Fowey, pronounced 'Foy' by locals, and the Fowey Estuary is one of the prettiest and most popular destinations for visitors to the Cornish Riviera. A bustling but leisurely historic port, Fowey has much to commend it. The annual Daphne du Maurier Literary Festival in Mid May and Royal Regatta every August are two big event pullers. Fowey Harbour is picture-postcardville, and from the 14th century Fowey became an important port, as well as fishing centre. Learn about the plunders of the Fowey Gallants at the charming little Fowey Museum on the harbour front. The Literary Centre has all things Daphne du Maurier and more, with a scattering of excellent local art galleries and superb specialist arts and crafts shops.
Great for walkers too, Fowey hooks into the Saints Way which winds upto Padstow, or makes and excellent base for exploring the South West Coast Path or numerous quaint Cornish Villages nearby. For idyllic sandy cove beaches, such as Readymoney Cove, Fowey is perfect. Literary and sailing/yachting links, cream teas and country pubs, a beautiful historic harbour and a choice of boat trip companies offering cruises from the town's attractive key, Fowey hits the laid back holiday spot! The Ticket Shop & du Maurier Literary Centre with Tourist Information, 5 South Street, Fowey PL23 1AR. 01726 833616.
Fowey has much to offer attraction and architecture wise, and the ruins of St Catherine's Castle are easily reached via the coast path from Fowey centre, and up from Readymoney Beach. Another local castle situated just outside Fowey near Lostwithiel is Restormel Castle. It's a typical motte and bailey castle built around 1100 with a deep moat around it.
Attractions in Fowey itself include a delightful aquarium situated under the Town Hall on Town Quay. Perfect for the kids on occasional wet days! Laze on Fowey Quay and enjoy a choice of cafes and real ale pubs, plus arts and crafts shops and stalls. Take a boat trip - there's a wide choice of trips to nearby villages or up the estuary to Lostwithiel and further up the coast to picture postcard Mevagissey.
Check out the Fowey Museum for the history of Fowey, plus the literary centre exploring Daphne du Maurier and other literary figures associated with the area. You certainly won't be short on things to do in Fowey!
Fowey's Royal Regatta takes place in Mid August (usually the third full week) annually, and is a superb event with lots going on, not just on the sailing side but on land as well. Many of the events are free, and great for families. These include fireworks displays on the Quay, Red Arrows Displays, Raft Races, Children's events, Grand Draws and Carnival Processions. Live music is also hosted on the town's quay!!
Daily sailing races are held ranging from full on cruiser racing, to children's dinghy races. All the key sailing organisations, including Fowey Yacht Club and Fowey Gallants Sailing club are involved. The event is a great spectacle and well worth hooking in to!
The Royal Fowey Yacht Club, Whitford Yard, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1BH. Tel: Club Office 44 (0)1726 833573, Bar/Dining Room and Members 44 (0)1726 832245.
Fowey's history has been rather 'swashbuckling' to say the least. Explore it here at the Fowey Museum, which occupies a building located in the old town and once used as the council chamber when Fowey was a borough in it's own right.
Inside there are exhibitions exploring both French and Spanish invasions of the town, plus information on Drake, Raleigh and Cook who all sailed from Fowey at some point. Changing exhibitions also have reflected on the work of local authors like Du Maurier. Plenty of ship memorabilia and parts on display here too, plus some reflection on the Cornish Tin heritage and Fowey's part in it as an important exporting port.
St Fimbarrus Church in Fowey is open to the public most days, and the church you see dates from 1460 when it was rebuilt by the Earl of Warwick having been destroyed by some over enthusiastic French. The church is dedicated to St Finbarr who passed through these 'ere parts in the 6th century!
Fowey Museum Trust, Trafalgar Square, Fowey, Cornwall. Tel:01726 833513.
One of the best ways to see this stretch of the South Cornwall Coast is by boat of course, and what choice on Fowey Quay of boat trips you have. It's easy to hook into a little boat day trip from Fowey across the estuary to Polruan. Or in the peak summer season only take the ferry from Fowey to Mevagissey, taking in beautiful coastal views of Readymoney Beach, St Catherine's Point and the remains of St Catherine's Castle along the way!
Fowey River and Sea Cruises offer a choice of boat trips which include a 45 minute tour of the harbour, boat trips to nearby Georgian town Charlestown once a centre for China Clay export, and leisurely boat trips to beautiful historic fishing village Polperro, just 6 miles east of Fowey. There's a heritage museum in Polperro well worth a visit. Alternatively turn inwards up the estuary river to Lostwithiel where, when you arrive, you'll receive a guided walk around this historic Cornish town.
