Padstow is a fishing port and tourist resort on the west bank of the River Camel estuary, 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Bodmin. An important monastery founded by St Petroc stood on the spot until in 981 AD when the town was raided by Vikings. The monks then moved St Petroc's relics to a safer inland site at Bodmin.
Today, Padstow is an extremely busy holiday destination. Its narrow streets and picturesque harbour quays are usually crowded with visitors during the summer season. A few fishing boats remain but the harbour is mainly filled with private yachts and motor vessels as Padstow is one of the few safe harbours along the Cornwall's dramatic north coastline.
People also flock to Padstow from far and near to eat at the cafes and fish restaurants set up by TV cooking guru Rick Stein.
In May Padstow celebrates its ancient "Obby 'Oss" spring festival, when two male dancers cavort through town dressed in weird horse-like costumes, trying to entrap young maidens beneath their skirts. The various colourful events of the day pack the narrow streets with onlookers.
Tourist Information Centre:
|North Quay, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8AF - Tel: 01841 533449|
This fascinating little museum is just 50 meters from the harbour side. It was started in 1971 by Bill Lindsey, a retired boat builder and holds an varied collection of articles which explain the history of the port over the past two hundred years.
Padstow is not blessed with good beaches but a regular ferry service conveys visitors to the fine beach at Rock just across the estuary. Once known as Black Rock, today the village is more often known as the St Tropez of Cornwall as it seems to attract the more affluent holiday maker. Film and TV stars, successful men of business and even the occasional Royal can be spotted arriving by helicopter.
A restored Elizabethan manor house on the hill overlooking Padstow. Read more about Prideaux Place...