With the return of overseas holidays overshadowed by travel chaos, it may be time to stay closer to home and opt for a staycation instead. But rather than head to the regular crowded places, why not check out some of the lesser populated unspoiled areas? Sabi Phagura took a trip to the Old Ferry Inn Bodinnick Cornwall, avoiding all of the travel problems currently affecting the UK.
Cornwall has remained one of the most popular staycation destinations in the UK for decades, thanks to its crystal-clear water, rugged beaches, cliff backdrops, quaint local towns and gorgeous countryside. And while some sections of this Cornish riviera have received far more recognition than others, some hidden gems are still waiting to be discovered.
Bodinnick, just across the river from Fowey, is one of them and a wonderful place to visit for an undisturbed break by the sea. I took refuge at the Old Ferry Inn for a few days and got into ‘comfy slipper’ mode from the moment I walked in.
The historical Old Ferry Inn
Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Old Ferry Inn has a rich history dating back over 400 years with a strong Celtic connection and great maritime history. Located on the bank of the River Fowey, the inn with three terraced areas boasts seriously stunning views with a panoramic outlook towards Fowey, Polruan, and the English Channel.
The Bodinnick to Fowey Ferry is just a stone’s throw away, while the home of renowned author Daphne de Maurie (author of Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel, and Frenchman’s Creek) is a mere 20 yards away.
One can easily spend hours admiring this section of the Cornish coastline, so it’s just as well the same views can be seen from various vantage points within the Old Ferry Inn. The 11 bedrooms are light and airy, with a contemporary yet rustic charm and boast postcard-perfect coastal views. You can easily curl up looking out to the coast while snuggling up on the cosy beds, which come fully equipped with goose feather duvets and pillows.
All the newly refurbished rooms are beautiful and unique in their own way, but hands down, room #1 (which I was lucky enough to bag) stands head and shoulder above the others. Several features make it so; it’s the largest, has a chaise lounge, a dedicated seating area overlooking the coastline, a bureau (if you must work) and a separate walk-in shower and bathtub stocked with Bramley toiletries.
If that isn’t enough, Cornish charisma is extended further by way of a wicker basket containing homemade hot chocolate, tea, coffee, milk (including non-dairy alternatives such as soya, oat, and almond), local biscuits, vanilla fudge made on the premises, and tasty dog treats for any four-legged friends.
Talking of man’s best friend, Archie, the resident Newfoundland dog, who’s a gentle giant, will be delighted to make any new dog feel right at home.
After a three-and-a-half-hour train journey from London Paddington, my thoughts had turned to food, and with the promise of a Sunday roast, I needed no extra incentive to leave my gorgeous room. And wow, the meal didn’t disappoint.
The traditional food fayre here is served just as one would expect at their grandma’s home. A trio of meats – Slow-roasted pork, lamb, and beef take pride of place on Sunday lunch menus, placed elegantly on a wooden board, surrounded by all the trimmings, accompanied by gigantic Yorkshire puddings; no one goes away feeling hungry!
From a price point alone, it is a bargain at just £19 a head or £38 for two. You would never get that kind of quality or quantity of food from the capital. I doff my hat to chef Kai Taylor, who, together with his staff, proudly supports the local producers and suppliers found within a 20-mile radius.
Traditional, fresh, and local are the best words to describe the delicious dishes at the Old Ferry Inn. Ingredients such as smoked salmon are cured and smoked on-site, and homemade bread is baked every day whilst fish is brought in fresh from the harbour, having been caught by local Cornish fishermen.
Organic vegetables are sourced from nearby fields grown by local farmers and are prepared in the kitchen. And no trip to Cornwall is complete without experiencing a Cornish cream tea. I doubt anyone would forgo the opportunity; the only question is what comes first– the cream or the jam?
Hike the spectacular Hall Walk
If you appreciate good food but want to keep your weight in check, you may want to pack your walking shoes to take a hike along the famous Hall Walk. This popular undulating circular walk involves two ferry crossings and wonderful waterside sections along Pont Pill and Fowey Quay. So after a good night’s rest and even more food at breakfast the following day, our group began the sign-posted walk with gusto just yards away from the Old Ferry Inn.
Almost immediately, hikers are rewarded with beautiful views of the Fowey Harbour and the south coast interspersed with dense woodland and quiet country lanes shaded by trees. I would recommend allowing extra time for the four-mile walk because it would be a shame not to stop from time to time to take in the surroundings.
Far too often, we become focused on getting to our ‘destination’, missing out on the very scenery we have come to enjoy. There are also plenty of splendid pubs for refreshments and quaint quays and villages to stop for a break, and each one is an incentive to walk further.
It’s also worth diverting to the beautiful St Wyllow church near Pont Pill, and for those wishing to up the ante, the steep descent and ascent of the Lantic Bay section of the walk will get your heart pumping. The secluded cove is worth the tough climb back up, which I did in record time. Well, I do like a challenge!
In my book, every completed challenge should always be rewarded, and for me, it was the new hot tub on the upstairs terrace, open exclusively to the Old Ferry Inn residents.
The hot tub is ideal for couples or individuals who want to unwind after a fun-filled day at the Regatta or simply relax in the late afternoon sun and gaze at the stunning views overlooking the river. This Cornish oasis is the ideal place to soak up the environment and breathe the fresh coastal air.
A good hot tub session requires the obligatory drink, and the Old Ferry Inn doesn’t do things by halves. It has its own on-site micro-brewery, where you can order one of the Yards branded distilled gin, rum, and tequila to sip on while you soak up your surroundings. Better still, guests can book themselves for a tasting session where owner Paul will take you through a senses-inducing exploration of all the brewery offers.
Meanwhile, the on-site shop showcases and sells a wide variety of local Cornish produce and handmade goods, including throws made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles and a jewellery collection made entirely from reclaimed and repurposed grill fishing nets by passionate local artist Rhiannon Steward.
Fowey’s Annual Regatta
The Old Ferry Inn is like a mini resort in itself, with plenty to do on-site, but one thing you should always try to experience is Fowey’s annual Regatta. This year’s event takes place from the 14th to the 20th of August and contains a full programme of races and traditional land-based events. Queen Victoria, her consort Prince Albert, and our current Queen have all attended this annual historic celebration.
Perched above its magnificent harbour, Fowey provides a natural spot from which to watch the sailing and from where you can immerse yourselves in the exuberance of the carnival. The Old Ferry Inn is doing its bit as part of the celebrations and has planned a BBQ with delicious pork, lamb, and beef on the Saturday, as well as having a racing team from the inn participating in several sailing events.
For lovers of Cornwall’s beautiful coastline and countryside, luxe downtime has never been more alluring from the charming Old Ferry Inn. You don’t need to worry about the weather because you can enjoy this lovely little inn regardless of what nature is doing outside.
Old Ferry Inn – Where and How?
Prices for a stay at the Old Ferry Inn start from £125 for a double room with no sea view. To book a stay or for more information, visit www.theoldferryinn.co.uk.
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