Padstow, known as 'Padstein' to some restaurant-goers, is the canonical North Cornwall fishing port. Like Honfleur, a posh version of the same thing in Normandy, Padstow now seems to be wholly dependent on tourism. Indeed, the pretty wooden fishing boats seem more intent on catching tourists than anything at scaley.
This tourist-focus is no bad thing if you have just arrived in town, late in the afternoon, and you need to find an affordable bed & breakfast. Naturally enough, the Padstow Tourist Information Centre is very efficient and has a whizzy new computer-based B&B booking system, with photos and directions and everything. Indeed, they found us a B&B with a double room for £16 each per night straight away.
Bed & breakfast
The B&B (1 Casworth Terrace, tel. 01841 532025) turned out to be clean, close and comfy, but slightly odd. The ideal B&B makes it feel as if you are staying at your grandmother's place; here is was more like staying at someone else's. Maybe it was just the lace doylies all over the place, and the lace outer shower curtain.
Fish & chips
Down on the quay, Walkers harbourside cafe seems to the best place to sample the local fish and chips and have a cup of tea. Unfortunately, we were too late in the evening for fish and chips, but the tea was really strong and served in proper mugs - just the thing.
Actually, missing out on the fish and chips was no bad thing because we ended up having a gorgeous meal at the Golden Lion pub, opposite the Cindrome on Lanadwell street - my scallop bake was fantastic. The Golden Lion is one of those cosy traditional pubs whose decor is very dark wood and plain white walls, like an inside-out pint of Guinness. You find these pubs all over the British Isles and they are invariably good friendly places.
Later on we went for a drink in the warm, comfy and seedy Harbour Inn, around the other side if the harbour. This is a real seaman's pub, with tasteless decor, old memorabilia, dodgy coloured lighting and cheap tables, as if they need to be replaced every now and then. The Harbour Inn was perfectly friendly to us, if a bit quiet, and there were no seamen to be seen. The best of the clutter, apart from the lump of wood with a ship's name that forms the mantlepiece, is the collection of sailors' hat ribbons, or whatever they are called.