Visit the fishing village of Padstow in Cornwall

I just came back from a weekend away in Cornwall, the south-westerly county of England which is known for it’s rocky coastline, great beaches and mild climate. Padstow is a charming fishing port to visit on the North Cornish coast, although it’s packed out in the summer season so I’d recommend it more for a spring or autumn break.

Fishing boats in Padstow harbour

Although fishing boats still go out from the busy harbour, these days people come as much for the smart restaurants, art galleries and gift shops, as the picturesque view of the estuary. Much of it’s down to the impact of Rick Stein, the celebrity Cornish TV chef with a number of culinary enterprises that dominate the foodie scene in Padstow. His flagship Seafood restaurant is a landmark of Padstow, but you can also stay in his hotel, have coffee in his café, buy fudge in the deli, eat his fish and chips on the quayside and learn to cook at his cookery school.

Harbour shop at Padstow

There’s the haunted Elizabethan manor house of Prideaux Place set above the town, or you can hire a bike from the car park and follow the Camel Trail along a disused railway line beside the beautiful Camel Estuary, as far as Wadebridge and beyond. On our visit, we decided to take the ferry from the harbour that plies back and forth across the estuary to the holiday village of Rock.

We landed on the beach and walked towards the estuary mouth, clambering through the sand dunes in search of the tiny church of St Enodoc that serves the parish of St Minver. The chapel dates back to the 12th century but over the centuries was virtually buried in the dunes that surrounded it, until the 19th century when it was finally unearthed and the church restored.

St Enodoc's church

Today you can see the cut-down medieval rood screen, the mellow wooden pews and the memorials to those who died at sea. The former poet Laureate John Betjeman is buried here, and I could see why anyone might choose it as their final resting place, with a view through the dunes to the sea beyond.

All photos by Heather on her travels