Padstow is a fishing port and popular tourist destination on the north coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. The town is situated on the west bank of the River Camel estuary approximately five miles northwest of Wadebridge, ten miles northwest of Bodmin and ten miles northeast of Newquay.

Padstow Harbour

Padstow was originally named Petroc-stowe, or 'Petrock's Place', after the Welsh missionary Saint Petroc, who landed at nearby Trebetherick around AD 500. After his death a monastery Lanwethinoc, the church of Wethinoc an earlier holy man) was established here which was of great importance until the town was raided by the Vikings in 981 the Vikings laid waste "Petroces stow" probably Padstow according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, either as a result of this attack or later the monks moved inland to Bodmin taking with them the relics of St Petroc. The cult of St Petroc was important both in Padstow and Bodmin.
In the medieval period Padstow was commonly called Aldestowe (as the 'old place' in contrast to Bodmin the 'new place').

Traditionally a fishing port, Padstow is now a popular tourist destination. Although some of its former fishing fleet remains, it is mainly a yachting haven on a dramatic coastline with few easily navigable harbours.
Padstow enjoys an extremely mild climate and has a very sheltered position being on the West side of the River Camel estuary, the town is sheltered from the prevailing winds. In the town the buildings huddle closer together crowding around the harbour. You will find a great mixture of properties, including boat slips, inns, cafés and restaurants, gift and craft shops, holiday cottages, food shops, and banks.
Padstow has evolved over the years. It is the result of years of adaptation and getting the best out of local materials and using the buildings and the surrounding environment to meet the needs of a working harbour town.
Life in Padstow moves slowly, traffic has no other option with the narrow streets,lives are governed by the tides, the seasons and the farming calendar.

Even in deepest winter, Padstow's maritime climate brings milder weather, frost is rare and snow almost unheard of even though it can sometimes be seen on the distant slopes of Bodmin Moor.

Padstow Harbour Cornwall


The harbour is the heart of Padstow and visitors find themselves drawn to it.Brass band concerts are held regularly, visiting entertainers often perform on the quayside, fishing and pleasure trips depart from there and much social activity is conducted from the harbourside cafes, restaurants and pubs. Fishing boats and pleasure craft sit side-by-side on their moorings, quayside inns and cafes overlook the blue water. There are seats scattered around the harbour and there's always something going on, it's such a restful and interesting place it's a favourite spot for both locals and visitors. Padstow's museum may not be large but it does contain many of its historic treasures and artefacts you can take a step back in time and discover the history of Padstow through its Obby Oss, Railway and Lifeboat displays. The Museum is open from Easter to the end of October and is run by volunteers. The church also reflects the life, past and present, of this seafaring town.

Why not take a cycle ride along the Camel Trail toward Wadebridge or take a stroll along the estuary footpath toward one of several sandy beaches you can also take the ferry across the river to Rock. There's something for all tastes in Padstow and the surrounding area.

Rock Cornwall

Old Padstow Photos

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Padstow is well known for its "'Obby 'Oss" festival. Its origins are unclear, it most likely stems from an ancient fertility rite, perhaps the Celtic festival of Beltane. The festival starts at midnight on May Eve when townspeople gather outside the Golden Lion Inn to sing the "Night Song". By morning, the town has been dressed with greenery and flowers placed around the maypole. The excitement begins with the appearance of one of the 'Obby 'Osses. Male dancers cavort through the town dressed as one of two 'Obby 'Osses, the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'Obby 'Osses; as the name suggests, they are stylised

Obby Oss Festival
kinds of horses. Prodded on by acolytes known as "Teasers", each wears a mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to catch young maidens as they pass through the town. Throughout the day, the two parades, led by the "Mayer" in his top hat and decorated stick, followed by a band of accordions and drums, then the 'Oss and the Teaser, with a host of people - all singing the "Morning Song" pass along the streets of the town, never meeting. Finally, late in the evening, the two 'osses do meet, at the maypole, before returning to their respective stables where the crowd sings of the 'Obby 'Oss death, until its resurrection the following May Eve.

Old Padstow Harbour Photo

Old Photo of Padstow

More Old Photos of Padstow

Christmas in Padstow.

is a very special experience when the town is decorated with thousands of creative seasonal decorations and set pieces, it has become famous throughout Cornwall and the South West. Mid December is also the time for late night Christmas shopping in Padstow when local bands, street buskers, mulled wine and the Padstow carollers take to the streets. The town is proud of having its own Christmas Carols, the majority of these are only sung in Padstow. Carol singing starts on the first Sunday in advent and continues every Sunday until Christmas Eve. Carollers meet in the Market Place between 7pm & 7.30pm and the streets echo to the sound of their voices as they sing to local residents while collecting money for charity.
On Christmas Eve it is traditional for them to sing to the Prideaux Brune family and their guests at Prideaux Place as well as to the local hostelries and the Metropole Hotel.
Padstow’s Christmas lights are due to the hard work of the local Rotary Club. Each year they raise money to maintain and erect the lights as well as adding new displays. They produce a wonderful spectacle, the centre of which is the animated floating tableaux in the inner harbour. The water in the harbour reflects the lights around them, doubling the number of lights!

London Inn Padstow Cornwall
Padstow Cornwall

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