Cornwall is home to some of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the UK, from St Ives and Newquay on the North Coast to Penzance and Falmouth along the south, yet few towns or villages in Cornwall can boast such an impressive location as waterfront Fowey.
Full of cafes, pubs and restaurants, with nearby National Trust attractions and, of course, the sparkling river that flows past, Fowey inspires many to return year-on-year for a truly relaxing break. This town is also the bigger, more stylish twin to pretty Polruan, a village that sits on the opposing bank of the river and can be reached by ferry. Find out more about the peaceful, coastal Polruan.
Skip to section:
Food and drink
The water sports
About the town:
Fowey is in a unique position on the bank of a thriving estuary which used to be a huge draw for commerce, but now plays host to travellers, tourists and locals who live here for the Cornish coastal lifestyle.
Not only is this town located in an unspoilt Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but you can also visit one of Cornwall’s largest towns, St Austell, at just 9 miles away. Beaches line the Cornish southern coast and there are plenty of walks that take you down to the sand or up into the hilly, forested countryside.
Holidaying in a coastal resort means a variety of excellent beaches to choose from with miles of shimmering sand. If you don’t want to travel far, Fowey’s own Readymoney Cove is half a mile from the centre while secretive Polridmouth Cove is 5 miles by car, but you can also reach it via the South West Coast Path on a 2.5-mile walk.
Sheltered by cliffs and woodland, visit the quaint village and clear waters of Polkerris Beach which is a 3.5-mile drive or 3-mile cross country walk. For a day of exploration, walk the South West Coast Path, following a trail that leads past Gribbon Head, where there’s a huge red and white daymark built to warn sailors so that they did not confuse the shallows of Fowey’s harbour with the deep waters of Falmouth. Then continue down to Polkerris Beach, a 5-mile walk altogether.
Splash through the shallow, turquoise waters of Lantic Bay that’s located across the river in Polruan; you can take either a 4-mile drive or hop on the ferry before taking a 2.5-mile walk down to the beach. Or get sandy toes down at the spectacular Carlyon Bay (7 miles away) and combine it with a trip into St Austell, one of Cornwall’s biggest towns.
Discover plants from across the world in the domes of the world-famous Eden Project. Only 7 miles away, this is possibly Cornwall’s best-known attraction and is a fantastic place to spend the day. Its partner attraction, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, also makes for an excellent day out and is 14 miles from town.
If you’d prefer a more cosmopolitan trip, venture into St Austell for shopping and dining. Try a tipple at the St Austell Brewery, hear about the wrecking history at the Charleston Shipwreck Heritage Centre, explore the Wheal Martyn Clay Works which cover 26 acres, or visit one of the scenic gardens including Pinetum and Tregrehan.
Without venturing far, you could visit an ancient castle. One of a pair of artillery forts built during the 14th-century to defend Fowey Harbour, St Catherine’s Castle now stands in ruins just beyond Readymoney Cove. Climb up to this tower to explore its history and take in a stunning view of the estuary.
Think about what you would look for in your perfect holiday cottage. Seaside location? Check. Places to eat out? Check. And a stylish, homely space that will welcome you at the end of a long day exploring? Check.
Amongst our selection in Fowey is everything you could wish for in a holiday retreat. Pick between a variety of quaint and colourful cottages scattered among the cliffs and a further range of secluded and peaceful boltholes hidden throughout the surrounding countryside. Special extras that can be found in our holiday homes include wood burners, hot tubs and breathtaking views over both coast and country. Take a look at our complete range of Fowey cottages.
A stylish waterfront restaurant, overlooking the boats and Polruan across the estuary, is Heavener’s Bar and Grill. Chill out in the brightly coloured bistro that is Sam’s Fowey where you can enjoy a classic grilled burger or head up to the cocktail bar to try of their refreshing recipes.
For a traditional meal, visit one of the Cornish country pubs in town including The Ship Inn, with fresh local seafood offered on the menu and regular events, the fantastically named King of Prussia, and riverfront The Galleon Inn where you can sit by the water's edge.
The water sports:
There’s nothing too high-adrenalin in this holiday haven. Instead try sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding or windsurfing down by one of the beaches.
The unspoilt waters are filled with yachts and watercraft, meaning there are plenty of sailing facilitates about. You could head out onto open water and sail west to the creative hub of Falmouth or east up to the city of Plymouth for a fantastic day trip. Or on a sunny summer’s day, why not moor up and enjoy a few hours relaxing with your holiday companions on the scenic Fowey Estuary?
If you are an experienced rower, then rent a couple of canoes and explore the waterways or, if you’re a novice, hire an instructor to take you on a trip up the river. The guys at Fowey River Expeditions offer a group river trip in canoes and offer you the chance to take in the fantastic Cornish scenery.
Ramp up the energy a bit over at Polkerris beach, where the windsurfing is good. You could join one of the groups to learn to windsurf and come back from your South West holiday with this unique new skill and a few stories about your time out on the water.
Feeling inspired to take a trip to this unique holiday destination? Browse through our collection of holiday cottages, lodges and retreats in Fowey.
Discover more of Cornwall: