This pretty little harbour town is the epitome of chocolate-box Cornwall, with crooked streets, whitewashed buildings and boats jostling on the waterfront. It does get very busy in the summer, so make an early start to guarantee a parking space. Past all the ice cream kiosks and fudge shops are a few gems worth a nosey – The Summerhouse does a lovely line in vintage-inspired quilts and cushions, Rocky Point has one-off jewellery and utterly original hand-made bags and Stein’s Gift Shop stocks upmarket textiles, tableware and ceramics that Jill Stein chooses from around the globe.
Padstow is a surprisingly good choice if your wardrobe needs fattening up. Cornish brand Seasalt is renowned for distinctive prints and knitwear; Mudd and Water, almost hidden in an old converted fisherman’s cottage on Duke Street, is a real find for womenswear and shoes that you’ll never see on the high street.
It’s impossible to talk about Padstow without mentioning the famous chef. Some say Rick Stein’s influence has put Padstow on the map and enhanced the whole town’s prosperity, other’s call it ‘Padstein’ in a disparaging voice; either way, his patisserie in the centre of Padstow will derail the most hardened dieter – the cakes and pastries here are divine.
If you’re picking up a tipple to go with dinner later, forgo the supermarket selection and head to wine merchant binTwo. You’ll get exceptional wines by the bottle and expert advice here, and if you’ve got time to linger, you can grab a table and indulge in a glass of bubbly or, if driving commitments deny that treat, a barista-prepared coffee. The view over the harbour’s not bad, either.
When something more substantial is called for, Padstow is brimming with places to eat, from the simple to the extravagant. Pescadou focuses on the fresh fish that is landed just outside its door on the quay; it’s more affordable than the famous Seafood Restaurant and you don’t need to book months in advance. Rojano’s, just along the harbourside, has been serving pizzas for almost 40 years; two years ago it was taken over by Paul Ainsworth, a Michelin starred chef, and the whole place was given a make-over. The prices are bafflingly low while the quality is deliciously high.
The Summer House
28 Duke Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AB, Tel. 01841 533138
9 Broad Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BS, Tel. 01841 533892
Stein’s Gift Shop
Middle Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AP
Lanadwell Street,Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AN
3-5 Lanadwell Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AN, Tel. 01841 533994
Mudd and Water
24 Duke Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AB, Tel. 01841 533969
The Drang, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BL, Tel. 01841 532022
The Old Custom House, South Quay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BL, Tel. 01841 532359
9 Mill Square, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AE, 01841 532796