For guided boat trips from Fowey to various locations including Mevagissey, Polruan, Polperro and Lostwithiel choose from: Fowey River & Sea Cruises, Town Quay, Fowey (check their weblink to the right for details on trips). For a focus on wildlife, particularly around the estuary, choose Fowey Marine Adventures, Fore St., Fowey, Cornwall. Tel: 01726 832300. They offers a superb choice of trips taking in the wildlife and outstanding natural beauty in this estuary and coastal area. Check their website too, right. For all things Yacht Chartering check out the weblink of Fowey Maritime Centre, also right.
If you're an experienced sailor and fancy hiring a boat yourself, there's plenty of opportunity. The choice of Boat Hire companies in Fowey include: Boat Hire from Fowey Boat Yard, 10 Passage Street, Fowey, PL23 1DE. They provide boat hire on the River Fowey, life jackets and tuition provided, hourly and daily rates. Tel: +44(0)1726 832194. Fowey Gallants Sailing Tuition, Amity Court, North Street, Fowey, PL23 1AB. Dinghy sailing tuition for junior members and temporary members for more details use the contacts below. Tel: +44(0)1726 832881. Fowey Harbour Office, Albert Quay, Fowey, PL23 1AJ . Get all your information on the Port of Fowey here, including full details for visiting yachtsmen. Tel: +44(0)1726 832471. Fowey Marine Boat Hire, 21-27 Station Road, Fowey, PL23 1DF. Motor boat hire and selling air from a compressor. Tel: +44(0)1726 833920.
Check out a stunning selection of little waterside villages around Fowey Estuary, particularly Golant, and other inland villages with numerous Cornwall Gardens in the area open to the public. This area of South Cornwall, including the most famous Cornwall Gardens - the Eden Project and the Lost Garden of Helligan - is a Mecca for lovers of gardens. Many are concentrated in this region, and across the South of Cornwall.
The village of Golant has literary links with Kenneth Graham, who wrote "Tales of the Riverbank" in 1907 here. Also on offer is a pretty 13th Century church, St Sampson and a great Victorian community pub, the Fisherman's Arms. Check their village website to the right for more details. The estuary offers superb opportunities for birdwatching!
Another particularly picturesque village in the Fowey area is Polruan, a historic fishing village also famous for it's boat building heritage. Highly recommended is catching a ferry from Fowey across the estuary to Polruan. The village itself has two great pubs, a stunning little unspoilt harbour and a harbour cafe. Arts and crafts stalls often line the Quay. Check the Polruan Village website right for details! Or choose Fowey Marine Adventures, Fore St., Fowey, Cornwall. Tel: 01726 832300, if you want a real wildlife focus to your boat trip, in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
The choice of Cornwall Gardens in the area includes Hidden Valley Gardens, Treesmill, Nr Par, Cornwall, PL24 2TU. Tel. 01208 873225. You can stay on this garden complex too, in a converted barn! Their weblink is to the right.
Although St Austell just west along the coast from Fowey often tends to get attention for it's superb family beaches, there are a superb selection of choice South Cornwall beaches on the Fowey coastline stretch. There are 9 spectacular beaches ranging from the sands at Par beach to little idyllic cove beaches at Polridmouth and Readymoney.
Par Sands Beach just west of Fowey is one of the most popular beaches in the area. A dog friendly sandy beach, it's well equipped with a cafe, toilets and a car park to the rear. Also to the west of Fowey are a selection of stunning sheltered beaches including Polkerris just off the A3082. This sandy little sheltered beach is adjacent to the village and benefits from a beach shop, car park and there's a small harbour. Dogs are welcome on Polkerris only in the winter months, not peak season. Near Polkerris Beach is lovely sandy cove beach Polridmouth, easily reached from the coastal path. Polridmouth is a little more remote, and a 15 minutes walk from the car park. Well worth the effort though, but there are no facilities on this cove beach, although dogs are welcome.
Off the esplanade in Fowey and only a beach at low tide is Whitehouse Beach. Just a 5-10 minute walk from the centre, with a sheltered pool Whitehouse is a good family beach option at low tide, with all facilities close to hand! If you're taking a boat trip from Fowey to Polruan, check out the little beach there at Polruan Quay (low tide only). Watch the boat movements on Polruan though, plus no dogs allowed at any time. Further east of Polruan is Lantic Bay beach, a small sandy bay which is again remote but well worth the effort. Reach it from the Polruan car park (about a 15 minute walk). Dogs are allowed on Lantic Bay.
One of the most popular beaches in the area is Readymoney Beach situated on the estuary mouth opening near St Catherine's Point and Castle. Readymoney Beach is only about a 20 minute walk from Fowey town centre, and the walk is highly recommended along the coast! The beach usually has an ice cream van present, plus there's a swimming platform, car park and toilets. Readymoney beach is a superb sandy beach, with dogs not allowed in the peak summer season.