One of our favourite places in Cornwall is Padstow – famous for celebrity chef Rick Stein and several of his restaurants, as well as a pretty harbour, great eateries, fabulous walks and the Camel Trail (read here for our cycle trip). We always make sure ti find time to visit there and instead of driving, we always take the Rock to Padstow ferry and return the same way, catching the Padstow to Rock Ferry back again to pick up our car.
Why take the Padstow to Rock Ferry?
I remember many years ago it was a friendly local shopkeeper who warned us of ever trying to drive to Padstow if we were just going for the day. She shook her head adamantly and said: ‘On a sunny day like this, are you mad? You’ll struggle to find a parking space… Why don’t you take the Rock to Padstow ferry instead?’
Parking spaces in Padstow are rather elusive and parking fines abundant. If you head to Rock and its beautiful beach which sits opposite Padstow on the north-east bank of the River Camel estuary, there are plenty of parking options there. Do be warned, though, you still need to head there early to bag yourself a parking spot.
From Rock beach, daily ferries run to and from Padstow at 20-minute intervals.
Catching the Rock to Padstow Ferry
Rock itself is an affluent coastal village, known as the ‘Kensington’ of Cornwall – with über trendy cafes, fancy restaurants and five-star hotels. The seafront was teeming with life and people enjoying the Sunday morning sunshine. It was a glorious day with just a little nip in the air. Monkey was super excited and even though we only had to wait 10 minutes at the shoreline, the rock skimming soon became tiresome and, he became impatient for the arrival of the ‘berry boat’. Once on board, it was smooth sailing across the bay to dock at Padstow and a very quick journey.
It was lovely just wandering, watching the fisherman coming into dock; watching families crabbing in the harbour; eating an obligatory pasty out of a paper bag, enjoying a pint of cider or two; letting Monkey run up and down the quayside – although we were both frightened that he’d fall off and into the water!
And the best thing – getting the biggest ice cream we could possibly find – which Monkey insisted had to have sprinkles on. After we had filled out bellies to the full, we decided to take a walk up high above the town. The Saint’s Way comprises of ancient trails used by traders dating back to the Bronze age – and the 27-mile route is well signed with Celtic cross markers.
But we only wanted to stretch our legs, and walk off our food, so we didn’t really veer off the coastal path too much and ended up strolling to the war memorial and back again. The views of the estuary are wonderful and Monkey enjoyed looking out for the ‘berry’ boat. So much so he was desperate to get back on it – signalling the end of our first day in Cornwall. So there was nothing for it except to go back across on the Padstow to Rock Ferry. All that sea air made us exhausted!
Need to know about the Rock Padstow Ferry
• The Rock to Padstow Ferry runs every 20 minutes
• You can download a full timetable and ferry times for the Rock to Padstow Ferry here
• In winter the Rock to Padstow ferry doesn’t operate on Sundays
• Fares cost £4.00 rtn for Adults and £2.00 rtn for children