carnglaze Caverns - underground caverns - auditorium and venue

There have been ferries across the Camel estuary for centuries and the current service, the Black Tor Ferry, carries pedestrians between Padstow and Rock daily throughout the year.