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A trip on the Padstow to Rock ferry

We’re in Padstow for the day, it’s July and ice-cream beckons. So with a couple of hours to spare we could laze by the harbour… or… make it a bit more special. “Let’s go get an ice cream in Rock instead.”

Rock is the village and beachside on the other side of the estuary, and Padstow Harbour Commission run a legendary hop-on-hop-off ferry service pretty much all day and every day.

I queue at the cash point while Maria and a little friend we’ve borrowed for the day head down to the slipway to check the times… It turns out there are none as it’s high summer and the ferry simply shuttles to and fro all the time. We have only a few minutes to wait as we can see the ferry leaving from the Rock side of the estuary.


The harbourmaster shouts a joke to the speedboat crews about getting nicked. Jaws and Sea Fury look like great fun… with Fireball and Thunder they are the speedsters from Padstow Boat Trips. Slower options are available for wildlife watching and fishing.



Here comes our ferry! With just a hint of Saving Private Ryan… The landing craft approach to ferrying at Padstow makes perfect sense with the shallow water and beach or slipway landings.


It’s just like a Ro-Ro ferry but without the cars! Well, without a bar either. We’re on in seconds… It costs £4 return for adults and £2 for kids. Dogs go free (2015).


An inshore fishing boat pumps in up the channel, reminding us that Padstow is still very much a working fishing port. Beam trawlers, scallopers, gill netters and crabbers all operate from the port. Most fish that are landed are then ‘overlanded’ to the fish market at Newlyn, as Padstow has no commercial fish market of its own.



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Land Ho! The distant shore comes into view… looks like Rock has a beautiful beach.


… and looks like a great place to learn sailing too…


Preparing to make landfall…


And here comes the friendly invasion of day-trippers.


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Rock’s an active place. Powerboating, water skiing, wildlife watching, sailing, cycling… take your pick.



But for us, an ice cream will be just fine!

Marble Arch Cottage sleeps two and is a perfect bolt hole for a foodie, walking or romantic beak.