Hike past sunshine yellow daffodils, striking against the bright blue of our cloudless skies, this is truly one of the most magical times to visit Cornwall and explore all it has to offer.
Located on the northern coast, the charming fishing of Padstow isn’t just home to stunning views, but it’s also a fine dining hotspot, a must-visit for any proclaimed foodie. Situated idyllically on the harbourfront, the Old Custom House is the perfect place to discover this Cornish treasure and the surrounding area.
Make like the Easter bunny and hop to it; plan an escape to the Old Custom House this spring and enjoy elongated evenings, providing you with plenty of time to make the very most of your stay before retreating into comfort.
A SPRING FEAST
With the clocks having just jumped forward, granting us an extra hour of daylight, we’re refreshing our menu to match this seasonal shift. Alongside firm pub favourites, you’ll find a vibrant array of dishes, sure to have your mouth watering for more. Of course, with Easter just around the corner, our Sunday roast is unmissable with crispy, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and all the trimmings alongside your choice of two types of meat, or our vegetarian and vegan options.
Making the most of the freshest ingredients, tuck into a treat as you watch the world go by from the Old Custom Houses’ prime position on the quay. Fancy trying something a little different? While our team will be able to advise you on the perfect beer match for your meal, why not try something from our experimental Cask Club?
With a new, limited-edition beer released weekly, discover subtle flavours and unique brew styles. Help shape the future of our Cask Club by entering your feedback, and be in with the chance of winning a £50 voucher for our pubs while you’re at it!
V isited twice during a weekend stay in the area. Lovely layout and atmosphere. Friendly welcome and service both times. Special thanks to Norbert for looking after us so well. Tasty food, well presented. Generous portions. Reasonable prices. We will make this our 'go-to' place when we come back to Padstow.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PADSTOW
Possibly from as early as 2,500 BC Padstow has been used as a natural harbour linking Brittany to Ireland along the ‘Saints Way’ from Fowey. Legend has it that St Petroc, possibly one of the most important Cornish Saints, arrived from Ireland around 520 AD and built a monastery on the hill above the harbour.
Developing in the Middle Ages as a trading port for copper, tin and lead ores, alongside slate, pilchards and agricultural produce, the community thrived. The harbour town’s importance has always been apparent, regarded as the only sizeable estuary on the North Coast of Cornwall.
The Port had a thriving fishing industry and by the nineteenth century, there were six shipyards. During the years when emigration from Cornwall was at its height, Padstow was the centre from where many people left to start a new life in the US and Canada.
While shipbuilding declined with the introduction of iron ships, the coming of the railway in 1899 accelerated the tourist industry and it soon became the town’s main source of income.
The town has retained much of its medieval character, with over 104 listed buildings – St Petroc’s Church, Prideaux Place and Abbey House being must-visits during your stay.
STEP INTO OUR PAST
What is now the Old Custom House was once three properties – the late 18th-century Customs House, a mid-19th century bonded warehouse for storage, and the former Caledonian Hotel. These three premises underwent a large renovation first in the early 1990s, and again in 2010 to create one large floor space.
The Custom’s House for Padstow was the white stuccoed and rendered stone rubble building with three arched windows on the first floor. This was originally located on the waterfront before the remodelling of the south side of the harbour.
The main public space in each Custom House, known as the Long Room, was where traders and others presented themselves to make the required payment of duties and fees on cargo destined for export or import.
Where the conservatory is now located was a pair of davits that would have lowered the preventative cutter into the water. The public car park was built on reclaimed land during the early part of the 1900s to accommodate the railway – the buffers at the end marked the termination of the Padstow to Waterloo line. It’s certainly hard to picture what the former area would have looked like compared to what we see today!
Alongside the Custom’s House is a mid-19th century, large, deep-plan, three-storied, bonded warehouse that would have stored any illegal goods seized by the Board of Customs. At high level is the trap door where goods were loaded from the boats into the loft storage.
The third building incorporated into the present building is the Caledonian Hotel. This business operated from two properties (the left-hand side has a bay window while the right-hand building is three stories high) between c.1804 until the 1960s. Walter Hicks purchased the inn in 1899 when William Bate, an ex-seaman, was the ‘licensed victualler’. The Caledonian Hotel was leased to Padstow Butteries Limited in 1976 and was later a restaurant.
Another St Austell Brewery licensed premises, the Shipwrights, formerly the Commercial Hotel, is alongside the Caledonian.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Occasionally referred to as ‘Padstein’, it’s clear to see why this harbour town is a firm favourite amongst celebrity chefs. Tucked inside the Camel Estuary, Padstow balances a bustling working fishing fleet alongside its renowned status as a top-visitor centre and high-end foodie hotspot.
However, it’s not just fine dining and fish that sees tourists flock to the harbour year-round. Whether it’s a romantic couple’s trip, family getaway, or solo adventure, Padstow caters to all. Find glorious, golden stretches of sand on your doorstep, spend hours weaving through the old streets in town or take a quick boat trip across the Estuary to explore the famous Rock. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
With the Old Custom House perfectly situated on the harbourfront, make it your base for discovering the very best of Padstow.
Did you know? It’s said the deadly Doom Bar is a result of a mermaid’s curse. It’s said a merry mermaid watched over vessels in and out of Padstow, but one day she was shot by a visiting sailor. She cursed the harbour, saying it would become desolate from then on. Shortly after a great storm came, wrecking many ships and throwing up the sandbank. To this day, since recording first began, the Doom Bar has claimed over 600 ships!
WHAT'S ON IN PADSTOW?
Not sure when to visit? Plan your trip around one of these events and get involved with the local community.
Become a mini Marine Biologist – 3rd April to 14th April
Get stuck in the Easter with this hands-on marine conservation experience – perfect for the little ones! Learn how to identify different species and practice your lobster pipetting skills at the National Lobster Hatchery.
Padstow May Day - 1st May
Also known as the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, the Cornish custom is certainly a sight to behold! Every year, the town erupts into celebration, the festival officially starting at midnight with the ‘Obby ‘Oss procession starting things off – by morn, the town has been dressed with greenery and flowers are placed around the centrepiece maypole.
St Ives Food Festival – 14th May
Free to attend, the St Ives Food Festival is a highlight in Cornwall’s event calendar. Jam-packed with artisan tents, local vendors, delicious food demos, and evening live music. Take in the gem that is St Ives, while tucking into a few Cornish delicacies – it’ll be hard to resist.
Rock Up and Sea – 17th June
Hosted by FatFace, this unmissable family-fun festival will have you reminiscing all summer long. Set amongst the scenic shores of Newquay’s Lusty Glaze Beach, enjoy incredible live music, inspiring guest speakers, exciting workshops and more as part of your day out.
Lifeboat Summer Celebration – 2nd August
A stone’s throw from Padstow at the Well Parc Trevone, support the RNLI while enjoying a fun-filled night to celebrate the incredible service our lifeboat teams provide year-round.
EXPLORE OUR COASTAL PATH
Park Head to Pentire Steps
Perfect for every season - come rain or shine, enjoy a relatively easy walk along the clifftops and be rewarded with iconic views of the towering sea stacks and picturesque Pentire Steps. Descending the coast to Porth Mear, the route follows the coast path across the cliffs, with the option for a diversion towards Bedruthan Steps, before returning across the fields.
Be sure to time your hike for low tide at Porth Mear and explore the rockpools, brimming with sea life. Turn your head to the sky, keeping your eyes peeled for kestrels and skylarks – there’s plenty to keep you entertained during this two-mile trek.
Stepper Point and the Doom Bar
If you’re looking for a bit more of a leg-stretcher, this 6-mile headland walk is ideal. With far-reaching views over the River Camel and the notorious Doom Bar, see all the area has to offer.
Descend into Harbour Cove, making your way towards the quarry on the end of Stepper Point. The dramatic headland at Stepper Point marks the entrance to the Camel Estuary – you may even recognize it from the opening episodes of Poldark!
Little Petherick Creek and the Camel Trail
Set out for the day on this moderate walk, perfectly combining sea views with the open countryside. From Padstow, the route climbs Dennis Hill to the obelisk – the short, yet steep stretch rewarding you with panoramic views of the area unmatched for miles around.
Pass through meadows and woodland to reach Little Petherick’s gothic church, a hidden gem many miss. From there, the path follows the other side of the creek to reach Sea Mills, with the return route then taking you down a small track back to the Camel Trail.
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
The perfect pitstop for self-proclaimed foodies, explore Cornwall’s wilder side before taking a little respite at the South West 660 Waymaker, the Old Custom House. Take the quieter coastal roads to find great views and experiences along your way, avoiding the rush of the A30 while you’re at it.
Start from St Ives, winding past industrial relics and ancient landmarks, before reaching the surfer’s paradise of Newquay. With gorgeous sandy stretches and rocky headlands, stretch your legs, or perhaps even brave a quick dip before enjoying a bite to eat at the Fort Inn. Jump back into the car, slowing to discover this route’s highlight – the Bedruthan Steps, all the more dramatic on a stormy day.
STAY WITH US
We’re offering you an exclusive 10% discount for stays at the Old Custom House, booked in April. Use the code ‘PUB10’ to redeem and discover this foodie hotspot for yourself.
* All bookings must be made before April 30th. Only available for use on bookings made before September 18th at the Old Custom House.