PUBLISHED: 12:02 02 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:18 30 August 2017

Old Custom House, Padstow

Old Custom House, Padstow

Padstow is a Cornish harbour town that is synonymous with great food and top restaurants, home to Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth

The Old Custom House in Padstow is perfectly situated for a visit to this delightful fishing port – renowned for its great food, tops class chefs and award-winning bakeries CHARLOTTE SKIDMORE discovers more

The Old Custom House is a cosy, convenient place to stay. The word 'cosy ’ often conjures up connotations like small’ or pokey ’ but this is certainly not the case here.With a lounge area, huge bed and decent-sized hanging space for your clothes (or many shoes in my case), the accommodation is spacious to say the least.

We stayed in a superior room, overlooking the harbour, and to be able to open the curtains in the morning and watch the boats and the people milling about was a great sight to behold.This is not a hotel, this is very much a traditional inn, with stone floors, beamed ceilings and even creaky floorboards to match.The staff could not be more helpful, the view any better and the location any more perfect for exploring Padstow.

The food

Our first experience of food in Padstow was dinner at the Old Travel.It’s been dubbed theseafood capital of Britain,and Padstow is indeed afood-lover’s paradise. Butthis working fishing port hasa lot more to offer besides.Located at the head of theCamel River Estuary, it issurrounded by gloriouscoastline, quiet coves andinteresting walks, making ita perfect holidaydestination.

Custom House’s very own fish restaurant, Pescadou. How convenient to be able to pop downstairs and find a delightfully-decorated, traditional seafood restaurant.My dining partner had grilled Cornish mackerel fillets, which hewas extremely pleased with – wellcooked, tasty and visually appealing.I had the half shell scallops withsweet chilli and ginger – well cookedand visually appealing, but for methey could have done with an extrakick’ in flavour to really up thestakes in the taste department.We then both tucked in to a meltin the mouth’ Cornish sirloin steak.How great to see locally-sourcedfood on the menu – but in Padstowyou would expect no less.The Lyonnais potatoes were adefinite highlight for me – deliciouslytasty and there was certainly noscrimping on the tasty, local cheesefor dessert.

Breakfast the next day was equallyas exciting with a good range ofofferings from smoked salmon toeggs Benedict and a full cookedbreakfast with Cornish sausages. And as if I hadn't eaten enoughalready we even indulged in a creamtea in Pescadou later that day – thewarm scones offered temptation tolure us in from the cold.


Where to eat

Celebrity chef Rick Stein’s name is now synonymous with Padstow. He owns and runs four restaurants here, with The Seafood Restaurant being his flagship eaterie. It has an international reputation for serving the freshest fish and shellfish. Whether you fancy an imaginative dish or a classic Rick Stein recipe, head on over to the Riverside.

And Mr Stein is not the only well-know name with a restaurant in the thriving fishing port. Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 specialises in sourcing local, seasonal ingredients and serving them in a simple yet modern style. You’ll notice Cornish and British influences in his mouthwatering meat, fish, vegetarian and children’s

Diners at The Metropole Hotel can enjoy great views of the harbour while they choose from the Table d’Hôte menu, which changes daily. As you would expect from a venue so close to the sea, there is plenty of seafood on offer. The four-star hotel also has a café bar for informal

Where to stay

Right in the heart of Padstow overlooking the medieval harbour is The Old Custom House. This stylish inn has 24 bedrooms, all slightly different due to the age of the property, as well as a five-star self-catering barn. It also boasts fine food, award-winning ales and a hair and beauty

If you want a room with a view, look no further than Harlyn Farmhouse. It looks out at Gulland rock, the sea and open farmland. Recently renovated, it has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a large garden and plenty of parking. It’s just a short walk to the nearest beach and golf course and a 10-minute drive to

Where to shop

Needing the perfect wine to marry with the fish you’ve bought fresh that morning? Then head along to Bin Two, an independent wine merchant with a shop packed full of great choices to pair with a variety of dishes. While you’re there, you could indulge in aboutique wine by the glass, something sparkly or even a barista-prepared

Walk around the town and you will find a variety of unusual craft and gift shops. If you’re a magpie attracted all things glittery, Gwyneth’s is bound to catch your eye. The shop is filled with gorgeous and fun jewellery and accessories by designers from Padstow and around the world.

What to do

Padstow is the start and end point of the Camel Trail, and what better way to enjoy the glorious scenery of North Cornwall than by bike? You can hire bikes for all the family before setting off on this level route, which runs along a disused railway line following the course of the Camel

One of the jewels in Cornwall’s historical crown is Prideaux Place – an Elizabethan manor completed in 1592 that sits on a hill above the harbour. Taking a tour of the house or a stroll in the grounds, which overlook an ancient deer

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Cornwall Life