A day out in Fowey and Polruan

Three people posing on a boat during a day out in Fowey and Polruan in Cornwall.

If you’re looking for a great day out with the kids in Cornwall, Fowey and Polruan offer plenty of opportunities for family adventures. Bosinver’s Nanny Pat has been exploring the area – read on to hear about what she got up to with grandchildren Wilf and Megan on their trip.

A day out in Fowey and Polruan

This is a wonderful day out for little legs with hardly any cost, just the car park and the ferry. We parked in the Bodinnick Ferry car park – a top tip for a level walk into Fowey.

Follow the river into the town and on the way you will pass Pinky Murphy’s café – a delight not to be missed. This wonderful quirky place serves excellent food and a great cup of coffee. The décor is funky and relaxed, the upstairs is geared up for little ones to entertain themselves and there is even a basket of knitting for you to add a row or two whilst you wait for your order!

Continue into the ancient town with its narrow streets and bustling pavements. There are all manner of interesting shops and eateries – my favourite is Sam’s Bistro which you will pass on your way to the Polruan ferry.


Pop in and have a look at Town Quay. You could try crabbing here off the quay wall or the brave ones could be tempted to hire a little motor boat for an hour or two and take to the water – the best place to see the magnificence of this old port. You can go up as far as Golant and pass the docks with the train line which still carries trucks of china clay from St Austell for export by ship all over the world.

Retrace your steps to the main street and carry on bearing a little to the right and start to go uphill. Turn left at the first turning onto the Esplanade, a row of beautiful old merchants’ houses. Follow this road for about five minutes and you will come to a very narrow lane on the left with steps leading down to a granite quay. This is the Polruan ferry stop and you can see it plying its way to and fro about every 20 minutes – so you won’t have long to wait.

When you get off the ferry at Polruan and you’ll see a South West Coast Path sign with an acorn on it telling you to go to the right. Follow this path and you will soon leave the town and start climbing the hill to reveal startling sea views out into the English Channel. At the top of the hill there are some old lookout buildings – we climbed up and sat on one to have our picnic with breathtaking views and only the seagulls for company.


We played hide and seek, blew dandelion clocks and spent a really happy hour here having fun. The more adventurous could carry on to beautiful Pencarow head and Lantic Bay but those with toddlers probably will head back across the cliffs to the top of Polruan and make their way back down the road towards the river. There is a lovely tea room at the bottom of the hill on the left called the Harbour Café. Alternatively, for those who fancy a pint, try the Lugger Inn!

Back then onto the ferry for the return trip, (the best bit according to my two!) maybe a bit of retail therapy and a wander back to the car – enjoy.

You can extend this day for older children by turning left as you leave the ferry on the Fowey side and carry on down the Esplanade to Readymoney Cove (the magnificent castle like building above the beach is Dawn French’s home) which is a lovely little sandy beach with safe swimming.


The second extension is to cross the river from the Bodinnick Ferry car park and climb a short steep hill on the other side till you see a National Trust sign saying ‘Hall Walk’. Follow this for an hour’s walk into Polruan with the most spectacular views of the creek and harbour.

Getting there

From Bosinver it takes approximately 25 mins to reach Fowey, and around 40 minutes to reach the Bodinnick Ferry car park.

We’re always keen to hear about any child friendly cafes, activities and attractions in Cornwall so we can pass on the information to our other guests. If you’ve been to Fowey or Polruan as a family, we’d love to hear about your visit and what you enjoyed the most. Feel free to post a comment below, or on our Facebook page. You can also tweet your thoughts @bosinver.

Share this post:

Red cow with a red heart clipart

Here are some more posts you may like

Action Nan and the rest of the team are always busy writing posts that we think you’ll like – from top tips on where to take the kids, to what’s likely to be going on in the local area when you stay – we’ve got it all in our blog!