Nanny Pat’s days out: a trip to Fowey on the ferry

Small child with a bucket of water fishing for crabs in Fowey, Cornwall, The boy is smiling.

I’ve wanted to venture on the sea trip from Mevagissey to Fowey for some time now, but the ferry is subject to weather and tide variations, and each time I have planned to go the ferry has been cancelled! Not so last week – the weather forecast was good, and with most of the older children back to school, Sam and I packed a rucksack and set off early to catch the first ferry of the day about 9.30am.

The ferry departs from Lighthouse Quay in Mevagissey and they advise getting there 15 mins before schedule (there’s no pre-booking, so it’s a first come, first served basis). You’ll need to allow plenty of time on your car park ticket and probably a 10 minutes to walk to the end of the quay. With the wind chill factor it can be really cold out on the water, even on a sunny day, so do take a jacket. There is some inside seating and flaps that can be rolled down if you’re heading into waves and want to avoid getting wet.


After leaving the quay we gently headed out of the harbour. The captain revved up the engine and we sped off doing about 14 knots, which was quite exhilarating. The first bay you come to is Pentewan with its wide sandy beach and caravan park. This is followed by Hallane with its lone house on the beach, Black Head, Ropehaven, Porthpean and Charlestown with its old galleon ships in the harbour. Rounding the cliffs you’ll pass Carlyon Bay, Par Beach, Polkerris and the Gribben – famous for its red and white striped daymark on the top. In St Austell Bay there is a mussel farm with warning lights and beacons to warn ships. The trip lasts about 35 minutes and we soon headed round the Gribben to approach Polruan and the entrance to Fowey Harbour.

The ferry docks at the Esplanade, a short walk from the town centre. We made our way to Pinky Muphy’s café along the main street on the way to the Bodinnick Ferry. It is one of our favourite child friendly restaurants with really funky décor and a great menu. On the way we stopped at the Aquarium to buy some fish bait to put in our crablines. The best place for crabbing is off the pontoon alongside the Harbour Office, just along from where the lifeboat is moored. Sam and I spent a happy hour catching our one crab and hoping for more, which didn’t materialise!


Lunch consisted of sandwiches from Kittow’s butchers and deli, just behind Town Quay, where they make sandwiches to order – delicious. We sat and ate them watching the comings and goings of life around the harbour and enjoying the early autumn sunshine. A seagull swooped down and stole the end of Sam’s sandwich, which was quite frightening. Unfortunately, due to people feeding the gulls, they’ve learned that people mean food – please don’t encourage them by feeding them.

If I had had a little more time I would have taken the ferry across to Polruan as I always enjoy the views from that side looking back at Fowey. We ambled back to our ferry point, stopping for a visit to the Old Grammar School gardens along the Esplanade, a favourite haunt of mine.

It is a jewel of a place, always quiet and peaceful, lovingly tended with great views over the harbour – handfuls of bees were buzzing around the sedum plants and we had the place all to ourselves. More time would have allowed us to visit Readymoney Cove, which is just a short walk from the quay – next time maybe?


A hop, skip and jump and we were back to the quay where we hopefully dangled the crab line for the last time before the ferry arrived for the return trip to Mevagissey (I think we caught sight of a pirate!) and a walk along the harbour to catch the bus back to Pentewan. A lovely day indeed and a very tired toddler…

More information

You can find out more about the Fowey-Mevagissey ferry online. Departure times vary with the seasons and the weather so we recommend checking their website before setting off.

Have you taken a trip on the Fowey-Mevagissey passenger ferry? We’d love to hear about your trip – why not leave a comment below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @bosinver.

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