Cornish charm is top of this menu; Postcard-perfect town won't cost the earth and provides great memories.
WITH no end in sight of the credit crunch, a trip to a celebrity-associated seaside haunt might not exactly be on the cards.
With its ubiquitous cafes, hotels, shops, restaurants and fish and chip shop run by chef Rick Stein, it's no surprise that Padstow has been nicknamed Padstein.
But there's no reason why penny-cautious Brummies should forgo this postcardperfect Cornish harbour town, thinking it's just a destination for the very rich.
The delightful Old Custom House Hotel, operated by the St Austell brewery chain, sits at the foot of a windy road just on the harbour front.
There is, however, no hotel parking, nor indeed any free parking in Padstow and a 12 hour-plus stay in the car park will cost around pounds 6.
After a welcoming checkin, I was shown to my first- floor suite complete with four poster bed and contemporary furnishings..
Sinking into the sofa, sipping tea while watching fishing boats bobbing up and down was the perfect tonic to a four-hour drive.
It may have been the end of January but the hotel was full of guests and alive with all the atmosphere of the festive season just past.
The hotel and adjoining pub is full of charm, wellrun and plays host to some top local talent to entertain visitors..
Eating in the hotel's restaurant, Pescadou, with tables facing the harbour was wonderful and judging by the bustling trade, many people, including locals, think so.
There are two or threecourse deals to be devoured all served with warm, fresh bread. The starters consist of soups and other tasty temptations but, for your main course, any trip to this part of the world would not be complete without trying some of the fished-out-ofthe-sea-that-day choices, all cooked to order in an openplan kitchen. Breakfast is also served in Pescadou and is the usual cooked or buffet fare, with fruits and cereals.
A host of attractions are nothing more than a stone's throw from the hotel. I took a walk along the Camel Trail, a flattish 16-mile path leading from Padstow to Wadebridge, with glorious views of the famed Cornish coast.
Around 15 miles from Padstow is the historic St Austell brewery which, apart from the distinctive black-andgold appearance, you can smell before you enter.
The brewery, founded by Cornishman Walter Hicks, runs hour-long tours into how the amber nectar has been produced since 1851.
All that talk of hops, secret springs and traipsing up stairs is thirsty work and visitors are treated to a pint or soft drinks in the Hicks Bar after the tour.
For those who have worked up an appetite, The White Hart Hotel in St Austell town, also owned by the brewery, dishes up a variety of lovely pub grub.
In the evening, I returned for another delicious meal at the hotel and reflected on my day in this lovely town.
A walk along the lovely coast, a fishing boat returning to the harbour, a cosy hotel; these things don't cost the earth but make priceless memories..
Old Custom House, South Quay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BL. Prices start from pounds 115 for a double or twin room, including breakfast. To book, call 01841 532 359 or 0845 241 1133. The hotel runs a range of offers and it is worth asking when reserving. St Austell Brewery has a number of hotels and traditional inns.
For further information and for reservations visit www.staustellbrewery.co.uk.
The Old Custom House, South Quay, Padstow.
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|Publication:||Birmingham Mail (England)|
|Date:||Apr 15, 2009|
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