Things To Do In Fowey 




Updated on

Cornwall has so many beautiful villages and towns that it gets difficult to decide which place to visit. 

Fowey is a great option if you’re seeking out quiet places like Falmouth, Padstow and Newquay. Pronounced “Foy,” this charming ancient fishing port town rests on the west side of River Fowey.

Fowey has everything you’d want to explore, from hidden coves to coastal walks. Museums? Check. Stunning coves? Check. Marine life? Check. Gardens? Check. It’s easy to see why Daphne du Maurier, the author and playwright, used Fowey as the setting for many of her novels. 

If you’ve been searching for top attractions in Fowey that will keep you entertained during your stay, this guide is for you. Here are 10 things to do in Fowey to make the most of your stay. 

10 Things To Do In Fowey, The Ancient Fishing Port

1. Take A Cruise Down The Fowey Estuary 

With a rich landscape, historic heritage, and varied wildlife, the Fowey Estuary is among the few beautiful, unspoiled estuaries in Cornish County. 

20 miles away from Bodmin Moor, River Fowey begins, and there’s no better way to explore it than to take to the water. When you visit Fowey, you cannot afford to miss a cruise on River Fowey because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Fowey River and Sea Cruises is a cruise operator that schedules multiple trips up and down the river along the Cornish coast. 

After the ferry ride, stroll down to the scenic Gribbin Head on the west side. There you’ll get to explore various features of historic significance and the beauty of an array of landscapes. 

In the 45-minute ride, you’ll pass the 15th Century blockhouses, the home of 20th-century playwright Daphne du Maurier, the scenic harbour entrance, and the china clay docks. Every 20 minutes, a cruise leaves the coast with passengers, so no matter what time you arrive, you’ll secure a seat on the cruise. 

Want to set out on a real voyage in the Cornish countryside? Schedule trips to Lerryn and Lostwithiel or out on the sea to Mevagissey and Polperro, depending on the tide.

2. Visit St. Catherine’s Castle

Plan a day out to St. Catherine’s Castle, which is a short distance away from South West Coast Path to know about the history of this English heritage site. 

Dating back to the 1530s, Henry VIII built St. Catherine’s Castle along the South Coast to defend Fowey Estuary. Contrary to its name, it isn’t a castle; rather, it’s a small, two-storey artillery fort. 

Park your car in the parking area and set out on the wildflower-lined rustic path to reach the castle. As you enter the castle, you’ll come across a fireplace, bastion, gunports and stone plaques documenting 19th Century renovations. 

Don’t forget to climb to the top to get some gorgeous views of Fowey and the stunning beach of the south coast. 

3. Take A Walk Down The Esplanade

Esplanade, a narrow street on the West side of the Fowey estuary, offers some stunning views. Maybe that is why it’s regarded as a wonderful part of the Cornish town. 

The best time to walk down Esplanade is early in the morning because that’s when you can witness the sunrise behind Polruan. At the top end of Esplanade is Town Quay, which links to the main shopping artery of Fowey and Fore Street, which is lined with tearooms, galleries, restaurants, and bakeries for Cornish pasties. 

4. Stay The Night At Fowey Harbour Hotel

One of the best things to do in Fowey is to spend the night at Fowey Harbour Hotel and wake up to the stunning views of the Fowey estuary. Settled above the ancient harbour town, this hotel looks down on the dazzling blue water, from where you can catch glimpses of sailing boats. 

Rooms of the Fowey Harbour Hotel are cosy yet equipped with big enough beds. A box of chocolates from the local sweet store and decanters of gin will await you when you arrive. 

We recommend booking a room with a balcony overlooking the terraced garden that leads to the sea. 

5. Step Into The Fowey River Gallery

Fond of artwork? Then make sure you drop by the Fowey River Gallery, which is home to paintings of local artists. On solo or thematic exhibitions, talented printmakers, graphic designers, sculptors, illustrators, and watercolourists showcase their talent by putting up their artwork in this river gallery. 

