The library of Prideaux Place in Padstow, a historical manor house. The family managed to turn the property into a business and it is now open to visitors and regularly used for car rallies, art exhibitions, concerts, open air theater shows and TV productions.
Cornwall – Fact Check

Padstow, as seen on TV

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Cornwall – Fact Check Padstow, as seen on TV

Padstow is possibly the most lively and dynamic fishing village on the northern coast of Cornwall.

Helen Conijn
Helen Conijn

Small streets with medieval houses lead to the small harbor. The village was made famous by Rick Stein, one of England’s most famous TV chefs. For many, his Seafood Restaurant is reason enough to visit Padstow. Stein’s Fish & Chips, a takeaway, offers a cheaper option than the restaurant and has a long line of customers waiting who sit around the harbor wall nearby to enjoy this typical British treat.

The chef has also opened two other restaurants in the area, as well as a cooking school, a delicatessen and guest rooms in several old buildings. The spread of his empire is a source of resentment for some locals whose own businesses have suffered, but many have also prospered. The village has been dubbed ‘Padstein’ as a tribute by fans and resentfully by foes.

After over-eating, I take a short ride on the Camel Trail: a bicycle and walking path following a former railroad track inland for some 30 km through spectacular scenery from Padstow back to Bodmin. A number of companies offer bike hire and the route, being once used by trains, has no intense gradients to test the fitness of novice riders.

Padstow is also the hometown of the Prideaux-Brunes family – with a history, and an estate, that few other families can match. Their home has been in the family for 400 years and the origins of this Cornish clan can be traced back to the Viking Age. Their son William was even named after his 26-times great-grandfather, William the Conqueror.

Despite its elegant name, Prideaux Place is still lived in to this day. The estate has been used as a site for several period film productions and various TV shows, which represents just one of the many ways to generate additional income for the seemingly endless renovations the estate requires. When Elizabeth and Peter moved to the 88-room house in 1988, the entire building was in need of restoration. It is a sheer pleasure to wander through the rooms, where not a single “Do not touch” sign can be found.

Peter can speak for hours about the place, offering up ghost stories and tales of the British royal family. He is a long-time friend of Camilla Parker-Bowles, named Duchess of Cornwall after marrying Prince Charles. The queen’s eldest son always inherits the Duchy of Cornwall, which spans some of the most beautiful and wealthiest land in England – both in Cornwall and Devon as well as in other counties.

The duchy, which has the right of wreck on all ships wrecked on the Cornish coast, generates more than $25million each year for the Prince of Wales but is exempt from corporation tax. Cornwall’s smuggler spirit of avoiding taxes lives on.

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