Last weekend I went on a little adventure to Cornwall, one of my favourite counties in England, for a seaside break in Fowey. It was exactly what the doctor ordered: fresh sea air, stunning views and hearty British food. What more could you ask for?! It really was the best place I could recommend to anyone looking to unwind, relax and recoup for the weekend…
Cornwall is the most typical British summer holiday, a place where families flock to the coast for our one day of summer. But now I can vouch that it is great to visit all year round. In winter* the landscape becomes moody and dramatic, the towns and beaches are deserted, and everything is peaceful and quiet.
If you need to clear your head or need a quick escape from
life work, Cornwall’s coast is the place to head to. You’ll be left alone with your thoughts and the sound of the waves rolling into the shore. After these past 4 months, there is no doubt that this was what I needed. *Yeah we visited at the beginning of spring but with the weather we had, it may as well have been winter.
Plus it also gave me a chance to catch up with one of my uni friends, Kate, who is going to be beyond chuffed to be mentioned on my blog. I haven’t seen any friends properly since Caitlin died so it was really nice to stop being a hermit for a weekend and spend time with other humans.
So without further ado, let me tell you where you should stay on a weekend break in Cornwall and what you should get up to!
The Fowey Hotel
The Fowey Hotel first opened its doors to visitors back in 1881, and not much has changed in the hotel since. It has even retained its working period lift which was a really quirky feature! The hotel overlooks a gorgeous estuary with landscaped gardens below it.
The Fowey Hotel was purchased by Keith Richardson in November 1996 (the month I was born!), joining a collection of hotels across Devon and Cornwall. He made a few changes to the hotel but most of the original features remain intact. One of the changes was adding a whole new floor of bedrooms on the lower ground, which has access to a sea-facing terrace. And this was where we stayed! Let me show you around our room…
When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by Shannon at the front desk. She was very friendly and welcoming and really put us at ease. This isn’t the most typical place for young people to stay at (we kinda stuck out like a sore thumb) but she, and the rest of the staff made us feel at home.
Again, I’ve stayed in nice hotels before with my boyfriend, but when you’re just visiting with a friend you tend to stick out even more! Regardless, we both agreed that it was good to get out of our comfort zones and try something new for the weekend.
Shannon quickly explained everything we needed to do in regards to dinner, breakfast and checking-out, before taking us down a level to our Executive Sea View Double Room. I think this is probably the most spacious hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and it took my breath away as soon as we stepped into the room.
Our large king-size bed was very comfy and all the amenities expected from a 4-star hotel were provided, including a TV, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryers, luxury toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers. Across the hotel, you will find 37 bedrooms ranging from standard doubles (which are by no means “standard”) to superior sea view rooms.
The bathroom was just as accommodating. We not only had a shower but also a large spa bath. The hotel provides a selection of luxury toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soap, bath salts, body cream and mouth wash. Seriously, The Fowey Hotel is the perfect place to relax!
So you wanna know the best part about the room? Yep, you guessed it, it’s the balcony. The views were to die for! Standing back and watching the world go by, taking in the fresh sea air, was just blissful. The only downside to the balcony is that you’re sharing it with all the rooms around you so you don’t get much privacy.
When you book your room you can opt-in for dinner and breakfast at their 2 AA rosette Spinnakers Restaurant if you fancy treating yourself even more. Each person gets a £31 limit on their food (starters, mains and desserts) and then anything you order on top of that you must pay for yourself. The mains ranged from £17 to £32 in price. So naturally, I went for the £32 meal #treatyoself. I ordered the Devon and Cornwall pan-seared fillet steak, and boy was it delicious. It came with confit potato, spinach, roast root vegetables, shallots and red wine jus.
Kate went for the only vegetarian main available which was glazed goats cheese with poached potatoes, roast ratatouille, roquette, fine beans and dill velouté sauce. At first, she wasn’t going to go for it, and choose a selection of starters instead. She said that vegetarian options typically aren’t that great and they just throw a pile of veggies on a plate. But she was pleasantly surprised: it was one of the best vegetarian meals she’d ever had.
For dessert, I went for a selection of local ice cream (#wheninCornwall) and Kate ordered an apple and date pie with salted caramel ice cream and cream… It was a big thumbs up from both of us!
