Hotel Review: The Old Ferry Inn, Fowey, Cornwall
The Old Ferry Inn is one of Cornwall’s oldest Inns has been rejuvenated, its rooms reimagined and it now even makes its own gin.
The Old Ferry Inn is technically in Bodinnick on the east bank of the Fowey river, a place that comprises the ferry, the Inn, Daphne Du Maurier’s old house ‘Ferryside,’ and a few private homes. There’s been a ferry here since the 13th century, and the inn has been serving people making the five-minute crossing since around 1600.
Lovers of inns that are packed with warmth, and character, whilst fully up-to-date on comforts, will be more than satisfied at The Old Ferry Inn. Foodies will appreciate the fact that nothing on their plate comes from more than twenty miles away, walkers will gleefully stroll the local trails with their fantastic views, and dog-lovers are more than welcome to bring their furry friends to stay and meet Archie, the inn’s massive Newfoundland dog who has the soppiest attitude and the warmest heart, and is, unsurprisingly, a guest favourite.
The recent refurb has been done sympathetically and stylishly. Original staircases still wander aimlessly about in all directions in a pleasingly unstructured manner, but the bedrooms, eleven in all, and eight with river views, have been modernised with clever use of reclaim and upcycling to create a consistent feel across them all.
King size, twins or junior suites are all individual and warmly welcoming with goose feather and down bedding all wrapped in Egyptian cotton, and, in the ensuite you’ll find high count fluffy towels and Bramley amenities to pamper you in ways early travellers could only dream about. The modern traveller can also appreciate the TV and the handy USB ports on both bedside plugs.
Being an inn, there is, of course, a marvellously cosy pub downstairs at the back, along with a room where owner Paul distils his own range of gins. A tutored tasting session here will leave you a bit giddy, but the front lounge with its perfect view of Fowey is ideal for a doze and recovery
Food and Drink
Sunday lunch here is understandably very popular; both the downstairs lounge and upstairs glass-walled dining room were full of tourists and locals when I arrived, the latter identifiable by their shorts and happy, tanned faces.
Chef Kai Taylor is determined nothing in his kitchen should come from more than twenty miles away, whether meat, fish or vegetables. My starter of crispy squid with salsa and a smoked chilli mayo segued smoothly into a mixed meat platter roast of 12-hour cooked Kittows Brisket of beef, plus lamb and pork shoulder with organic Polruan vegetables, Colwith roast potatoes and Leigh’s Yorkshire puddings. A real Sunday feast.
Evenings you should look out for a generous starter of Mevagissey pan-fried scallops with wild garlic, and then tuck into a forest of local crab legs, simply boiled and dressed with lots of butter.
You will need a good breakfast before heading out on the famous Hall Walk. I was undecided between locally smoked kippers, a triple bacon (or sausage) sarny, or the Inn’s own beetroot smoked salmon. Bacon sarny won. You can also have a continental breakfast in your room.
The inn also kitted me out with a superb homemade scotch egg, pork pie, a pot of apple cider chutney, pico de gallo salad and spiced apple jelly for the halfway stage of my walk. Everything tastes better when you’re sitting on a bench looking out at the sea.
There are also lavish cream teas for your happily exhausted return; a feast of home-made scones, Cornish clotted cream and local jams, all with Archie giving you his practised sad eye as he watches for any crumbs.
A rooftop terrace gives uninterrupted views of the river and harbour, and there’s a new hot tub as well.
As The Old Ferry Inn has its own distillery, this surely is a perfect place to enjoy some of that home-made gin in a great big clinking gin and tonic. If you like it you can buy some in the gin room downstairs alongside local produce.
And you can take your pooch.
A double room at The Old Ferry Inn with river view and refundable bed & breakfast starts at £245.
What is near to The Old Ferry Inn?
You can walk onto the Bodinnick car ferry, which operates every fifteen minutes all year, apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and you’re in Fowey in moments. I spent a pleasant day in its almost car-free streets and lanes, browsing the small shops and later eating a big pasty looking out onto the yachts gently bobbing as the sun went down. You could almost be in the Med, apart from the intoxicating aroma of Doom Bar ale on the evening breeze.
The Hall Walk” along the Polruan River, is a wonderful three-hour circuit that has it all – ever-changing, always stunning, views of the river and sea, as well as challenging uphill sections and joyful downhill stumbles. It leaves you out of breath one minute, then struck breathless by another great view the next.
VERDICT: A real find in Fowey; a welcoming romantic inn with historic charm, superb local food, plenty of walks and with wonderful views across the water.