Known for its prevalence of independent shops and eateries, you’re never far from something worth visiting. Restaurant owners and gifted chefs migrate along the river bringing some serious culinary know-how along with them, and there’s a strong focus on community spirit – there’s more to this town than just the Camel Trail.
Shopping and Seeing
I’m told Wadebridge is in the running for having the most independent businesses on a single street, wrestling with Bristol’s Whiteladies Road for the title. You can imagine then the distinct lack of dull chain stores found often found occupying the majority of street space elsewhere. Take a stroll down The Platt and you’ll find Baker Tom’s fourth shop serving artisan breads, pastries and fresh coffee to take away, and just a few colourful doors down The Vine, a traditional greengrocers stocking barrels full of fruit and veg from local growers. Continue to the end of the road and you can’t miss The Regal cinema, also independently run, where you’ll find live screenings of performances by National Theatre Live, Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Opera House, as well as the usual blockbuster line-up. If you’re of the musical persuasion nip onto Polmorla Walk and see the many weird and wonderful specialist items stocked by Hobgoblin Music. I put in a request to manager Brian Flexman for a sitar demo, but my favourite of all instruments had to be the shiny, tiny, silver resonator ukulele.
There are a few furniture and antique stores dotted about, but the most stylish of these has to be Acorn Antique Interiors on Eddystone Road who can beautifully restore old pieces to your liking. You’ll find furniture from here in the strikingly decorated Little Plates Bar & Eatery, just up the road from my favourite new shop in Wadebridge. Owned by Alex Simmons, Wadebridge Flowers is a sweet little treasure trove of inspiration and beautiful blooms. Her plants and containers are frequently sourced from Covent Garden, and the counter constructed out of wooden wine crates from a trip to France, simply because she couldn’t find an ordinary counter she liked. Alex generously sent me away with a mound of moss and pro advice on how to keep stems hidden in my new tank vase.
Eating and Drinking
You’re only ever a stones throw away from a pub in Wadebridge, but the one really worth going to is just over the bridge. Venture to the other side of the river to The Ship Inn for gourmet pub grub on every level. The bar snacks are not of your average variety, note the Kernow Sausage Company hot dog, and main meals cooked to perfection are supplemented with wholesome specials to suit every taste. If you’re lucky and happen to visit when The Shipwrecks are enjoying a pint after their singing practice, you may even be treated to a sea shanty or two.
Relish Food & Drink tucked in Foundry Court is a great place to stop for a quick bite in the café before picking up a few treats in the deli to take home. They serve Origin Coffee, Vicky’s Bread (a major rival to the aforementioned Baker Tom’s) and a triple decker club sandwich, all of which you can enjoy from your seat in the courtyard. Like your drinks served with acoustic music and surf films? Try Hewitt’s Bar & Kitchen on Molesworth Street.
If you’ve been out adventuring all day and really just want to put your feet up, all you need to do is pick up a few essentials for a simple dinner. I recommend fresh crab from The Old Forge Fish Shop, A loaf of Baker Tom’s carrot and mustard seed bread, thickly sliced with lashings of butter, and a crisp, chilled white from Wadebridge Wines. Enormous and stacked to the ceilings with local beers and wines, the staff are fantastic when it comes to helping you choose your tipple. Try out the enormous chair impressively carved from a sweet chestnut tree while you’re there.
In town for a few days? Wadebridge is handily close to the Royal Cornwall Show (held on the 5th – 7th of June, always a great opportunity to stock up on local goodies), and GCG recommend a locally sourced breakfast feast at nearby Strong Adolfo’s to set you up for the day ahead. If livestock and flower shows aren’t your thing, the Camel Valley Vineyard is just 20 minutes drive from Wadebridge, with guided tours being held throughout the summer.