If you’re looking for a souvenir, this gallery is a must-visit. Here, you’ll come across cards, jewellery, scarves and other gifts you can purchase. In summer, the gallery is open daily, but it operates only Monday to Saturday in other seasons. 

6. Walk Into Fowey Museum To Discover Artefacts

Nestled in one of the oldest buildings in Fowey, Cornwall, Fowey Museum is a little gem. 

In this 15th Century house, maritime photographs, artefacts from sailboats, traditional shipyard tools and model ships are on show. Works of illustrious locals like Daphne du Maurier, the author and playwright, are also found in this museum. 

Did you know that a mediaeval garderobe (toilet) has been unearthed during a recent excavation? So, if you’re interested in discovering a tiny treasure trove of Cornwall along with the local food, the Fowey Museum is a must-visit. 

7. Swim At The Readymoney Cove

Grab your swimming costume and head over to Readymoney Beach, whose crystal clear water makes it perfect for swimming. Just 10 minutes from the centre of Cornwall is Readymoney Cove, so you can travel on foot or take a ride to the beach. 

If not swimming, you can explore the little rock pools, wade out to the pontoon or sit back in the beach shop and observe the scenery or the beauty of the crystal-clear waters.

8. Head Over To Fowey Aquarium

Housed in a solemn stone building of the 18th Century, Fowey Aquarium gives a glimpse of the marine life of Cornwall. Despite being centuries old, the aquarium is well looked after with pollocks, octopuses, wrasses, bass, bream, conger eels, and turbots, some of the inhabitants of this aquarium. 

You’ll need to pass the tank twice, or you’ll miss some of its inhabitants, like lobsters and crabs lurking in the corner. Oh, and did we mention there is a shallow touch pool where starfish and small crabs are settled?

9. Explore The Lost Gardens Of Heligan

A unique place to visit in Fowey, Cornwall, is the Lost Gardens of Heligan. 

At this botanical garden awaits a network of woodland walks, magical gardens, and farmland brimming with intrigue and interest. Spread across 200 acres, the Lost Gardens of Heligans is large enough to tire even the most energetic legs. 

The melon yard, walled flower garden, and kitchen garden of this hidden garden are home to exotic glasshouse fruits. As soon as you see them, their beauty will leave you spellbound. 

When exploring the Lost Gardens of Heligan, don’t forget to capture a picture with Diggory, a resident scarecrow. And if you are lucky, you could catch a glimpse of a hummingbird hawk moth or a kingfisher. 

Wander through the sub-tropical jungles, ancient woodlands, and summer wildflower meadows and watch wild birds, from barn owls to badgers feeding right in front of you. Even if you don’t spot bumblebees, you’ll definitely hear them hum. 

As you explore wildlife, check out the Insect Hotel on the Georgian Ride. Also, make sure to drop by the Hide that pays homage to the wildlife of Heligan. 

10. Eden Project 

Touted as the “eighth wonder of the world,” Eden Project is a stunning worldwide garden enclosed amid tropical biomes. It’s nestled in a crater, which is as large as 30 football fields. 

Once upon a time, the Eden Project was nothing more than a barren landscape. But today, it has transformed into a beautiful global garden where you’ll witness the stunning beauty of nature. Trek through the rainforest and submerge yourself in the Mediterranean Biome’s soothing aroma. You’ll also discover contemporary artwork and performances, so get ready to have a day filled with fun. 

Eden Project is open almost every day except on Christmas Day, Eve, and the first week of February. However, it will be best to check the website for opening times to plan your visit accordingly and avoid last-minute disappointments. 

Wrapping It Up

Shopping, sailing, eating, fishing, drinking, visiting artisan shops and exploring ancient streets- there are so many things that you can do in Fowey. 

Other than the top attractions mentioned on this list, you can visit Jamaica Inn, which served as the setting for Daphne du Maurier’s novel. You can also travel to Bodnick, explore the beaches around Talland Bay and Looe, and soak in the panoramic views. 

With so many attractions, Fowey truly is a lovely place to visit. So, are you ready for your next adventure-filled trip? Then pack your bags and head over to Fowey, Cornwall, with your family.

About The Author


Reviewed by