For thousands of visitors each year, the fact that Fowey has a truly beautiful beach in Readymoney Cove goes without saying. But recently, I discovered that there’s a LOT of bad and outdated information out there about what to expect from Fowey when it comes to beaches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are more Cornish beach guides on the internet than you can shake a stick at and many of them are invaluable in helping new people (those of us who live in Cornwall as well as visitors from further afield) find out where the best beaches are, what the parking is like, what facilities are available and ultimately help readers answer the most important question of all: is this Cornish beach worth a visit? So, in the interests of getting the right information out there, I’m going to address some of the common misconceptions I’ve found online.
1. Does Fowey have a beach?
Absolutely it does, yes! Strictly speaking, more than one* but top of the pops is of course our wonderful Readymoney Cove, the location of my little shop and frankly in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall. I could wax lyrical about the wonders of Readymoney all day long but just look at the photos, isn’t it just the best? In fact why not look at it in real life by checking out our beach webcam, perfect for getting your fix of the sea wherever in the world you are.
In the summer visitors flock to Fowey in their thousands, safe in the knowledge that only a short, mainly flat, walk from their hotel or holiday cottage there is a safe family friendly sandy beach to while away the day.
One of the best bits about Readymoney (apart from the beach shop obviously) is the covered shelter overlooking the beach. Built in the 1930’s to mark the silver jubilee of George, it really comes into its own when the weather is decidedly more inclement. I recommend having a read of my previous blog posts about enjoying Readymoney in autumn and things to do in Fowey out of season, for some ideas and inspiration to help you plan your trip.
2. Can you swim in Fowey?
I discovered that a lot of the “Beaches in Cornwall” type guides suggest that you can only swim at Readymoney at low tide. Well, I can categorically confirm that this is very much not the case. As a small cove, the amount of beach at Readymoney does vary considerably with the tide but other than maybe a short period around high tide for a day or so during spring tides (once a fortnight when the moon and sun are in alignment, the Met Office can explain it better than I can) there is plenty of beach to go around. The stepped concrete area is rarely covered at high tide.
I started sea swimming back in 2021 and although I personally wouldn’t swim at high tide when it’s choppy (the waves do weird things off the sea walls) if the water is flatter then any tide will reward you with a wonderful dip in the sea. If the tide is low (sometimes it gets so low you can walk out to the swimming pontoon) then I recommend heading out towards the buoy line and doing laps from side to side. Utterly gorgeous at high tide, at low tide and at every tide in-between.
Although Readymoney is not a lifeguarded beach there are no rip tides, no steep drops and no hidden hazards so it’s a great place for a safe swim. The daily tide times can be found on our webcam page and we’ve got a beach information board outside on the shop wall giving you the sea & air temperature, wind info, tide tides and a jellyfish update so do check that if you are heading in for a dip. Also, as a designated bathing beach the water quality is tested by the Environment Agency between May and September, you can find the results here, it is usually "Excellent" but this will change after heavy rain.
3. Can you take your dogs on the beach in Fowey?
Now, I ought to cut the writers of these numerous Cornish beach guides some slack here as the rules have changed in recent years. It used to be the case that dogs were banned at Readymoney from Easter Sunday to 31st October each year but after an extensive public consultation Cornwall Council changed the rules for many Cornish beaches to bring them all (well not all, blue flag beaches and privately owned beaches are different) into line. Dogs are now welcome at Readymoney all the time other than between 10am and 6pm and in my humble view, it seems to have worked quite well.
At the time of writing Cornwall Council are running their consultation again, I wrote about it here where you’ll also find a link to the consultation (which runs until 23rd November 2022). I suspect things will stay much the same and we’ll continue to see a steady stream of happy pooches, hopefully with responsible owners! We’ve got free dog treats in the shop, special locally made doggie ice-cream and a stock of poo bags for emergencies so everything you need for a dog friendly trip to the beach in Fowey. Here's a link to our dog related info page.
4. Can you launch a boat from the beach in Fowey?
So, technically there is indeed a slipway which a lot of the Cornwall beach guides make reference to. You are allowed to launch non-motorised craft, such as kayaks, canoes and paddleboards but do bear in mind that these should be registered with Fowey Harbour Office and the relevant harbour duties paid, you can find more information here.
Readymoney Cove is a designated bathing area and there is a buoy line at the mouth of the cove plus a yellow fixed buoy with the word “no boats” on it meaning that motorised vessels are not permitted.
You absolutely cannot drive onto the beach itself to launch anything and if your boat has an engine on it, you should not launch it from the beach or bring it around the end of the buoy line into the cove from the river. Even if you row it in or out, that’s very much not allowed and the Harbour Patrol will undoubtedly pop up for a stern word.
5. Are the toilets at Readymoney open all year round?
This is another historical misconception dating back to before I took over the Readymoney site. You can read more here about how I came to be the proud owner of a set of public toilets but since March 2017, there has been at least one toilet open every day (apart from during lockdown but that’s different). Between November and March the disabled toilet is open 24/7 for everyone to use and during April to October there are also two additional unisex toilets available during shop hours.
Our toilets are completely free of charge and available for every beach visitor or passing walker to use, whether you are a shop customer or not. We do have a donations box and trust me, every penny really does help keep these facilities up and running (you should see my water bill). We’ve got some refurbishments planned for winter 2022/23 to improve the facilities further as they are a little dated and there’s only so much you can do with bunting!
It’s not just the toilets which are open all year round either, the beach shop is open every day except Christmas Day and you’ll find our opening hours here. So if you’re looking for delicious Cornish ice-cream, deluxe warming hot chocolates, proper Cornish pasties and a fantastic range of locally sourced gifts from Cornwall then come on down, we’d be delighted to see you. You can find more information about what we sell here or browse our online shop here.
I think we really do have the best Fowey beach location and I’m very proud of what we’ve built from a grotty old toilet block, just check out our TripAdvisor and Google reviews here for honest opinions from other visitors, we won a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice award for the second time in a row recently so don't just take our word for it!
You can find information about our location and nearest parking here and if you can’t make it down to Fowey quite yet, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook or sign up to my weekly newsletter, see you on the beach soon!
*Fowey’s other beach is Whitehouse, just off the Esplanade on the way to Readymoney. You do need the right tide here but jumping off the wall at high tide is a popular past-time for locals and visitors alike. There is a much loved 1920’s tidal paddling pool at Whitehouse currently awaiting restoration as part of a regeneration project of the area but at present, the paddling pool is unsafe for use and there are no facilities at Whitehouse other than a covered shelter. Despite what the online guides might say about toilets, they closed in 2013 and are yet to reopen. There are other beaches nearby but they involve either a longer walk or a boat, more info here from our friends at Fowey River Hire.