10 of the Best Things to Do in Fowey

Few stretches of South Cornwall are as lovely as Fowey. Popular among those seeking a chic, coastal retreat thanks to its many boutiques, galleries, and picture-perfect shopping streets, Fowey is also rich in history. The town has been an important shipping centre for hundreds of years, was the former haunt of writer Daphne du Maurier, and is adjacent to St Catherine’s Castle and other centuries-old sights. From riverside dining to annual festivals and historic sightseeing, these are 10 of our favourite things to do in Fowey (which is, happily, just a half-hour jaunt from Boconnoc).

The Old Quay House

There are few more pleasant terraces on which to dine, unwind, and sip a glass of rosé in the sun than the one at The Old Quay House. The open-air tables look directly onto the waters of the River Fowey, while the menu—led by Head Chef Richard Massey—offers a delicious taste of all things modern British.

Sam’s Restaurant

A beloved local outpost for nearly three decades, Sam’s offers visitors a buzzing bistro atmosphere, a brilliant colour scheme, and a menu of moreish burgers and seafood specialties. Venture upstairs to the companion Sam’s Bar and Lounge for a delicious digestif.

Kayaking the River Fowey

Perfect for adventurous types, an afternoon spent kayaking on the waters of the River Fowey is far and away one of the best things to do in Fowey (it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, after all). A number of local operators host guided tours through the estuary and its many sights.

The Fowey Festival

If you’re lucky enough to visit Cornwall in early May, do save time to discover the fabulous Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature. Cornwall’s premier literary festival, its schedule is full of readings, lunches, and other cultural events.

The Fowey Regatta

Another much-anticipated annual event in Fowey, the splendid Fowey Regatta is one of Britain’s top sailing festivals. Held during the third week of August, it includes thrilling races, a display by the RAF Red Arrows, a bustling carnival, and other fantastic events.

St. Catherine’s Castle

Of the top things to do in Fowey, few attractions are as rich in history as St Catherine’s Castle. Built in the 1530s by King Henry VIII as a defensive fortification, it was also used during the Crimean War and as recently as the Second World War.

Polkerris Beach

Overlooking St. Austell Bay, idyllic Polkerris Beach is a protected stretch of golden sand, gentle waters, and scenic vistas. Just a quick jaunt from Fowey, it’s the place to while away a sunny, summery afternoon.

The Old Ferry Inn

Just across the river from Fowey proper, the Old Ferry Inn is an utterly destination-worthy gastropub. The 17th-century landmark overlooks the waters of the River Fowey directly—and offers the perfect excuse to hop on a ferry for a short tour of the area by water.

Fowey River Gallery

One of the best ways to discover Fowey is to go for a wander around its historic streets, where you’re likely to uncover inspiring little boutiques, galleries, and other shops. Be sure to venture into the Fowey River Gallery, which showcases works by a range of local artists.

Fowey Museum

Dip a toe into the lively history of Fowey with a trip to the petite Fowey Museum. Housed in a 15th-century building, the museum may not be large, but its collection of fascinating mementos, antiques, and other artefacts is perfect for an afternoon perusal.