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Journeying to Cornwall: tips from a first-time international traveller

Visiting the splendid surroundings of Cornwall? Whether you live in the UK or you’re arriving from overseas, you might like to take a look at this mini Padstow travelogue from a first-time American visitor.

Arriving for my first time in England, I was excited to explore and discover the natural beauty and history embedded throughout the country. After chatting to some Brits, I quickly learned that Cornwall is a must-see destination during my extended stay.

I eventually convinced a friend to spend a weekend at a holiday caravan park down in Padstow. Being in London with no car to drive down, we booked a South Western Railway train leaving from Paddington Station to Bodmin Parkway Station.

Coming from the US, travelling on public transport was a unique experience that ended up being surprisingly simple and enjoyable. Navigating the sea of passengers while searching for the right platform is overwhelming when doing it for the first time. I would recommend purchasing tickets online beforehand and arriving earlier rather than later with your tickets ready for the ticket barriers. It helps to talk to station workers to figure out which platform you’re on rather than losing yourself in the massive departures board with dozens of different destinations on it.

Once you find your way onto the correct train, sitting on the left-hand side of the train at a window seat will guarantee a breathtaking coastal view along the journey. Having never even been to England, I had no clue what to expect on arrival in Cornwall.

The immediate sense of serenity and calmness filled the air as I stepped off the train. A taxi to the holiday park was just a Google search and phone call away. The half an hour drive flies by as you gaze out the back window towards a beautiful coastal town.

Arriving at the Padstow Holiday Village, the tropical yet homely vibes of the park immediately captured our attention. Talking to the welcoming staff, we got some wonderful recommendations for places to eat and see in the area.

Padstow Holiday Village

We then received the keys and headed over to our cosy accommodation. We were blown away by the caravan that we stayed in for the weekend, as it was surprisingly spacious and relaxing. There was a kitchen equipped with everything you would need to cook, a living room with comfortable sofas and a large flatscreen TV, and beds that felt like you’re sleeping on a cloud!

It was a great feeling knowing that after a long day relaxing on the beach and exploring Padstow, we could come back to a pleasant holiday home in a quiet community close to the main town.

Padstow lodge interior

Once we settled into our luxurious 2-bedroom lodge, we took the walking path into town for some dinner. One thing to note is that the restaurants close early, so be prepared to grab a bite ahead of time or even pick some groceries from a Tesco, just a 15-minute walk away.

If you’re feeling lazy or don’t want to make the walk, there’s a Craftworks restaurant back at the park with a tasty variety of burgers, burritos, and salads. The on-tap pints pairs perfectly with the dishes on the menu, too.

After an early dinner, we decided to go check out some of the local pubs. Pubbing in Padstow was a lively experience made even better by the people of Padstow, who were kind and welcoming. We ended up walking around all night and sharing laughs and pints with the locals at some of the excellent pubs in Padstow. I would recommend exploring the town at night and getting to know the locals to see if your holiday can benefit from their knowledge of the area.

The Old Custom House

The next day, we headed down to the harbour to explore. Don’t forget your swimsuits and towels, both must haves for you to enjoy beach days and Padstow at its finest.

Padstow Harbour panorama
Padstow sign

Ahead of our journey through the town, we picked up one of the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had at Ben’s Crib Box Café. I would suggest that you pick one up to walk along the harbour into Padstow. After checking out the town, we took a 15-minute stroll down the scenic South West Coast Oath and ended up on the sandy and relaxing Lower beach.

South West Coast Path Padstow

No day at the British seaside would be complete without a quick glimpse at the weather forecast beforehand, it wouldn’t hurt to check to make sure there’s no rain in the forecast. Though rest assured, the beach is lovely enough to appreciate in all weathers.

Another great way to spend time in Padstow would be to get a boat trip or ferry out to sea and enjoy the clear blue water and sunny skies. There’s a plethora of boat touring agencies all around the harbour that can be found by doing a quick internet search, as well as a ferry across the River Camel to Rock.

Padstow Rock ferry

While out at the sea, we were able to spot wildlife and explore the coastline for a couple hours. The coastal tour was the highlight of our trip. We finished our day off by grabbing dinner and a scoop of our favourite flavour of ice cream in the town to end our relaxing day in Padstow.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful weekend away from home or pints with the locals, renting a holiday home in Padstow gives you flexibility to do whatever your heart desires. Staying on a holiday park close to town while not being in it offers you not only a tranquil escape, but the freedom to make the most of Padstow as and when you please.

Fancy an escape to Cornwall?

Join us at one of our Cornwall holiday parks to experience the region’s world-class coast, cuisine and charm.
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