Two things about pretty Cornish harbour town Padstow strike you on arrival. One is its seafood – this is Britain’s seafood capital and home to celebrity chef Rick Stein, who has popularised sea fare and seems to own half the town’s establishments. The other is the imposing, Victorian edifice overlooking the harbour.

The Metropole Hotel, known simply as The Met, has stood guard from its commanding hillside position for over 100 years, when railways first opened up Cornwall to long-distance holidaymakers.

The grand old lady has been undergoing a grand makeover of late and offers a very comfortable four-star base from which to explore Padstow’s charming streets, literally steps away, or the area’s beautiful beaches.

The daily free afternoon tea, served in the Café Bar with fabulous harbour and Camel Estuary vistas, was very welcome after a tiring drive. Also welcome was the hotel car park – a rarity in the town. I parked right outside my ground floor Premier room, French doors opening onto the adjacent lawn making loading and unloading bags easy.

The Metropole Hotel  Padstow Cornwall bedroomc. reviewed by tlm - the travel & leisure magazine

The cosy room, on the hotel’s flank, had views of the estuary as well as Rick Stein’s famous Seafood Restaurant next door. The Met’s own AA-rosette Harbour Restaurant will satisfy any palate, serving up Cornish produce including locally-caught fish and lobster with wines including those of award-winning local winery Camel Valley. The friendly service was exemplary.

The Met looks across the river to Rock, former playground of princes Harry and William.
Padstow’s veteran “queen” may look stern as she gazes out, but inside beats a warm heart.


The Metropole Hotel

Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8DB

Tel: 0800 005 3903

Rooms from £152 B&B

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best for

  • Stunning views
  • Friendly service
  • Afternoon tea

could do better

  • Tired corridor decor

All prices and details were correct when published, please check before you visit.