We have holidayed in Cornwall for the past 10 years and feel that we know the area very well. We usually stay on C.L.s (caravan club certificated locations) and have found one we particulary like overlooking Padstow and the estuary. There are lots of things to do in the area and what follows is a guide to some of our favourites.
A trip into Padstow is an absolute must - the boats, the pasty shops, the fudge shops and the seagulls all add to the ambience of the place. Once in Padstow, you can go for a ride on a speedboat or go at a more leisurely speed aboard the Jubilee Queen. We have been on the Jubilee Queen a couple of times and been lucky enough to see puffins very close up whilst circling the aptly named 'Puffin Island.' For those of you who love fish (either catching it, or eating it!), there is a lot on offer. Many boats offer fishing trips and Rick Steins restaurant can be found very close to the harbour. There are also plenty of fish shops offering a wide range of seafood for sale. Younger children (or even older ones) will enjoy looking at the huge, captive lobsters and crabs in the shops' tanks.
The Camel Trail
Padstow can become very crowded and parking can be a bit of a nightmare if you don't arrive early. Our solution to this, is to cycle into Padstow using the Camel Trail. We drive to Wadebridge with our bikes, park the car and follow the trail to Padstow. This section of the Camel Trail is all off road and is ideal for family cycling. The going is generally flat and there are lovely views as you follow the estuary into Padstow. During the summer months there are often ice cream vendors along the way! The children will enjoy walking their bikes along the old iron railway bridge as they approach Padstow - it can be a bit breezy, but is perfectly safe. For any 'twitchers' amongst you, there is a bird hide overlooking the estuary, from which you can watch the waders. If you are a serious 'bird watcher' and want a bit of peace and quiet, it would probably be best not to go during the height of the season. We always go out of season nowadays, and the area is much quieter. Once you arrive in Padstow, there are plenty of places to chain up your bike or, if you prefer, more secure, under cover parking for your bike is also available. If you don't have or take your own bikes with you, there are lots of places which hire them out for the day. As well as going from Wadebridge to Padstow, you can go in the opposite direction and cycle to Bodmin. This is a very different ride and mostly follows the river. There is a pub signposted enroute, which offers a variety of foods and beverages. There is also a place to stop for afternoon tea should you wish.
I would really recommend going along the Camel Trail - it's always one of the first things we do, once we've settled on site and I can't imagine us staying in Cornwall and not using the trail. It's a definite family favourite!
Another option for getting into Padstow without the hassle of parking, is to drive to Rock and catch the ferry over to Padstow. Ferries are fairly frequent and there is usually no problem parking at Rock.
Beaches and Walks
One of the main reasons people visit Cornwall is for the beaches and the coastline - we are no exception. We love walking along the cliff tops and swimming in the sea. Below are some of our favourite walks and beaches in North Cornwall.
This is a very pretty bay and good for rock pooling. At low tide there are usually reasonably sized pools of water for younger children to play in and explore. If the wind is up, the waves can be quite big and we usually take our surfboards with us. The sea here is not really suitable for rubber dinghies. There is a small, fairly deep, natural swimming pool if you feel confident clambering up the rocks. There is a small shop in the car park, toilets and an ice cream van.
This is quite a popular bay and when we come here, we usually choose to walk north along the cliff top. There is a huge crater at the top of the cliff - so be careful with very young children as it's a long way down! The views from the top of the cliff are wonderful and a lovely spot for a picnic.
This is one of our favourite walks. Make sure you have some loose change for the car park as there aren't any shops nearby and few people to ask. Once you've parked your car, head towards the lighthouse (you can go in if you wish) and follow the path along the clifftop. Once again, the views are fantastic and you can't help but feel refreshed, renewed and content in such a wonderful place. We normally visit here in early summer and the cliffside is covered in a mass of pink and yellow flowers - very pretty! If you're a keen photographer, make sure you don't forget your camera! When we return to the car, we always get our picnic out and sit on the clifftop overlooking Booby Bay and Constantine Bay. There is also a lifeboat station nearby, which unfortunately is now closed to the public.
I love Bedruthan Steps, but I have to admit that my husband and father both refer to it as 'Hell on Earth.' I think this is because it has always been incredibly windy every time we have walked there. Once again, there are lots of photo opportunities here and the walk down the steps is worth it - there is a cave at the bottom, which children will love.
Our friends introduced us to the walk at Pentireglaze and we thoroughly enjoyed it - despite getting drenched by a very heavy downpour once we reached the rocky beach! There are lots of lovely 'viewpoints' along the way, and once again I found myself taking photo after photo!
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