Last weekend, we packed up the car and headed down to Padstow for a weekend (and a bit) by the sea. It’s been a bit of a manic couple of weekends, considering the previous one was spent at Glastonbury – but hey, at least I already had most of my camping gear to hand, and at least we knew the weather was going to be better!
It’s become somewhat of a tradition to go camping the first weekend in July, and we always head for the same spot. We stayed at a campsite called Dennis Cove, and handily ended up in exactly the same spot as last year. As soon as the tents were pitched we took a short stroll into Padstow past Rick Stein’s chip shop, and settled at a pub overlooking the harbour. It was pretty darn magical sipping pints of Korev in the sunshine, watching all the people walk by. Drinking in the daytime sure does make you hungry though, and we had chips on our mind. We decided to reject Rick Stein’s expensive fried offerings for the ‘local’s chippy’ – the very whimsical-sounding Chip Ahoy.
We parked ourselves on a window ledge just outside the chippy and as we were waiting for our fishcake and hake, respectively, this beauty chuffed by! I’ve got a bit of a thing for steam-powered vehicles, and this was just one of many doing a circuit of the tiny town centre. I do believe it said it was from 1917, which is pretty incredible when you think about it.
After chips, of course, there’s nothing better you can do than do a spot of seagull watching while sinking a few pints in a decent pub. Just around the corner from Chip Ahoy is a delightful little place called The London Inn, which has a sun soaked terrace where we happily sat and drank away a couple of hours. Seagulls, I have found, are perched atop absolutely anything they can get a purchase on.
The walk home was pretty spectacular; as the sun was setting it was basking the whole of the water in a salmony-pink glow. It took slightly longer to walk back than usual, I kept stopping and turning around to get more photos! It really was beautiful.
The next morning started out optimistically – after a sausage sarnie at ‘Ben’s Crib Box’ we started out on the 5-mile-cycle to nearby Wadebridge along the Camel Trail cycle path. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we stopped off for a cup of tea from a lovely chap with a tricycle situated on an old slate quarry about half way along. Shortly after we set back off, however, and I had bicycle troubles, so when we got to Wadebridge we had to start back to Padstow in search of a Halfords.
Sadly, this meant more pints of ale in yet more lovely pubs; this time we were at the very up-market looking hotel The Old Ship drinking pints of Brains (braaaaains). After a short while deliberating, and as the weather was defying the forecast so beautifully, we decided to take the opportunity to hop on a ferry to Rock, which overlooks Padstow just a mile across the water.
Turns out there’s not a huge amount in Rock, apart from a couple of fancy bars and a Jack Wills. We did find some really old graffiti though, and a couple of ironic fence panels, and Tom did his best Fisherman impression. We spent a couple of pints on a terrace overlooking the water, and it was rather nice seeing Padstow from a different angle for a change.
Once back on dry land there was talk of ice cream. This beautiful monstrosity is called a ‘hedgehog’ – it’s your choice of ice cream (chocolate, of course) with a scoop of clotted cream smushed on top, then rolled in nuts. It was AMAZING but I only managed to eat about half, and Tom polished off the rest for me.
I really regret not taking more photos on this trip; we went to an absolutely brilliant pub called the Harbour Inn for dinner, where I had possibly one of the best things I have ever eaten. I didn’t manage to get many photos of the next day of our epic trip either – because it was raining quite a bit I didn’t want to risk having my camera getting soggy. We started out on our bike ride again, this time with a fixed wheel, determined to get all the way to Bodmin. We did pretty well up to Wadebridge, but the rain started up shortly after and it was a pretty damp journey to Bodmin, via a tearoom and a pub, where we only spent about an hour before turning back again.
The journey back was much more pleasant, and as we got about a mile away from Padstow the sun made an appearance again and made some pretty spectacular views across the Camel Estuary. There was just enough time to pop back to the campsite to get changed before it was another mushroom pepperpot and chips at the Harbour Inn again. Lush.
The next morning was a pretty sad occasion, as it was our last day on holiday, so we decided to have a special breakfast at a cute little cafe right on the harbour called Cherry Trees. I had their ‘magic mushrooms’ – thick sourdough bread with tomato chutney, wild mushrooms, poached egg and hollandaise – and Tom had their ‘green eggs and ham’ – toast and posh Italian parma ham with fried egg and basil oil drizzled on top. Their cakes looked absolutely amazing as well, but we were pretty stuffed by the time we had finished!
We packed up the car just as the thunder clouds began to descend, and waved goodbye to Padstein as we made made our way home.
Seeing as we were still technically on holiday though, and as it was a miserable thundery day, we made a pit stop at one of our Gloucestershire faves, the Old Spot Inn, to fatten ourselves up on pie and stout. This mountain of deliciousness is one of their famous pies, chicken and ham, with buttery Lyonnaise potatoes and seasonal veg. If you are local to Bristol or the shire in general, then I cannot recommend the Old Spot higher – it’s definitely worth the drive to Dursley, especially for the Sunday lunch!
Have you been on any summery holidays yet?