Unmissable Camel Trail stop-offs
Gloriously flat, largely traffic-free and incredibly scenic – it’s no wonder the multi-use Camel Trail, which follows a former railway line for 18 miles between Wenford Bridge near Bodmin and the foodie hotspot of Padstow, is hugely popular. Walk it, cycle it or cover it on horse-back it’s up to you, but be prepared to be wowed by breath-taking views (it’s part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and spoiled by a bounty of things to do en-route.
Here’s just a flavour of what lies on and beyond the Camel Trail…
For a taste of grandeur
Sitting in an elevated position high above Padstow, it’s worth visiting this Elizabethan manor house just to take in the spectacular views but don’t miss the opportunity to take a guided tour. You’ll hear about the rich and varied history of Prideaux Place stretching back to its completion in 1592 and take a peek into rooms that the Prideaux-Brune family call home. First recorded as being Lords of Prideaux Castle, Luxulyan 1000 years ago, the family has been based at Prideaux Place since 1592, still lived in by the family who built it.
The house, surrounded by 40 acres of landscaped grounds and with its ancient Deer Park, is a charming mix of Elizabethan, Strawberry Hill Gothic and Georgian eras. Each room has its own individuality from all these different ages and one of it has been spoilt by Victorian additions.
Now an international film location where such luminaries as Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, Richard E Grant, Ralph Fiennes, Kiera Knightley, Joanna Lumley and Peter O’Toole and many other famous names have all acted.
It’s a slight meander away from the Camel Trail but Pencarrow House is well worth seeking out. Nestled amongst an incredible garden complete with formal landscaping, woodland walks and year-round flora interest, Pencarrow House is a fascinating Georgian mansion still owned and occupied by the same family that settled there in the 1500s. See arts and antiques, exquisite architecture and visit the Peacock café for homemade lunches and delicious cakes.
For a quality tipple
We can’t think of anything more idyllic than jumping off your bike for a leisurely stroll around the Camel Valley Vineyard to see where Cornwall’s award-winning red, white and sparkling wines are lovingly produced. Time it right and join a guided tour and take some time to relax on the (hopefully) sun-drenched terrace with a glass while you savour the views. Wine is also available to purchase and we just love the thought of cycling off along the Camel Trail with a bottle tucked away for later. You will have earned it after all!
For a hair-raising slice of Cornish history
If you’re anything like us, the spine-tingling intrigue of Bodmin Jail will be hard to resist. Visit the cold dank cells, look up at the thin rays of light filtering through a small barred window and imagine being sentenced to even a week in such desolation. You can also hear tales of the former inmates, see the execution pit and if you dare visit after dark, join a ghost walk. Guaranteed to fill you with adrenalin for another leg of the Camel Trail!
For marine wildlife
Quite literally on the doorstep of the start (or end) of the Camel Trail, the National Lobster Hatchery is an example of Cornish marine conservation at its best. This is where lobster stocks are given a helping hand by rearing baby lobsters from eggs and assisting them through their most vulnerable stage of their lifecycle before being released back into the wild around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Call into the Visitor Centre to learn about this important work, take part in family-friendly fishy activities and to meet the resident giant lobster and crabs.
For a refuel
For the ultimate Camel Trail indulgence we reckon fish and chips is pretty hard to beat and Rick Stein’s are right up there with the best. Choose from a menu of cod and haddock, together with a large range of local fish like hake, monkfish, John Dory and bass often landed right on the doorstep in Padstow, and join the gaggle of families propping up their bikes and feasting on the harbourside.
The Old Custom House, Padstow
For stylish pub grub washed down with award-winning St Austell Brewery ales, make a beeline for the Old Custom House. Positioned opposite the quayside in Padstow, this traditional pub is central to the hustle and bustle of town life and has long been a focal point for local fishermen. It’s also a recommended spot for picking up a local coffee at the onsite Brewer & Bean coffee shop.
- Bodmin / Padstow / Wadebridge
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