Fowey is a small town in Cornwall, nestled on the coast between St Austell and Lostwithiel. It offers views of the Fowey estuary, looking across to little Polruan. Fowey’s a popular haunt all year round, with many locals and day trippers spending their slow Saturdays wandering around the town, enjoying a pasty, and taking in the coastal views. Fowey offers locals place to meander at the weekends during the slower winter months. However it springs into life during summer when it becomes busier with holiday makers and its ever popular regatta week.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Fowey. As a teenager I had a summer job there and I’ve fond, somewhat hungover, memories of lazy summer evenings spent drink cheap cider with friends. I now enjoy taking my time strolling along Fowey’s high street, browsing in the local shops, and walking along the pretty Esplanade towards Readymoney Cove.
Before we delve into what Fowey has to offer, let’s talk about parking and getting around. Fowey isn’t that big and while it has a small carpark on the quay by the Harbour Office, you’re better off parking in one of the larger carparks each situated on the edge of town.
The Caffa Mill carpark is near the Bodinnick ferry drop off (that’s the B3269, Station Road), and is probably about half a mile from the town centre. It’s a flat walk though so if the weather’s nice, it’s no bother at all. The second car park is on the other side of Fowey. If you’re coming into Fowey via Polvillion Hill, head onto Hanson Drive and the car park is on the right. Again, its a walk to town which is ok as it’s all downhill. Getting back up is a chore though, there’s quite a few steps. Needless to say, if you have mobility difficulties, this isn’t a suitable option. Thankfully Fowey offers a town bus which passes both carparks. It also stops conveniently outside the church in the town centre, an ideal point form which to explore Fowey.
Fowey’s little High Street has plenty on offer. There are the usual coastal clothing shops, like Joules and Quba Sails alongside smaller, thriving independent retailers. Cornwall based clothing chain Seasalt has quite a big store on the High Street, which is always worth a look around. You can stock up on some funky socks and the latest bretons. For more nautical clothing, you may want to pop into Outriggers who offer clothing for children and adults.
Aside from clothes shops, Fowey is a little treasure trove of retailers offering unique homeware from furniture to small accessories. Where shall I start, how about The Clementine? There’s a few branches of this shop in Cornwall and they all offer a great range of beautiful items and accessories to grace your home. There’s crockery, lights, cushions, clocks, teatowels, prints, jewellery, and bags. More often than not, I’ve not seen the products on offer in other stores. This makes visiting The Clementine feel like you’ve discovered something special and new, and who doesn’t like a new discovery?
Just around the corner from The Clementine is the Webb Street Company. What I like most about The Webb Street Company, aside from its dark grey exterior, is their collection of prints and books. The prints are mainly from Lucky Lobster. We’re talking contemporary nautical, coastal vibes here which is totally in keeping for a coastal town like Fowey. Stationery lovers will be in heaven too as there’s many a pretty notebook to buy as well. At the back of the shop there’s some excellent gifts for children. Aside from books and stationery, The Webb Street Company has lots of pretty jewellery and smaller items for your home (mug lovers beware!)
Next on list is the wonderful Brocante. Placed at the other end of Fowey, by the old Post Office, Brocante is an ever growing home store. It started in a small building on the corner and now dominates 2 floors and has expanded over neighbouring buildings. Browsing around is a total joy – everything is tasteful. There’s individual pieces of furniture, unusual or undiscovered books, and plenty of nic-nacs to make your home prettier. Do venture upstairs too, where there are more rooms full of goodies. Be careful though, it’s hard to leave empty handed.
Sitting on one of the many benches in Fowey’s square is totally satisfying. If you like you can grab a pasty or an ice cream and watch the water lap the resting boats and wall.
If you fancy stretching your legs beyond Fowey though, I’d recommend strolling along the Esplanade. If you walk out of Fowey, take the hill to the side of The Ship Inn (just by The Clementine). Part way up is a turning on the left. You’ll be greeted with muted ice-cream coloured houses, and when the buildings allow, a glimpse of water on your left. If you carry along this road, you’ll eventually come to Readymoney Cove, a small beach that’s popular with locals. If you want to stay at the beach, there’s a little shop and toilets. However, there’s no direct parking so travel light.
If you don’t fancy going as far as the beach, you can zig zag your way up though the houses. This will eventually lead you to Hanson drive. Useful to know if you’ve parked here. Although you’ll be walking along residential streets, you’ll see many beautiful home and facades. The further up you go, the better the view of the estuary too.
Another gem that Fowey offers is short 2 ferry routes (and you know I like a ferry ride). You could spend part of the day in Fowey and then nip across the estuary for further adventure and discovery. The Fowey to Boddinick ferry is car ferry, taking you on a short trip across the water. Bodinnick is a pretty little village with an inviting pub, The Old Ferry Inn. As you have your car, you could drive to Lerryn, another picturesque village and stroll along the river. Alternatively, you could drive onto Polperro or Looe, and spend some of your day exploring other popular coastal towns.
The Fowey to Polruan ferry is a passenger service. It departs from Fowey Town Quay (that’s the big square in Fowey, you can’t miss it) or Whitehouse Pier, which is along the Esplanade. Polruan has it’s own unspoilt charm and if you have the time, it’s worth having a little stroll.
Have you been to Fowey? What do you love the most about this lovely coastal village?