Explore More in Padstow, the popular harbourside town.

PUBLISHED: 12:29 12 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:41 20 February 2013

Explore More in Padstow, the popular harbourside town.

Explore More in Padstow, the popular harbourside town.

Art, fishing and food are the main attractions of this popular harbourside town, writes Lesley Double...

Art, fishing and food are the main attractions of this popular harbourside town, writes Lesley Double...

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Padstow is popular with visitors who to come to experience a traditional fishing town with a great reputation in the food world, as well as to explore its winding lanes and the Camel Estuary.

A direct railway line from London once ran all the way to Padstow and its the old railway line that was turned into the 18-mile long Camel Trail, which runs from Padstow to Wadebridge, Bodmin and on to Wenfordbridge. The Trail is used by approximately 40,000 walkers, cyclists and horse riders every year.

Simple pleasures

During the summer months, you can listen to different silver bands and choral groups in the towns bandstand. They mostly originate from Cornwall, but occasionally the audience is treated to visiting bands or choirs on tour. There are no seats, and the audience is encouraged to stand as close or as far from the bands as they like, or even wander round the quay while the music drifts around the harbour and nearby streets. The silver bands tend to play mostly on Sundays and Wednesdays, with the choirs entertaining on Thursdays.

Hidden treasures

Forty years ago a group of local people realised that many photos and artefacts of the town would soon be lost, because of the rapid changes currently taking place. Thanks to their endeavours, Padstow Museum was born. It is situated in two rooms on the first floor of The Padstow Institute in Market Place and is jam-packed full of all manner of fascinating memorabilia, from shipwrights tools, ship paintings and models, artefacts relating to the local lifeboat and from the Harlyn Bay prehistoric site and, of course, the Obby Oss display.

Abbey House in North Quay is possibly one of the oldest houses in Cornwall, dating back to at least the 15th century when it was the Guild House and a chapel for the Padstow merchants. The building contains stone carvings, which are believed to be of a much earlier origin.

Hot tips

Keith and Maureen are from South Yorkshire and have met up with their son, Liam, and grandchildren, who live in London, for a holiday. We would thoroughly recommend Padstow as a holiday destination, says Maureen. We have been on lots of coastal walks, and spent some time at Constantine Bay, which is dog friendly. We really enjoyed looking round Pencarrow House and Gardens. Jacks is in Parnalls Court, just off Lanadwell Street and the food and drink is very good there. The Old Ship Hotel is good too.

Gwyneth Maddock-Brown has lived in Padstow since she was 19. She has owned Gwyneths for 20 years; for the first ten years it was a sweet shop, now it sells jewellery ranging in price from 2 to 500. I live just a few hundred yards up the road, so I can walk to work, says Gwyneth. I love living here and rarely leave the town. We are lucky to have some fabulous restaurants within walking distance: tonight I am eating at No 6, which is in Middle Street, but there are also Rick Steins restaurants and I like Margots Bistro in Duke Street too. When the weather is good, theres no better place than Cornwall.

Out of town

Take a ferry across the River Camel from Padstow to Rock, walk along the footpath towards the sea, and you will soon come to St Enodoc Golf Course and the beautiful, if well-hidden, St Enodocs Church. Shifting sand dunes have constantly threatened to bury the church: in fact it almost disappeared in the 18th and 19th centuries and services took place only once a year. In the mid-1800s, the church was renovated and today it can be reached on foot only, via the tenth fairway of the golf course. Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman died in nearby Trebetherick in 1984 and is buried at St Enodoc. His grave is marked with a slate headstone on the south side of the church.

Arts, crafts & entertainment

Padstow Art Group meets weekly and holds exhibitions of the members work in and around Padstow throughout the year, including at the Memorial Hall, Padstow Institute and the parish church. There are several galleries in the town, with many artists drawing inspiration from the beautiful north Cornwall scenery; have a look in Padstow Contemporary Art Gallery in Parnell Court, or Padstow Fine Art in Lanadwell Street, for example.

Even in the height of summer, you should spend a few minutes in Tidings, a shop that sells every Christmas decoration imaginable, and many more besides. There are decorations from Europe and America, all quite beautiful, and you will soon feel Christmassy and festive, despite the sunshine outside.

Food for thought

It is impossible to visit Padstow and not be tempted by one of Rick Steins establishments. Depending on what you fancy, or the size of your wallet, there are a variety of different restaurants, take-aways and shops, many of whichspecialise in fish in one form or another.

For locally produced and sourced food, you should visit Padstow Farm Shop, which supplies several restaurants in and around Padstow, as well as Fifteen Cornwall and the Eden Project, with traditionally reared beef, lamb and pork, and home-grown vegetables. Customers can watch pasta being made in the shop, which comes from the farms own durum wheat. Padstow Farm Shop is at Trethillick, which can be reached by car along a narrow lane, or by foot along the coast path between Padstow and Trevone: dont be put off by the difficult access, its well worth a visit, if only for some homemade sausages for the barbecue or a local Moomaid ice cream ona hot day!

Family fun

A short walk beyond North Quay will take you to an expanse of open space with views across the river and acres of grassland where children (and dogs) can let off steam. For something more organised, theres crazy golf and grass putting at Greens Caf.

The National Lobster Hatchery at South Quay will tell you all about the life of the lobster and the Hatcherys conservation projects. You can even adopt a lobster for just 2.50. Children will love the pets at Old Macdonalds Farm at Porthcothan Bay, and adults will like the scrumpy tasting.

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