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Best Things To Do in Fowey in 2024 | Summer Activities and Attractions in Cornwall

The pretty port town of Fowey is pronounced ‘Joy’, and that seems appropriate, given what a fun place it is to visit! Whether you are interested in history or literature, natural wonders or adventurous activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a visit to Fowey. The town is charming, but it is more than that, sitting on the Fowey Estuary and surrounded by a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It gets busy in summer, but it is well worth the trip, whether you stay for a day or for a long stretch, and you will never run out of things to see and do. 

Practical Concerns

It is easy to drive to Fowey, but it may take longer than you think it will. Getting here involves driving some tricky countryside lanes, so it is always best to allow some extra time, no matter where you are coming from. Getting here early is a good idea, especially in summer, because the town’s car parks can fill up quickly. 

There are a few different car parks in Fowey, one near Readymoney Cove for those who fancy the beach, the Caffa Mill Car Pak adjacent to the car ferry to Bodinnick, the Albert Quay and Town Quay car parks, which are for short stay parking only, and the Main Car Park, on Hanson Drive. This last is probably your best bet, though the short walk down into town is quite steep. If you are concerned about the climb, you can always take the Fowey Town Bus, which stops at the car park. 

Fowey Outdoor Guide

When you are on holiday in Fowey, estuary adventures should be near the top of your list. Fowey is such a gorgeous place, and the Fowey Estuary has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If you are someone who loves outdoor adventuring, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board to get a close look at the estuary. If you are someone who prefers enjoying the view, the Hall Walk affords stunning views across the estuary, in a circular walk that includes a ride on the ferries that connect both banks to the estuary. Of course, between all the villages and towns along the estuary, there are many walks from which to choose. 

Fowey is infinitely Instagrammable, so simply walking around the town, admiring its quirky buildings, cute shops and historic homes, is rewarding. However, you can take the Esplanade to the South West Coastal Path for some truly beautiful walks. You can take a circular walk along the South West Coastal Path to see St Catherine’s Castle, taking in the gorgeous views from Gribbin Head, and catching a glimpse of Menabilly, Daphne du Maurier’s inspiration for Manderley. 

Alternately, you can take it from Polruan to Lanic Bay, where you will be treated to breathtaking views of one of the most gorgeously secluded beaches in Cornwall, Lantic Bay. If you want to visit Lantic Bay without all the hiking, there is a National Trust car park inland from Lantic Bay, where you will only need to walk 15 minutes or so down to the beach. It is a lovely beach, enclosed on either side by the bay, and dogs are allowed off lead year round. If you prefer a beach closer to Fowey, Readymoney Cove is a must-visit when you are in Fowey. 

A sheltered little beach a stone’s throw from the town, Readymoney has a gentle slope of sand kept immaculately clean and guarded on both sides by cliffs. Head there at low tide, and you will be delighted by all you find in the rockpools. 


Fowey Must-Attend Summer Events

There are plenty of things to see and do all year long, but if you are visiting in summer, try to plan your trip around some of the scheduled Fowey cultural events, water-focused events, walks, or festivals. 

• The Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature is one of the county’s most lauded literary events. Drawing authors artists, speakers and musicians to Fowey each May, this festival features performances, talks, workshops, live music, reading groups, film, and more. 

• Open Studios Cornwall is happening 25 May to 2 June this year. This offers a rare opportunity to learn from Cornwall’s creatives, as they open their studios and workshops to share their experiences, reveal their processes, and showcase their skills. 

• The Fowey Artisan Market is held on the first Wednesday of every month. Held in Fowey Town Hall, this independent market features amazing artisan makers and bakers. 

• In 2024, 6th June marks the 80th anniversary of the D Day landings. There will be a programme of events all weekend in Fowey to commemorate that day. The weekend will begin with a proclamation by the town crier on Thursday, and end on Sunday at 11, with a service to celebrate unseen service, including the dogs that were on the beach seeking out land mines. 

• In August, come for Fowey Royal Regatta and Carnival Week. This seasonal event draws tourists from around the globe and features everything from raft and boat races to food, music, fireworks, and a colourful costumed procession through the town. 

• The Fowey Harbour Swim takes place the first of September, as summer draws to a close. This annual event is a charitable swim, with participants swimming from Town Quay to Readymoney and back to raise money for Fowey lifeboat. It is a fun event, and a selection of home baked goods greet swimmers on their celebrated return to dry land. It is part of the Fowey River Fundraising group, and has raised about £1,000 each year since 2009. 


Fowey Historical Sites

For a small town, Fowey is rich in history and full of historical sites. 

• Overlooking Readymoney Cove sits St Catherine’s Castle, built in the 16th century by Henry VIII. The tower still stands as a striking feature above the clifftops, and the castle is easy to reach by foot. Though it was abandoned in the 19th century and briefly brought back into service during World War II, it has been carefully restored in recent decades and is now managed by English Heritage and is free to visit. 

St Catherine’s Castle in Cornwall Fowey

·        In town, you can dig into Fowey’s history at the Fowey Museum, a charming, single-room museum located in one of the town’s oldest buildings. The displays here represent centuries of the town’s history, including interesting artefacts and plenty on Daphne du Maurier’s time in Cornwall.

·        If if you would like to further immerse yourself in du Maurier lore, you can follow in the author’s footsteps, finding traces of her legacy throughout the town. The author wrote her first novel just across the river in Bodinnick, and you can see the whitewashed, Grade II building on the right as you exit the Bodinnick car ferry from Fowey. She is also remembered with the “Rook with a Book” sculpture on the waterfront, designed in tribute to the book she wrote in Fowey, The Birds.

·        Du Maurier is not Fowey’s only famous author, and if you take the Hall Walk, you will see a memorial to Sir Arthur T. Quiller-Couch. A prominent British author, he was born in Bodmin and made his home in Fowey, where he died at the age of 80. He wrote imaginative works under the pseudonym Q but is best remembered for his literary critiques and for publishing The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900.You can also note a plaque above his family home, The Haven, overlooking the Esplanade in Fowey.

·        If historical churches appeal to you, they are easy to find in Fowey. Amidst the bustle of Fowey town centre, Fowey Parish Church stands prominently, a peaceful place in the heart of town. Dating back to the 14th century, this church has been a focal point of life in Fowey ever since, and has beautiful stained glass windows to impress even the non-religious. Outside of town, on a hilltop overlooking the east side of the Fowey estuary, the medieval church of St Wyllow stands, an excellent example of the early Perpendicular Gothic style.  Restored in 1906, this beautiful old church still serves the parish today.

Is your idea of history the town’s oldest pub? If so, you are in luck! You can have a pint of ale at the Ship Inn in Fowey, which has stood for more than 450 years as a hub of local social activity. There is live music on Saturday nights, and dogs are welcome any time. 

The Old Quay House Hotel is Perfect for Your 2024 Holiday

When you are looking for scenic walks, waterfront dining, and sandy beaches, Fowey is the place to be. And when you are looking for a relaxing place to stay during your Fowey holiday, The Old Quay House Hotel is the perfect place to stay. The Old Quay House is deeply connected to the area’s history, and the character of each bedroom is meticulously crafted to tell its own story, in keeping with that rich tradition. In our Victorian building, you will find friendly staff ready to make your stay comfortable and memorable, and while we cannot accommodate children under the age of 8, in most cases we welcome well-behaved, friendly dogs. Call ahead to make sure that your canine companion is allowed with your particular package. For more information about our rooms, our special offers, or our spectacular restaurant, call +44 0172 683 3302, email [email protected], or contact us through our website.

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