Folded into a neat little inlet on the River Camel, Padstow still thrums with the energy of fishing trawlers, seafood markets and lobster pens. It's risen to become one of Cornwall's best-loved holidaying retreats over the decades, promising hearty trips of pasty eating, an enthralling and lived-in seaside harbour and just a whiff of refinement in its celebrity cooking kitchens. Use this guide as a companion to booking Padstow cottages, whether in the marina itself or close to the wild beaches nearby.

The styles of Padstow cottages

The rich heritage and fishing character of the cottages in this salty town promise a South West holiday to remember. Varying stays have other features that might be welcome.

Quaint cottages in Padstow harbour

Whether it's a crooked fisherperson hut-come-rental or a stone-faced terrace with a cosy lounge, you can expect plenty in the way of authentic Cornish architecture in old Padstow. Inside, the theme is continued with exposed-beam ceilings, wood-burning stoves and original fireplaces.

Luxurious Padstow cottages are also available

The haute seafood cuisine and celebrity-endorsed kitchens of Padstow have garnered the town something of a jet-setter following. The upshot is that many of the cottage rentals here now cater to the monied crowd, so you'll never be too far from a sumptuous lounge or a designer cooking space. The plushest of the lot also tend to have luxuries like outdoor decks with a view and even warming hot tubs in the garden.

Dog-friendly Padstow cottages

There's room for an extra 4 paws in plenty of Padstow's cottages. Just be aware that the compact nature of many of the older homes in the historic heart of the town mean there's rarely a garden space. For enclosed outdoor areas, you might need to move to the villages on the estuary or headlands to the east or south.

Some areas in and around Padstow to consider

To get a feel for the various areas of Padstow and which corners you might enjoy the most, consider these 3 possible parts of the town and its vicinity.

A cottage right by Padstow harbour

To wake to the sound of the creaking fishing boats and the marine bells, there's really nowhere better to seek out your Padstow cottage than on the harbour itself. Small and tight-knit, there's not an overload of options here. The ones that are available pop up between pasty bakeries and tearooms, fudge shops and narrow cobbled alleys, promising a stay that's steeped in character.

South of Padstow harbour

A whole kaleidoscope of other Padstow cottages pop up in the winding lanes that filter off from the harbourside to the south. They're tucked between handsome churches and lobster hatcheries, with steep-gabled roofs and cosy interiors, not to mention decks with views across the Camel River.

Consider lovely Trevone

A mere 40-minute walk or an 8-minute drive up the Camel banks from Padstow harbour will bring you to the sleepy, salt-washed village of Trevone. A clutch of authentic 19th-century cottages studs the headland there, putting you near the seafood restaurants and the meandering South West Coast Path that tops rocks of Trevone Bay.

Getting a great deal on Padstow cottages

With all those packed Cornish pasties to purchase and fine-dining seafood cuts to enjoy, you might want to ensure you don't pay over the odds for a cottage in this charming little fishing town. The 3 tips below can help with that.

Book Padstow cottages before they all get reserved

Padstow isn't a big place, but it's hugely popular with holidaymakers between June and August. That means the limited number of boltholes can get filled up fast, so you'd be wise to try and secure yours as early as possible. Being prepared can also help on the bargain front, because more homes to choose from means more chance of a great deal.

Come to Padstow in spring or autumn

The bistros and the tearooms of Padstow fill to bursting in the summer. The crowds also crank up cottage rates. That leaves winter, when things are cold and many of the boutiques can be closed, spring, or autumn. The latter 2 are perfect for budget-conscious travellers, offering more affordable prices even on homes close to the harbourside.

Forgo a stay on the marina of Padstow

The enchanting quays of Padstow's centre are bound to be the thing you remember most about this hearty Cornish fishing town. However, you won't need a rental that's right by the boats to make the most of it. You could stay in nearby villages like Trevone or Little Petherick to be in for better rates.