Breakfast was just divine. There is a large selection of bread/pastries, cereals and fruit juices which you can help yourself to. You can then order something larger from a separate menu. Kate went for a poached egg on toast and I had a full English as I very rarely have them and they’re such a treat. I was also very tempted by the Belgian waffles, maple syrup and bacon, but this was on a specials menu (at no extra price but it would take longer to make and we wanted to check out soon!).
- Organise parking with The Fowey Hotel in advance so you can park right by the hotel. As our visit was so last-minute we didn’t have time to organise it and had to park 10 minutes away up a steep hill. The Fowey Hotel is on the edge of the land, and the “roads” leading up to it are more like steep one-way lanes. Where we parked wasn’t too bad, but save yourself some stress and just book parking in advance, yeah?
- Don’t let being on the -1 floor put you off. Shannon said that a lot of people are put off by the floor we stayed on when they ring up and book a room. But don’t be. The views are amazing and you’re still pretty high up.
- Book breakfast with your room. Although the dinner was amazing, I wouldn’t say it is essential for your trip unless you really want to spoil yourself. The buffet breakfast, on the other hand, was definitely worth the money and it tasted delicious! Kate said that the croissant she ate was the best she’s ever had.
- Book a sea view room. The whole point of staying in Fowey is for the gorgeous vistas over the estuary so you may as well splash out a little more for a room with a view. I promise it is worth it!
- Visit on a Sunday like we did because the rates are much cheaper.
What to do in/around Fowey
If you’re not satisfied with just relaxing for the weekend (I can only relax so much before I start going crazy!), then there is plenty to see and do in the local area. South Cornwall offers a large array of outdoor activities including hiking, golf and water sports, and there are lots of attractions to visit too (more on that in a minute!).
Explore the town
Fowey is one of the most quaint seaside towns around. Filled with colourful houses and all the most British shops ever (think Seasalt, Fat Face, Joules, etc), it couldn’t be more stereotypical. But we loved it.
Okay, so when we visited Fowey, the town was kinda dead. And “kinda” is me being polite. We visited on a Sunday evening so practically nothing was open. After having a large cooked breakfast at our guesthouse in St Austell that morning, we skipped lunch as we were too busy exploring The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project. But by the time 5 pm rolled around, we were starving. I started to get hangry, guys…
The only place we could find that was open and served food was the cutest little Spanish bar, Pintxo, which was only a 2-minute walk from the hotel. It was like heaven had opened its gates and a beacon of light was shining down on us. We had finally found food! But not just any food. Some really tasty tapas. This Instagram-worthy bar felt like it belonged in London (or of course Spain), not a little seaside town in Cornwall.
One review said “This place seems almost out of place in the back streets of Fowey; feels like you’re in a little European town somewhere far more exotic” and I couldn’t agree more. We shared some sourdough bread with garlic, tomato & olive oil, patatas bravas, and manchego cheese & wild honey, and were on our way. What a find!
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are only a 35-minute drive away from Fowey and I couldn’t recommend a little trip there enough. There is so much to see and do at the gardens and you could get lost in them for hours. Equally, you could probably whizz round and see most of it in an hour if you were really short on time. It’s up to you!
There are 3 types of garden to see: the Productive Gardens, the Pleasure Gardens, and the Jungle, which was my personal favourite. There’s also an estate, woodland and a farm to explore, and plenty of wildlife to see. Entry for adults is £14.50 and entry for students is £8.50.
The Eden Project
The Eden Project is that one place that everyone visited as a kid, either on a family holiday or on a school trip. But I had never been! It’s always been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit and I finally had the opportunity to go. The Eden Project is even closer to Fowey than the Lost Gardens at a short 15-minute drive away.
On the dates we visited, it was a very exciting weekend for the Eden Project: the launch of their new rainforest canopy walkway. This walkway is high above in the trees and offers spectacular views across the biome. Unfortunately, the highest part was only open for half-hour intervals at a time and we came at the wrong time. But we joked that we probably would have melted in the 32-degree heat at the top anyway, as we were sweating enough as it is at 25 degrees in our winter clothes.
Tickets for the Eden Project are £25 for adults and £20 for students, and are well worth the money!
So have you ever visited Cornwall before? I just bloody love this county and I’m sure I’ll return soon, so leave your recommendations in the comments below!
I was welcomed as a guest of The Fowey Hotel, The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan for the purpose of this review but as always all opinions are my own. A full review of the two attractions will be coming soon!