Day 8. Padstow & Newquay, Cornwall

After stopping off in Bodmin for some breakfast we headed to Padstow which took around 35 minutes along some exceedingly narrow lanes.  Fortunately we didn’t meet any vehicles coming the opposite way so unlike the previous day there was no reversing required.

South Quay, Padstow
South Quay, Padstow

As we were visiting off season and reasonably early, we managed to find some unrestricted street parking which was just a ten minute steep downhill walk to the centre.  Padstow lies on Cornwall’s north coast sitting on the west side of the Camel estuary.  Its one of the south west’s most popular tourist destinations and is known as the ‘foodie’ capital of Cornwall.

The Camel Estuary in Padstow
The Camel Estuary as viewed from Padstow’s south quay

Padstow is often referred to as ‘Padstein’ since the arrival of Rick Stein’s first small seafood bistro on the harbour-side back in 1975.  He certainly helped Padstow find its way into the discerning tourist’s map as we counted four of his restaurants, a cookery school, patisserie and even a hotel.  We began our walk along the town’s south quay which still functions as a working fishing harbour.

Rick Stein's fish and chip shop, Padstow
Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop, Padstow

Overlooking the water we came across two of Rick Stein’s businesses, Stein’s Fish & Chips and Stein’s Deli which were both doing a brisk trade and it wasn’t even lunchtime.  Using the freshest of ingredients, the celebrity chef has managed to turn the simple pleasure of eating fish and chips out of a paper bag into a classy affair.  They smelt delicious and although sorely tempted, we resisted the temptation as it was not long since our big breakfast.

The National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow
The National Lobster Hatchery

Along the quay we also came across The Old Custom House, a stylish hotel and bar and not far from there, the National Lobster Hatchery, a marine conservation charity based in the town.  Admission to the visitor centre is £4.95 and here one can learn about the charity’s work and view lobsters through the different stages of their life cycle before being released into the sea.

The Camel Trail, Padstow
The Camel Trail runs through Padstow

Padstow lies at one end of the Camel Trail cycle route which runs along a disused railway line.  We’d come across it earlier in the holiday when visiting Wadebridge approximately five miles away.  A cycle ride between the two towns is an ideal length for a family outing as its mostly flat and traffic free.

Padstow harbour
Padstow’s pretty harbour

Although south quay is pleasant, what draws tourists to Padstow is undoubtedly its picturesque harbour.  Its a great place to sit on a bench with some fish and chips or an ice cream and watch the world go by.

Padstow harbour, Cornwall
Views of Padstow harbour

Pleasure boats offer tours around the bay and a regular ferry service operates between Padstow and the upmarket village of Rock just across the water.  Crabbing appeared to be a popular pastime with children who could be seen with their plastic buckets and crab lines leaning over the harbour wall.

Children crabbing in Padstow harbour
Children crabbing in Padstow harbour

Surrounding the harbour are rows of charming fisherman’s cottages and merchant houses many of them now shops, cafes and restaurants.  Padstow is a very refined little place and its lovely small shops reflect this.

Padstow Bookseller
The independent bookshop, Padstow Bookseller

Amongst them, we came across the well-stocked independent bookshop Padstow Bookseller and Tarquins Gin School & Shop.  Add to the mix nautical retailers like Crew Clothing and Seasalt and you have just my sort of town.  Do make a point of adding Padstow to your Cornwall itinerary as I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it too.

Tarquin's Gin Shop, Padstow
Tarquin’s Gin Shop in Padstow

Our day wasn’t over though, and on leaving Padstow we set off for Newquay, another of Cornwall’s premier resorts, a thirty minute drive away.  I’d visited Newquay once before but as it was on a family holiday when I was about eight, my recollections were vague to say the least.  Searching through old albums, I came across a photo of the clifftop hotel where we had stayed and discovered it was still there after all these years but presumably looks rather different internally now.

Great Western Beach, Newquay
Great Western Beach, Newquay

Newquay’s shops stretch quite a way along its high street and are typical of other British seaside resorts with their assortment of household names, gift shops, bars and cafes.  It lacks the charm of either Falmouth or Padstow but fits the bill for a family beach holiday during the warmer, summer months.

Newquay's beaches
Newquay’s sandy beaches

The first of Newquay’s beaches that we came across was the Great Western which takes its name from the railway which operated a service to the resort between 1876 and 1960.  This is just one of the resort’s four beaches and is popular with both families and novice surfers due to its sheltered position.  At low tide it’s possible to walk along the shore to the neighbouring Towan and Tolcarne beaches.

