How to spend the perfect day in Fowey
A day spent in Fowey is a day well spent, any time of the year.
Our little town gets very busy during the summer but most of the things I’ve mentioned here can be enjoyed all year round and I secretly prefer Fowey when it’s quieter and you can really take in the sights: the beautiful front doors, the higgledy-piggledy buildings and the hidden glimpses of the water down tiny passageways. To quote Alfred Wainwright, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” so pack for every weather condition (apart from snow, we don't really do snow round here) and you'll be fine.
First things first
Arrive early! Our carparks fill up quickly during busy periods. It is a fairly flat walk from Caffa Mill, Readymoney and Old Station Yard carparks. Main Carpark involves a bit of a hill climb back up but the Town Bus Service is a great alternative. If you catch the bus into Fowey then it's well worth getting off at the very top of town to visit Fowey's very special Pretty Bus Stop, decorated by local volunteers with a regularly changing theme, this is hands down the best bus stop in the world. If you arrive before everyone else whether by bus or car you’ll have time for my first top tip: Breakfast at Brown Sugar. This is a great family run business opposite the church in the centre of town, with two floors. They now have a brilliant tiki style outside dining area too. My favourite on their menu is pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, yum! If you are visiting during Fowey Food Week (sadly not running until 2022...) then Brown Sugar always knock it out of the park with their themed menus, don’t miss out.
Out and about
After a hearty breakfast I would recommend taking a walk around our beautiful town and taking in the sights of the harbour. Fowey has Instagrammable opportunities around every corner. There is activity on the water all year round: racing from Fowey’s two special class of boats, the Troys and the Fowey Rivers (watch out for the latter’s stunning colourful sails); huge china clay ships and enormous cruise liners, both shepherded by majestic tugs along the harbour’s deep water channel. You can't miss the bright orange Polruan ferry, perfect for a visit over to “the sunny side” and some great photo opportunities en route; the bright orange lifeboats either out on a shout or on one of their regular training sessions and a wide variety of pleasure boats, kayaks, paddleboards and traditional Cornish rowing gigs (listen for the therapeutic clunk of the wooden oars).
If you are visiting during the holiday season, you might want to pay a visit to Fowey’s brilliant little aquarium (say hello to the octopus!) or take a 45 minute boat tour around the harbour (find both on Town Quay) , head out across St Austell Bay on the dolphin-whispering Mevagissey to Fowey ferry or hop on the Fowey Town Tour land train for a great way of discovering hidden parts of the town.
Stretch your legs
If you like a scenic walk then the Hall Walk is an absolute must with stunning views over the estuary. We tend to start the walk in Bodinnick by travelling as foot passengers on the car ferry from Caffa Mill and ending the walk in Polruan with a drink at The Lugger pub before catching the foot ferry back to Fowey. This is a 4 mile (6km) walk with a few steep sections but lots of benches to rest and admire the views. We often take a picnic to sit and eat by the bridge at Pont Pill, roughly half way round. I do not recommend walking this route in Crocs (for various reasons…) as I once did many years ago. If you're ending the walk at Caffa Mill then don't miss Fowey's "seafood quarter" with North Street Kitchen and Captain Hanks Crab Shack at Berrills Yard (where the lifeboat is). I'm a bit obsessed with the crab bon bons at Captain Hanks, with tarragon mayo on the side, delish!
If you want a less strenuous but equally view-rich walk then I recommend taking the Esplanade out from the town centre along to Readymoney Cove and then up to St Catherine’s Castle. There are steps up from the beach between Easter and late October but if it’s high tide or the steps aren’t out then you take the path signposted for The Saints Way up between the cottages and turn left to head up to the Castle. This is just about manageable with a buggy if you have a decent set of wheels but is not wheelchair friendly. St Catherine’s Castle is more of a ruined fort than a castle as such but it’s open 24/7 and free to access and there are some great views from the top although do be careful with children and dogs as there are steep drops onto the cliffs below.
Whichever walk you choose, you will definitely have earned yourself an ice-cream and a rest so why not pop in to see us at the beach shop. We have an excellent selection of Cornish-made ice-cream from two independent small scale Cornish producers, Moomaid of Zennor (based near St Ives) and Gerry’s Originals (based in Launceston). We’ve got great coffee too, using our bespoke blend roasted just around St Austell Bay by Mevagissey Coffee. Our cakes are homemade made by my talented friend and neighbour Fiona or by BB's Gluten Free Bakery in Truro and we have Proper Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and vegan rolls with vegan ice-cream, non-dairy milks and snack options also available. We also have an ever growing range of locally made gifts and souvenirs.
Eating and drinking
As you head back into town I would recommend popping into either the Harbour Hotel for a drink in their exotically refurbished bar with amazing panoramic views over the harbour or grabbing a table for a glass of wine at tapas bar Pintxo before hitting our brilliant range of independent shops where you will be hard pushed not to come away with something beautiful for your home, the perfect birthday gift for friend or family or a little treat for yourself! I love White Doll Arts for quirky ceramics, Liga Eco Store (formerly known as The Clementine) for housewares and Shrew Books (formerly Bookends) for a beautifully curated selection of reading materials for all ages and interests. New kid on the block Just Jonah is also worth a visit for gorgeous children's gifts and clothing.
Dinner choices in Fowey have ramped up significantly recently with the addition of Fitzroy, where beautifully presented seasonal food is the name of the day, Appleton’s with Italian influenced fine dining and Bufala for authentic pizza (make sure you also order the burrata!) to eat in or take away. Sam’s has been a Fowey stalwart since 1988 and their big plates of seafood and amazing burgers will be a hit with the whole family, I particularly like their cocktail menu! Havener’s on the Town Quay is always a popular choice, their al fresco tables are particularly good for watching the world go by.
Another dinner option you might not have considered is Sunny Spice on Fore Street, specialising in South Indian cuisine. This is my childrens' meal out of choice for all birthdays and other special occasions! I’m a fan of the spicy squid and my children will stuff themselves to the gills with the best chicken korma I’ve ever tried plus a small mountain of poppadoms.
Fowey’s pubs are a great bunch too: The Ship Inn has low beams, a roaring fire and an incredible stained-glass window (and the best chips I’ve even eaten!). The King of Prussia has views over Town Quay (book a bay window table if you can) and tables outside. The Galleon Inn has lots of space inside and out and a menu to suit everyone and The Safe Harbour Inn is renowned for its gluten free options.
Let me know your favourite!
Hopefully by now you and your family are well fed and well exercised and have managed to make the most of your day in Fowey. I'd love to know what you enjoyed the most and whether this blog helped you discover something new!