Presiding over the picturesque River Camel in mid-Cornwall, Wadebridge is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to experience the myriad of sights and scenes available in this gorgeous part of the Duchy.
The traditional Cornish market town is situated slightly inland a mere eight miles from the north coast and five miles upstream from foodies’ favourite Padstow, giving visitors a convenient base from which to explore the town and surrounding areas, or even further afield.
Families will delight in the sheer variety on offer, while couples can discover Cornwall’s rural hinterland or escape to the nearby coast in search of quiet coves, picturesque estuaries and pristine beaches.
Wadebridge and its surrounding area is a fabulous hotchpotch of a place, with visitors discovering everything from world class dining venues to Doc Martin territory, dramatic moorlands, scenic riverscapes, sweeping sands and spectacular shopping.
Here’s the round up of our favourite things to do in and around Wadebridge...
If it’s a slice of the action you crave, or you want to expel some of the kids’ excess energy, there’s oodles of options to get everyone moving in and around Wadebridge.
South West Coast Path
The famous route by-passes historic sites, lands of myth and legend, hidden coves and gorgeous greenery, offering walkers some top-notch hiking routes. Any part of the Marsland to Newquay section will treat you to staggering views and unforgettable sights including Boscastle’s historic harbour, Tintagel’s medieval castle and home of King Arthur, Padstow’s fishing port and breath-taking beaches, and Newquay’s beautiful bay.
You might also want to track from the north to the south coast via The Saint’s Way (or Forth an Syns) - a 27 mile-long route from Padstow to Fowey where you’ll encounter river, tor, ancient towns and villages, scenic farmland and historic standing stones.
Set sail with Wavehunters (who pick up from Padstow, Port Isaac, or Rock), and embark upon a choice of boat trips from sea safaris that give you the chance to sail with dolphins to trips all the way along the grand and historic north Cornish coast.
One of the best days out in Cornwall, this 18-mile long, traffic-free route presents a brilliant multi-use track for walkers, horse-riders, runners and cyclists to explore the area and take in the multitude of oh-so pretty sights. Following a disused railway line between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow, expect estuary-wide views, magical wooded valleys, stirring moorlands and wildlife aplenty. You'll finish the trail next to our lovely Wadebridge office, which is also next to the seriously tempting Doughnut Addict so you can treat yourself to a post-cycle gourmet doughnut... or two!
Surfing, supping, wild swimming, windsurfing, coasteering, canoeing... the list of watersports to be found in the area is sure to please all types of aquaphile. Kayak the River Camel, ride the waves at Polzeath (or try FlowRider at Retallack Resort), or venture to Liskeard for Adrenalin Quarry: the biggest aqua park in the southwest.
Picturesque places to visit...
Can’t decide between country and coast? No problem, because Wadebridge boasts it all.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Marine Conservation Zone, the Camel Estuary is the jewel in north Cornwall’s crown. Walking, birdwatching, watersports and sprawling oneself onto the beaches strewn throughout the estuary are all ways to enjoy the spectacular natural feature.
Sail and waterski at hipster haunt, Rock, jump aboard the ferry for a trip across the estuary from Rock to Padstow, walk to the picturesque sands of Porthilly, and soak up the atmosphere and surf spray at Polzeath.
Immerse yourself in the vast and unspoilt moorlands for a rural escape surrounded by nature. Hike up Cornwall’s highest point of Brown Willy and set your compass for historic must-sees including The Hurlers standing stones, the Cheesewring tor, and the village of Minions now made famous by the children’s film title of the same name.
Take your pick from pretty stretches, tranquil coves, popular surf beaches and the spectacular South West Coast Path, all of which form the north Cornish coastline. Head east for Bude, Boscastle, Tintagel and the Doc Martin setting of Port Isaac, or follow the river to the coast for the coveted likes of Polzeath and Padstow. Westward past Trevose Head lies the beautiful Treyarnon, Porthcothan and Mawgan Porth, or track further west for Newquay and its sweeping coastal treasures.
A definite to-do is the north coast destination of Daymer Bay, which remains one of the most lusted-after locales owing to its lush hills, rolling sand dunes and powdery sands, where you can also find the grave of famous poet laureate Sir John Betjeman in the grounds of St Enodoc Church.
Toward Bodmin lies the forested adventure that is, Cardinham Woods. Boasting an array of facilities including parking, toilets and an on-site Woods Cafe, visitors can explore the awe-inspiring valley in a variety of ways. Embark upon the Superworm Trail, cycle, walk or mountain bike a route of your choice, or pack a hamper and find a scenic spot for a picnic amongst the glades.
