things to do in north cornwall

Some friends of mine are down for a 2 week holiday in Cornwall. They’re camping not far from Wadebridge, just north of the Camel River, with their young boy, bikes and a bag full of time to fill. And I’ve been throwing a few ideas their way, so I thought I’d write a post, just for them – their very own, personal guide to ‘things to do in North Cornwall’, just for you Mr. and Mrs. P.

Some of these recommendations are firm favourites, others are still on my ‘to do’ list – so I’m hoping to muscle in on their holiday at some point to join them on the odd foray or two.

Cycle the Camel Trail
This amazing cycle trail runs right the way from Bodmin, down the River Camel, on a virtually traffic free route, through Wadebridge and all the way on to Padstow itself. The route is gorgeous, leafy and green, with trees dipping down to the water, fishermen whiling the time away on the banks and the busy little hubs of Wadebridge and Padstow offering up lots of tasty refreshment breaks.
More info here

Pencarrow House
Found down a quiet country lane in Egloshayle, we first visited for a walk a few years ago – it’s dog friendly. The house is immediately surrounded by a formal sunken Italian garden, roaming peacocks, huge flushes of Rhododendrons, ice and palm houses, before winding off into wild tropical paths that travel right the way up to a huge Iron Age fort. The very first Monkey Puzzle tree was brought here and is where it got the name, when Charles Austin remarked upon touching its prickly leaves, “It would be a puzzle for a monkey”

Pop Gallery Cafe
Particularly cutting edge for this sleepy little Cornish town, Pop Gallery hosts regular exhibitions of contemporary art – everything from graffiti style prints, through to South American inspired ceramics. There’s also a good cafe, with an excellent coffee machine, and regular workshops for kids. Perfect for a rainy day.
More info here

Camel Valley Vineyard
You’ve got to love a drop of Cornish Fizz – and it seems that lots of people do, as demonstrated by the numerous awards won by Camel Valley Vineyard. During the summer you can visit and take a tour, browse in the shop, or simply buy a glass of fizz and enjoy it on the terrace over looking the vines.
More info here

Boobys Bay
A nice little spot, west down the coast from Padstow and out on a limb a little. There’s no lifeguard service and it’s a bit of a walk from the nearest car park, but what this makes it is a little wilder and less crowded in the summer months. It’s backed by beautiful dunes and with lots of rock pools to explore. Park at Treyanron Bay and walk the coastal path.

Port Issac
A quintessential Cornish fishing village, tumbling down the the sea. All cute granite cottages, winding little lanes and a productive harbour with colourful fishing boats bobbing in the water. Anyone who’s watched the Doc Martin television series probably knows it better than I do. But if there’s one recommendation I can make, then it’s this: eat at Fresh From The Sea, where you can get 1/2 fresh lobster and a glass of wine for £14.50.
More info here

As we like to call it locally. Mr. Stein has unequivocally helped raise the profile of fine, creative, fresh dining in Cornwall, the proof of which can found in his numerous catering outlets in Padstow – do you see what I’ve done there? ;) Padstow is a tourist hub in summer, all year for that matter, and whilst bustling, and vibrant, and beautiful, it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to park. So the best approach, in my opinion is by bike, via the Camel Trail.

Harlyn Bay
Another sandy wonder on the north coast. It’s a bit more mainstream than Boobys Bay. There’s lifeguard cover in summer, dogs are allowed all year round, parking is pretty close by, there’s a shop on hand for ice-cream, deckchair hire and a surf school. Making it one of the most popular family beaches in Cornwall. But beautifully not built up.
More info here

Cardinham Woods
Brilliant on bike, on foot, with dogs or simply for a tasty hot chocolate amid a dense forest backdrop. A Forestry Commission site, with wide, accessible fire tracks, meandering streams, miles of newly engineered single track mountain biking, and the rather lovely, woodland set Woods Cafe, which serves up a delectable platter of home food and snacks.
More info here

Enjoy lovely people! And hopefully see you out there on one or two of these. x


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