Visit Padstow and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Padstow, Cornwall. With St Ives and Port Isaac it is one of the three most attractive towns of the Cornish north coast, with narrow, mainly unspoilt streets converging on its harbour and an unusually pretty semi-circle of buildings round the quay. The good stonework in the older buildings is notable.
It was already a village when in the 6th century St Petroc came from Ireland in his coracle to give it a monastery. From then until the West Saxons came in the 9th century it was Cornwall's ecclesiastical capital. In the Middle Ages it was much visited by Irish pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Till the mid-l9th century it was important for building war, cargo and fishing boats, but the gradual sanding up of its harbour caused this and its fishing industry to decline. However, its estuary remains a cherished place of shelter for trawlers in rough weather. In the 19th century the sand from the bar across the estuary's mouth, The Doom Bar, was widely valued as fertilizer owing to its high carbonate of lime content. Till 1952 its lifeboat, formerly at Rock across the estuary, was Britain's largest, and the amount it was used can be seen from the shipwreck chart on a wall in the North Quay.
Its most interesting buildings are Prideaux Place, a fine, castellated Elizabethan house, built on what may have been the site of St Petroc's monastery; Abbey House on the North Quay, 15th-century, built possibly as an assembly house for merchants; Raleigh's Court House, 16th-century, on the South Quay, where Sir Walter presided when he was Warden of Cornwall; and St Petroc's Church. The latter, mainly 15th-century, has a fine, strong tower (with odd bulges round the windows), excellent stonework, a particularly good Elizabethan pulpit and aisle roof, and an elaborate Prideaux memorial.
Padstow's great annual event is the Hobby Horse dance festival on May Day. It is claimed to be the oldest dance festival in Europe, and is proudly and keenly kept going.
The two-pronged peninsula to the North West of the town is ringed by splendid sea places: Constantine Bay has the greatest stretch of sand, Treyarnon has one of the best surfing beaches in England. Near Harlyn an Iron Age cemetery was discovered in 1900. Virtually all carved slate to be seen in Cornish churches came from cliff quarries just West of Harlyn; called catacleuse, it was the only type of slate that could be carved with any ease.
The peninsula's eastern prong is the least developed; the cliffs round Day Mark Beacon (you have to walk) are good for seeing sea-birds.
Nearby towns: Bodmin, Camelford, Newquay, St. Columb Major, Wadebridge
Nearby villages: Bugle, Crantock, Delabole, Egloshayle, Helland, Lanivet, Little Petherick, Polzeath, Port Isaac, Roche, St. Blazey, St. Columb Minor, St. Endellion, St. Ervan, St. Eval, St. Issey, St. Kew, St. Mabyn, St. Mawgan, St. Merryn, St. Minver, St. Teath, St. Tudy, Tintagel, White Cross, Withiel
Have you decided to visit Padstow or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Padstow bed and breakfast (a Padstow B&B or Padstow b and b)
- a Padstow guesthouse
- a Padstow hotel (or motel)
- a Padstow self-catering establishment, or
- other Padstow accommodation