It feels like you have unearthed a long kept secret when you finally arrive, having navigated the precariously narrow and steep lanes to get there! But once here, Penpoll has the great advantage of being able to offer the best of both worlds: enjoy quiet seclusion at home, where you are at one with the birds on the river and grazing farm animals in the fields, and also easily access the charming town of Fowey – buzzing with harbour life, and its many art galleries, restaurants and shops. The mini car ferry at Bodinnick, which takes you across to Fowey is just 2 miles away from Penpoll. We have a list of highly recommended restaurants pubs and cafes in the area.
Ten minutes further inland is the medieval town of Lostwithiel – once the original seat of the Duchy of Cornwall – where a walk up to the imposing Restormel Castle ruins will certainly blow the cobwebs away. There are some interesting antique and interiors shops to lure the more retail-minded.
The Duchy of Cornwall Nursery is a must visit for delicious lunches and snacks in the lovely café there, and it has a really brilliant gift/interiors shop.
Penpoll is a short distance away from the pretty harbour towns of Polperro, Megavissey and Charlestown (home to many a Poldark harbour scene).
The pretty riverside village of Lerryn, the inspiration for Mole and Ratty’s home in Wind in the Willows, is just a five minute drive from Penpoll. Here you can enjoy beautiful riverside walks through Ethy woods, order and stock up with delicious Cornish groceries at the excellent Lerryn Village Stores & Post Office, and refresh with a pint at the friendly pub, The Ship Inn.
The Fowey Estuary has been immortalised by writers Daphne du Maurier and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. There is fun to be had here, whether you are sailing, shopping, walking, eating and gallery visiting!
The charm is irresistible and it rubs off on us all. The harbour itself is a busy scene, with tug boats and pilot boats, steering freight ships carrying English china clay in and out of the harbour, alongside yachts on their moorings.
The pontoon at Albert Quay plays host to scores of children with crabbing lines and buckets.
During regatta week in August, things get really busy here and the days are packed with fun for all the family, with crabbing competitions, raft races, carnival processions, spectacular firework displays and bands playing. And of course, for sailors of big and small boats, plenty of competitive racing.
St Catherine’s Castle was built by Henry VIII as part of his chain of southwest defences. Children love exploring this cliff top lookout at the mouth of the Fowey River.
Glorious beaches are within easy striking distance.
Our favourite is Polridmouth, situated below Menabily, the inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s book “Rebecca”. Accessible by footpath or by boat, this is an idyllic spot, where families for generations have spent happy days rockpooling, playing cricket and swimming in the shallow waters. A magical spot for a sunny summer evening, around driftwood barbeques, and dogs are welcome on this beach too.
Tucked around the next bay is another gem of a beach; Polkerris Beach. This is a sheltered sandy beach, with a picturesque harbour wall, moorings for boats and a well equipped water sports facility. This is a perfect family friendly beach, especially for small children. RYA recognised lessons in sailing and windsurfing can be booked. All this, plus the wonderful Sam’s on the Beach Restaurant and Rashleigh Inn pub for delicious food while your children play!
Lansallos Beach is a hidden secret smuggler’s cove; dramatic in winter and a suntrap in summer. You get to the beach via a well maintained footpath (1/2 mile). It is never crowded, and perfect for picnics, and dog walking. At low tide the rockpools are full interesting things, but not so good for swimming as the currents can be strong.
Talland Bay is a slightly further drive, but it is worth it, especially for those with babies and toddlers as it is easy to get to from the nearby carpark and it is well served by a lovely little café and shop, safe paddling and swimming and lots of rock pools.
In Fowey, Readymoney Beach is another perfect sandy and safe spot for tiny children. You can park nearby in the Fowey public car park, and the restaurants and shops of Fowey are within 10 minutes’ walk.
For those who enjoy a challenge, dog-friendly Lantic Bay is undoubtedly the most beautiful of all the surrounding beaches – a long stretch of golden sand at low tide provides space and beauty for a glorious day in the sun. It feels like you have stumbled across a very well kept secret! But it is accessed only by boat or a long and steep footpath, which is not for the fainthearted at the end of a long day – top tip is not to carry too much kit!
Things To Do: On The Water
‘“Simply messing, simply messing about in boats..” said Rat dreamily to Mole….’
You’ll understand this sentence entirely when you are at Penpoll; it brings out the Ratty in all of us!
The water is there, right outside the door. At high tide, it is easy to canoe/boat to Fowey from the house or to explore upriver towards discover the real beauty of this area, and come within a hair’s breadth of the darting Kingfishers, Egrets and Cormorants who reside here.
Bring your own kayak or small dinghy and launch it from the orchard (but be careful of the tides!) – or join supervised/organised kayaking expeditions on the river Fowey.
Fowey is perfect for sailing, and Penpoll is perfectly situated (less than 2 miles) for access to the excellent Penmarlam Quay Slipway where visitors can launch and moor larger boats.
It is also easy to hire small dinghies to explore the Fowey estuary, and organised boat trips and RYA sailing lessons are readily available in Fowey.
There are also passenger ferries and water taxis make crossing the harbour easy; foot passengers can cross all day between Polruan and Fowey, until around 11pm.
Or use the Bodinnick Car Ferry service between Fowey and Bodinnick – on foot or in a car – which usually runs until just before dusk.
Things To Do: On The Land
“A perfect base for walkers!”
Penpoll is ideally located for exploring this truly beautiful part of Cornwall on foot.
There are lots of footpaths to choose from directly from Penpoll’s garden gate, plus some stunning stretches of the National Trust’s coastal paths nearby.
A few highlights:
· From the doorstep, walk the circular route to St Veep and Manley, or on to Lerryn.
· Choose sections of the South West Coast Path from Fowey to Polkerris, or Boddinick to Polperro.
· Take the Saint’s Way footpath from Readymoney Cove.
· The Hall Walk from Boddinick to Point Pill.
· The Fowey-Polruan Circular route.
· Or try walking through the beautiful Ethy beech woods (The Wild Woods in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows), which hug the river around Lerryn to the breathtaking riverside 15th Century church at St Winnow. CLICK HERE FOR A WALKING ROUTE
Take a look at the South West Coast Path website for more inspiration – the choice is yours, and the scenery is guaranteed to be magnificent!
Cycling is fun on the Clay Trails, which opened in 2005 & part of 200miles of linked trails in Cornwall. Cycle hire is available nearby. Or, explore the National Trust cycle trails at the nearby beautiful Lanhydrock House which also has a great café.
Nearby golf is also very easy to access. Porthpean Golf Course is a family favourite, with stunning sea views and relaxed vibe. Other clubs nearby include Carlyon Bay Golf Course (also a cliff top course with views across St Austell Bay), St Austell Golf Club and Lanhydrock Hotel. All are within a 20 minute drive of Penpoll