Fowey harbour
Photograph: Nicole Kwiatkowski/Shutterstock

11 things to do in Fowey

Explore this corner of Cornwall for coastal walks, secluded swimming spots and rustic dining


Fowey is pronounced ‘foy’, to rhyme with ‘joy’. It seems fitting for this idyllic smattering of ice-cream-coloured cottages, where winding lanes lead to picture-perfect sandy coves and a quaint harbour with colourful boats. On the south Cornish coast, this ancient fishing port is like a fairytale: ancient castles, white sandy nooks and hedgerow-lined paths lie around every charming corner. Prepare to be bewitched.

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A perfect day in Fowey

First up

Shake off the city with a jaunt to Catherine’s Castle. A rustic path lined with wildflowers leads to Henry VIII’s ancient fort. Its hollow shell is a bit barren nowadays, but from this cliff-top spot, you’ll get mesmerising sea views and a gorgeous panorama of Fowey. 

Stop for lunch

From the brains behind cult London restaurants Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene, Fitzroy is the town’s newest joint but has immediately become a favourite. It’s elegant yet laidback, with dusty pink walls, cosy lighting and a daily changing menu full of local seafood. Try the charred half lobster and the snappy salted raw courgettes with a glass of natural wine. Utter joy.


Drink like a local

Sink a pint at The Ship Inn. Fowey’s oldest pub, it’s all dark beams and odd jaunty angles with a nice selection of ales and gin specials behind the bar. Or, head to the back of The Galleon Inn for gorgeous views of the River Fowey from the terrace.

Splash the cash

Celebrate the area’s literary heritage by picking up a Daphne du Maurier novel at Bookends of Fowey. The author of ‘Rebecca’ lived near Fowey and this blue-painted bookshop houses an illustrious collection of her work. Feeling peckish? Visit Kittows delicatessen for perfect pasties, (they make gluten-free ones, fyi) meats and quiches.   


Get back to nature

Take the ferry to Polruan (adults are £2.30, dogs 40p). Once you’ve explored its labyrinthine streets (and polished off some mussels in The Lugger Inn) set off on the hour-long walk from Fowey to Lantic Bay. It’s a steep route, but worth it for the unspoiled beach.

If you only do one thing

Grab a swimming costume and head to Readymoney Cove. Just ten minutes from the centre of town, this nugget of sand is postcard perfect. It’s a sheltered spot, making its crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming. Wade out to the pontoon, explore the little rock pools, or sit back with an ice cream from the brilliant beach shop.


If you stay the night, wake up here

Views don’t come much better than the perfect panoramas of Fowey Estuary that confront you from this grand Victorian pile. Perched above the town, the boutique hotel gazes down on sparkling blue water and from the terrace you can glimpse sailing boats heading out to sea. The cosy rooms have beds big enough to get lost in, decanters of gin and a box of chocolates from the local sweet shop waiting for you when you arrive. Get yourself a room with a balcony overlooking the tiered garden that leads to the sea and you’re laughing. Fowey Harbour Hotel. From £113 a night. 

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