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Discover more in Fowey
Find everything you need for a memorable holiday in the stunning Cornish harbour town of Fowey.
With its narrow, winding streets packed with independent shops and stunning views from every hilltop, Fowey is a dream of a place to get away from it all, with plenty of opportunities to get out on the shimmering, blue water. The centre of town offers a labyrinth of narrow, medieval streets and buildings to explore, set alongside more recent Georgian architecture. Here you’ll find a multitude of independent shops offering unique gifts, clothing and books as well as a number of art galleries.
“Fresh seawater is pumped in daily at high tide and children will love the touch pool where they can handle crabs, shrimp and more…”
Stop off at the Fowey Museum to delve deeper into the town’s maritime and literary past, and visit the town aquarium where the exhibits are all native species found around the Cornish coast. Local fishermen have brought in most of the fish here and you’ll find conger eel, brill, turbot, bream, bass and pollock.
Fresh seawater is pumped in daily at high tide and children will love the touch pool where they can handle crabs, shrimp and more. The deep-water harbour and estuary make Fowey a magnet for fans of sailing and other water sports and taking to the water is a must. Sightseeing boats depart regularly from the Town Quay steps, or you can hire a self-drive boat, kayak, open canoe or even try a spot of stand-up paddle boarding out on the big blue.
The passenger ferry across to Polruan also operates daily, linking you to a charming village where the cottages cling to the hillside. The Headland Garden is well worth a look if you visit on a Thursday afternoon between May and August. The unique position of this cliff side paradise means it has an almost subtropical climate where ferns, palms, echiums and other exotic varieties thrive.
From Polruan you can also access popular walks on the South West Coast Path in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Hall Walk is one of the most popular routes in Cornwall; a four-mile circular walk with two ferry crossings. It’s an exceptional, scenic tour through National Trust Woodland and with panoramic views of Fowey Harbour as well as the local inlets and creeks. There are some steep sections but plenty of benches on hand to allow regular breathers.
Heritage-lovers can indulge themselves exploring a host of fortifications in and around Fowey. St Catherine’s Castle keeps watch over Readymoney Cove – walk up there from the water’s edge and you’ll pass the cottage where novelist Daphne Du Maurier lived with her three children in the early 1940s (she has many other connections with the town which there are lots of clues for literary-types to track down).
Built in the early 1500s by Henry VIII as a defence against the French, you can still see the main keep at St Catherine’s as well as a two-gun battery added during the Crimean War in 1855 and additional modifications made during World War Two.
Restormel Castle in nearby Lostwithiel is a remarkably preserved round castle set on an earlier Norman mound with a moat surrounding it. And you can step further back in time at Castle Dore – an Iron Age Hill fort that excavations reveal has been occupied since the 4-5th Century BC.
Then return again to Fowey and to the medieval period with a trip to see a 14th Century blockhouse. Two of these structures still exist, flanking each side of the Fowey River: a chain was once suspended between them to close off the harbour. The chain is long gone but the blockhouses remain and the one at Polruan can be visited on foot.
Fowey hosts some major events throughout the year celebrating the town’s maritime and literary prowess. Visit in May to enjoy the Festival of Arts & Literature (formerly the Du Maurier Festival) featuring talks and workshops, concerts and recitals, arts trails, open gardens and more.
In December you’ll find lovely local gifts and a chance to visit Father Chrismas at the popular Christmas markets. Brave souls can make a splash at the charity New Year’s Day swim at Readymoney Cove.
Don’t miss the jewel in the crown – Fowey Royal Regatta – which attracts visitors from around the world for a packed programme of events on and off the water.
Places to Eat
You’re spoilt for choice for a breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea stop-off in Fowey with a host of great cafés to choose from. We love the fish finger sandwiches at the Lifebuoy Café, and the authentic Georgian vintage interiors at The Dwelling House make it the perfect setting for afternoon tea.
Be sure to sample some local delicacies while you’re in town – Fowey River mussels and Cornish pasties are a must.
Try Sam’s for a great Cornish seafood experience and pop into Kittos Deli for a proper pasty and some amazing cuts of meat for your barbecue from a proper local butcher.
Fancy an ice cream? Don’t miss Sundaes for a huge variety of gourmet flavours and options from cones to proper ‘knickerbockerglories’ to eat in or take away. Kids love the sweetie sundaes with a selection of ice creams, sweets and sauce and we’re big fans of the honeycomb and the raspberry ripple.
"Fresh seawater is pumped in daily at high tide and children will love the touch pool where they can handle crabs, shrimp and more..."