Newquay harbour
Newquay harbour

We then strolled along the clifftop in a westerly direction to the town’s pretty harbour.  This is still in use today with a small fleet of fishing boats and pleasure craft.  Long before the days of tourism Newquay was a small fishing harbour town noted for catching pilchards which were then exported to the Mediterranean.

The Huer's Hut, Newquay
The Huer’s Hut

Following the coastal path we arrived at the ancient Huer’s hut which derives its name from the French word ‘huer’ to cry.  The huer would watch the sea carefully for the moment it changed colour.  This indicated the arrival of the pilchards and a cry would go out alerting people to go out in their boats and haul in the fish.

Towan Headland, Newquay
Towan Headland, Newquay

Continuing further still we rounded the Towan headland which lies to one end of Fistral beach.  This famous beach has made Newquay the surf capital of the U.K.  Its conditions are perfect for surfing as the beach is sheltered by two headlands, funnelling powerful hollow waves to heights of up to 8 feet.

Fistral Beach, Newquay
Fistral Beach, Newquay

This beach has become a magnet for experienced surfers and is the venue for national competitions and the annual Boardmasters festival.  Overlooking the beach there’s an attractive seafront development which includes numerous facilities including wetsuit hire, surf shops, cafes and restaurants.

Newquay Golf Club, Fistral Beach
Newquay Golf Club, Fistral Beach

After spending some time viewing the large waves we turned inland taking a public footpath that cuts through the middle of Newquay Golf Club.  It’s a links course and looked attractive from the pathway which has overhead netting to protect walkers from stray golf balls.

Footpath across Newquay Golf Course
The footpath across Newquay Golf Course

The footpath acted as a shortcut back into the town centre and it didn’t seem to take us very long to return to the car after yet another very pleasant day exploring Cornwall.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

A visit to Falmouth, Cornwall

A day in Weymouth

 

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Padstow & Newquay

 

63 thoughts on “Day 8. Padstow & Newquay, Cornwall

  1. How great to visit the “foodie” capital of Cornwall and eat some delicious food while soaking in those lovely views of the harbour. The sandy beach looks gorgeous. I love the picture of how the boats are sitting in the sand during low tide.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes I’d have spent time in the bookstore too looking for historical treasures on the shelves but fish and chips on one of those delightful beaches would have been on my list of visits too. Thank you for your usual top quality pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m finding your tour of Cornwall extremely interesting and informative, Marion. Although, I’m familiar with the southern part of the county, I know far less about the northern area.
    Dr Martin is a favourite of mine and Port Isaac, aka Portwenn, looked so charming, in a previous post.
    I’m always impressed with how much you fit into your days, wherever you may be travelling, and equally, the amount of detail you put into your posts. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so nice to read that you also enjoy watching Doc Martin June and are continuing to enjoy my Cornish series of posts. We enjoyed every minute of our road trip and did seem to fit lots in without rushing around. I’d happily return to Cornwall any time now that I’ve discovered how lovely it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You had me at “foodie capital!” One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying out the distinctive dishes of a particular place. Having the food along that beautiful harbor of Cornwall certainly wouldn’t hurt, either, especially on a blue-sky day as in your photos! Thanks once again for sharing the beauty of this region of England. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reminds me of being newly married and staying at the Headland hotel overlooking the Fistral Beach. It may be called something else now. Sat next to Paul Daniels in the restaurant and swam with Floella Benjamin so must have been a favourite for the BBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post and fantastic photos, Marion 🙂 What can be better then feasting on fresh seafood, sunbathing beside those crystal waters and taking in beautiful coastal views. Hard to believe that once Cornwall remained isolated from the rest of England—a world away from London and the power centres of English life. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely weekend. Aiva 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How lovely that you are enjoying the Doc Martin series, thanks for letting me know. The Huer’s Hut piqued my interest to. It’s amazing that the pilchards could be identified as being nearby with the change of sea colour. Hope you have a good weekend. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh Marion, your trip in Cornwall just keep getting better!
    Rick Stein’s been around for a long time … 1975 wow 😲. I can see why Padstow is such a favourite holiday destination – it’s really beautiful!
    And love the beach at Newquay … looks like our sandy beaches 😉.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Padstow does look charming, and probably expensive, and it’s a place I’ve never been. I do, though, have similar memories to yours of Newquay, from long ago. With those beaches it’s no wonder it became so popular. I found the Huer’s tale fascinating. Thanks, Marion 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

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