Historic Things to See & Do in Fowey

From historic buildings to quaint castles...

Fowey [pronounced 'Foy'], is synonymous with sailing, seafood, cobbled streets and a whole lot of history. Wondering around the historic town is like taking a walk back in history and is especially memorable if you explore the river banks with a Cornish pasty in hand.

With us recently exploring the town in preparation for the launch of our historic cottages in Fowey, we are clued up on the latest great adventures the town has to offer. 

Below are some of our top picks for historical days out in and around Fowey, but there are plenty of other great days exploring the local area and beaches, or even taking a kayaking lesson with Encounter Cornwall.

Since Fowey is widely known for their seafood, make sure you check out the local eateries too, we've listed some of our favourite Fowey Restaurants to try here.

Without further ado, here are our top 5 historic things to do in Fowey...

fowey cornwall beach views


1. St Catherine’s Castle

Located just a 5 minute drive from our cottage in Fowey, the Tudor 'St Catherine's Castle' was buily by Henry VIII in the 1530's to defend Fowey's attractive harbour and the Cornish coast. Modified again at key points throughout Britain's military history, this incredible clifftop structure is well worth a visit when in the area.

Starting at Readymoney Beach, hike your way through the challenging woodland before emerging atop the hill, where the views of the sea and the smell of the surf invigorate the senses. Enjoy the superb views back across Fowey whilst carefully navigating the forts and turrets.


2. Fowey Harbour

Thriving well before the Norman Invasion in the 7th century, Fowey Harbour is steeped in history, with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways giving rise to legends and stories that make this corner of Cornwall really come alive.

Where the river cuts into Cornwall's lush landscape, the natural harbour of Fowey has long been an important centre of trade, with the Lostwithiel Railway once transporting Cornwall's iconic china clay here for export.

Inspiring the writings of legendary author Daphne Du Maurier, this charming harbour boasts a lighthouse on the west entrance and the Fowey Parish Church which dates back to the early 14th century.

fowey harbour


3. Place House

Home of the Treffry family since the 13th century, Place House has a whole lot of history. The house has been rebuilt and remodelled over the years, with the oldest part of the building now being the tower, which dates back to the 15th century. 

The house is still owned by the Treffry who have decided not to open it to the public. You can however see the house from the river, or get a good view from nearby roof tops. 


4. Fowey Aquarium 

First opening it's doors in 1952 and housed in an 18th-century stone building, this small but fascinating aquarium sits within the historic Fowey harbour. Dive deep into the wildlife of the Cornish coast, seeing a variety of sea life, most of which are obtained from local fishermen.

With interactive exhibits, such as a touch pool where you pick up shore crabs, it's a great way to keep children entertained, whilst also providing a learning experience. 

If you're wanting to explore the wildlife outdoors, our round-up of the best water activities in St Austell provides plenty of choices for dolphin spotting and more. 

aquariums in cornwall


5. Walking Tours

Fowey's walking tours are closed until further notice due to Covid-19, but they are a great way to see the historic sights of the town. Usually running on a Tuesday, they allow visitors to explore the narrow streets and medieval buildings, highlighting some of the people and places that made the town famous. 

For more details on when the tours plan to resume, you can find contact information here. Alternatively, you could plan your own walking tour based on the locations we've included above.