Padstow and the Obby Oss
-a short guide with pictures

Padstow, Cornwall

Camel Trail | Padstow | May Day | The Camel Trail | Rock | Polzeath | Padstow Obby Oss


Slate hung houses crowd narrow streets leading to a picturesque harbour on the on the western side of the Camel Estuary North Cornwall

Padstow and the Obby Oss

obby-oss Perhaps best known for the Obby Oss, when the 1st of May sees Padstow decorated with the first greenery of the year, bluebells, and hazel twigs, and the procession of the Oss, teazer and the dancers, singers, and musicians playing a hypnotic tune, to celebrate the coming of spring. The dance's origins are believed to be pagan and it is one of the oldest remaining customs in England. See also the Helston Furry Dance.

The Harbour and Camel Estuary

The Camel Estuary is popular with sailors, so in addition to fishing boats, yachts often moor in the Inner Harbour sheltered behind the closed lock gates. Whilst along the Quay a crane off loads a sand barge, and local crabbers land their catches of edible crab unto refrigerated lorries destined for Spain. Padstow has in fact been an important boat building and trading port for hundreds of years.

quay At the Estuary mouth is the Doom Bar, where many a vessel has been stranded or even wrecked. More recently the town has achieved new fame with Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant. On South Quay is the Padstow Tourist Information Centre with knowledgeable and friendly staff.

On North Quay the National Lobster Hatchery. See females carrying eggs, baby lobsters growing into juveniles prior to their release. Visit the many seafood shops, fresh local fish- cod, skate, turbot and dover sole. Yes more live lobsters in tanks, but destined for the table. Padstow is at one end of the very popular Camel Trail.

Beaches and Headlands

A short stroll along the Estuary is St Georges Well Beach, further still is Tregirls Beach, both reached through Stile Field , with superb views across to Rock and Daymer Bay, and on a clear day, down the Estuary as far as Stepper Point. On a sunny day the Field is a nice place to sunbathe or just sit watch the world go by. Why not take a speedboat trip, or a cruise along the North Cornwall Coast on the Jubilee Queen.

treyarnon Beyond the town lies Trevose Head, with its lighthouse, and around the headland sheltered from the worst of the Atlantic Gales the Lifeboat House. (Trevose is one of the most storm lashed headlands in Cornwall). Beyond that lovely beaches such as the sheltered Treyarnon Bay and further west towards Newquay Constantine Bay, backed by sand dunes, with the Atlantic Ocean breakers rolling in.

Christmas and New Year


The town comes alive over the Christmas Season, with multicoloured lights festooned from the cottages overlooking the Estuary. Bobbing boats decorating the harbour. Christmas trees above each of the little shops. Cornwall Cottage holiday in Padstow.

Cornwall Holiday Guides

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Around and about

 On the opposite side of the Camel Estuary is Rock Cornwall a sailor's delight (once favoured by a certain Royal Prince for his Summer Holiday) and the resort of Polzeath with its Cornwall surfing beach. Beautiful St Enodoc Church burial place of Sir John Betjeman . A foot ferry, Black Rock, operates throughout the day from the Quay to the Rock Pontoon. No Sunday service in winter.

prideaux-place Country house lovers might care to visit Prideaux Place only a short stroll from the harbour. Home of the Prideaux-Brune family for approximately 400 years. The present house dates from Elizabethan times. Extensive grounds and a walled garden. The house is renown for its collections- porcelain, paintings and fine antique furniture to name but three.

Padstow Obby Oss | Furry Dance | Kithill Midsummers Bonfire

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