It's December and here in Fowey we're all feeling terribly festive after a smattering of snow last week. It doesn't often snow here (and causes chaos when it does) so it was a great excuse for everyone to take some wintery photographs. Here's all the essential info you need about Christmas in Fowey.
Fowey Christmas Market
The biggest highlight in the Fowey Christmas calendar is the Fowey Christmas Market weekend which this year opens at 5.30pm on Friday 8th December and closes at 4pm on Sunday 10th December. If you've visited Fowey Christmas Market before and wondered why the dates change each year (most similar events are fixed) well it's because of the tides. Read on... ⬇️
A Short Lesson in Tides
As you may know, the height of the tide varies throughout the month depending upon on the position of the moon. When the Sun, Moon and Earth are all in alignment their combined gravitational force causes a bulging effect which means that the tides are higher and lower than average, this is known as spring tides. When the Moon faces the Earth at a right angle to the sun the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun work against each other and we get neap tides when the tidal range is much smaller. For Fowey, this means our highest tides are just shy of 6m and our lowest tides just above 0m. At Readymoney a high spring tide means that the beach and steps will be completely covered and at a low spring tide, you'll be able to walk out and touch the swimming pontoon (or buoy) without getting your feet wet! You can check the daily tide heights for Fowey on our webcam page here.
When the organising team start planning Christmas in Fowey (usually in January, no rest for the wicked!) the tide heights are checked and of the three potential weekends (usually the last weekend in November and the first two weekends in December) the one with the lowest average tide height is chosen. This is critical because both of the marquees hosting the market traders' stalls are on Fowey's quaysides: the gift marquee on Town Quay (outside the King of Prussia, The Legion and Haveners) and the food & drink stall is on Albert Quay (next to the Harbour Offices, where the main pontoon is during boating season). If the tide is high and the wind is in the wrong direction there is a risk of "overtopping" - when the tide floods the lower areas of the town, like it did back in October. This would be disastrous for market traders with stalls of stock and generators etc.
Christmas in Fowey
Science lesson over, the Fowey Christmas Market truly makes for a brilliantly festive weekend and includes Fowey's Christmas lights being switched on by Father Christmas who arrives by tug boat and leads Fowey Town Band (dressed as as elves of course) through the streets to the churchyard. There will be carols and other festive touches and it is just lovely. Busy though so plan ahead and bear in mind that the road through Fowey will be closed completely for the duration of the Santa parade and light switch on.
The beach shop will be open as usual (our current hours are 10am to 4pm everyday) and on Sunday we're hosting a Storytime with Santa session in the beach shelter from 10.30-11.30am. No charge to attend so do come along if you can, we'll have festive treats aplenty. The provisional dates for the 2024 Fowey Christmas Market are 22nd to 24th November so pop those in your diary now so you don't miss out.
Christmas Gifts from Fowey
We've also got lots of lovely locally sourced Christmas cards and gift ideas in the shop (and online). If you buy 10 Christmas cards online you'll get the cheapest one free (discount will be applied automatically). Our last ordering date for Christmas 2023 is Sunday 17th December. Any orders placed after that will be posted as soon as possible but Christmas delivery cannot be guaranteed. It doesn't look like we have postal strikes to deal with this year so that helps too.
Our Christmas Opening Times
Did you know that the beach shop is open everyday except Christmas Day? From Monday 11th December we will be opening at 9.30am and closing at the slightly earlier time of 3.30pm everyday so if you are spending Christmas in Fowey then do take a wander down to Readymoney and see us. Our full hours over Christmas and New Year are below:
Christmas Eve: 9.30am to 3pm
Christmas Day: CLOSED
Boxing Day: 10am to 3pm
27th to 30th December: 9.30am to 3.30pm
New Years Eve: 9.30am to 3pm
New Year's Day: 9.30am to 3pm
2nd January onwards: 10am to 3.30pm everyday
Readymoney New Year's Day Swim
For several years a popular New Year's Day Swim event was held at Readymoney as a fundraiser for a cancer charity set up in memory of a local girl, Beth. After lots of dedicated fundraising, the Beth's Inspiration team stepped back and the swim was instead arranged by various volunteers (including me at one point) to fundraise for local charities such as Fowey RNLI and Cornwall Hospice Care.
However, arranging a big swimming event has been become increasingly more complicated over the years with much more red tape required in terms of paperwork, permissions, safety considerations and insurance, as well as getting volunteers on the ground on the day to actually make the event happen. Also, with the huge boost in the popularity of sea swimming all year round, the novelty value of running screaming into the sea on a cold winter's day has worn off a bit as so many people do it regularly (me included!). All of the above means that sadly, there is no longer a charity New Years Day swim at Readymoney Cove.
That said, New Year's Day at Readymoney always has just the loveliest community atmosphere with locals and visitors spending Christmas in Fowey alike congregating at the beach to enjoy a chilly dip. The charity swim used to take place at midday and this seems to have stuck in the minds of many as the time to aim for but there's usually a steady stream of keen beans all day long. We'll be on hand with hot drinks, pastries, delicious homemade cakes and even mugs of soup so do come and join us if you can.
Christmas in Fowey is always such a wonderful time and its always lovely to see the town absolutely buzzing with festive cheer before the inevitable slowdown in January. But never fear, Fowey absolutely remains open for business all year round and although the streets will be quieter, most of our shops (including ours) and food businesses will still be open ready to welcome you.
Merry Christmas from Fowey and Happy New Year!