If you wish to entertain the kids, explore a piece of Cornish culture or tick off a must-see from your checklist, there’s an array of attractions on offer.
Trevibban Mill Vineyard
Trevibban Mill, Padstow PL27 7SE
Take the time out of a busy schedule to escape to the exotic climes of Trevibban Mill, which promises to treat the senses to a particularly pleasing day out. The dog friendly vineyard and orchard is located just outside Padstow, providing the perfect space to sit and admire the country views while sipping on a glass of their finest. Take a tour, book a table for lunch, stock up on supplies - and relax. It’s also the location for Appleton’s Bar & Restaurant, should you fancy an extra culinary treat.
And if you wish to continue your wine tour of the area, Camel Valley Vineyard lies just outside Bodmin in Nanstallon, where you can take a tour before quaffing a glass of their award-winning wine on the sun terrace while gazing at glorious country views.
Berrycoombe Rd, Bodmin PL31 2NR
Bodmin Jail was built for King George III in 1779 and is now a popular historical site and visitor attraction offering an exciting range of experiences making it one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Cornwall. With a recent injection of £8.5 million, the brand new ‘Dark Walk’ experience uses state-of-the-art technology for the most immersive way to explore the buildings and their intriguing history. Then there’s the After Dark Experience: a six hour all-night paranormal journey and ghost hunting tour that is simply something else.
Bodmin and Wenford Railway
General Station, Harleigh Rd, Bodmin PL31 1AQ
The dog friendly heritage railway runs a series of steam locomotives across two branch lines between Bodmin General, Bodmin Parkway and Boscarne Junction. Admire gorgeous surrounds including Halgavor Moor and Bodmin Beacon while tucking into a cream tea, alight for a walk through Cardinham Woods, or find somewhere scenic to sit and scoff a pre-packed picnic.
Events to experience...
One of the best ways to enjoy the culture and personality of a place is to attend an event, and the social calendar of Wadebridge and its surrounds certainly won’t disappoint visitors keen to immerse themselves in a spot of live music, local cuisine or fun activities.
Royal Cornwall Show
Whitecross, Wadebridge PL27 7JE
Drawing visitors from near and far, the Royal Cornwall Show is one of the biggest events in the area’s calendar. It’s an agricultural affair – so expect a swathe of animals, flower shows and plenty of Cornish grown, reared and produced food alongside a host of entertainment from show jumping and motocross displays to driving competitions, grand parades, a Shetland Pony Grand National and much more.
Rock Oyster Festival
Dinham House, St Minver, Wadebridge PL27 6RH
Taking place on the beautiful banks of the Camel Estuary, Jack Stein and Friends presents this food, drink and entertainment extravaganza with an extra focus on family and wellbeing. Indulge in top-notch food and drink, live music, family activities like foraging walks, crafting workshops, forest school and surf trips, and wellbeing pursuits including yoga, wild running, beach fitness sessions and mindfulness.
Cornwall Folk Festival
Wadebridge’s celebrated event unites artists and fans from across the globe during this folk fest like no other. On stage, the best folk performers will wow the crowds, while Festival Community Folk Orchestra Workshops builds an orchestra, and the special Betjeman Sessions showcases solos, duos and trios from Cornwall and the rest of the region. And don’t forget to find Shanty Street for free live music and dance amongst Wadebridge’s town centre streets including bands, choirs, dance troupes and shanty singers.
Food and drink to savour...
In Wadebridge, a host of cafés, restaurants and bars await visitors looking for some local flavour. Head to Craftworks for burgers, burritos, tacos and dirty fries, or refresh at Relish Food & Drink for a coffee and fresh deli snacks.
The Little Gin Shack is the place to be for anyone partial to the tipple, while traditional pub grub is served up in style at The Earl of St Vincent, seafood is on the menu at The Stepping Stone – or you can sneak to Behind the Bike Sheds for a mouth-watering meal from the takeaway food hatch. Enjoy tapas, breakfast and bagels at dog friendly Delicia, seek out Route 39 for American style dining, or tuck into a cream tea from vintage china at The Old Tea House. A flavour for all can be found in the town.
Out of town culinary highlights include Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 and his sister enterprise, Caffe Rojano; Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant (one of the best seafood restaurants in Cornwall), Café and St Petroc’s Bistro; Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen (and Outlaw’s); and Emily Scott’s treasure, The St Tudy Inn.
Check out our fabulous portfolio of holiday cottages in Wadebridge and start exploring this wonderful ancient town.