Daphne Du Maurier experiences in Fowey
A guide to discovering Fowey’s links with the famous author, Daphne du Maurier…
Everywhere you go in and around the town you will find links to Du Maurier or her novels. The town's small museum is a good place to start. Here you will see a selection of books and paraphenalia connected with her and learn that Du Maurier isn’t the only author to be inspired by the area. Sir Authur Quiller-Couch, or Q as he was known, was a friend of Daphne's. Kenneth Grahame, of Wind in the Willow's fame, spent quite a bit of time in Fowey, he to was a friend of Quiller Couch, and another author, Leo Walmsley wrote about his time living in a former quarantine hospital up Pont Creek.
One of the best ways to discover Daphne du Maurier’s Fowey is by foot. Strike out along the South West Coast Path and follow the scenic route towards Gribben Head passing, the coves of Readymoney and Polridmouth, before heading inland towards Menabilly. Alternatively, head up river and catch the ferry across to Bodinnick where you will see Ferryside, a whitewashed house with bright shutters which was the first Cornish home of Daphne du Maurier and still owned by the family today. Follow our Creeks and Coves walk for a full exploration of this side of the river.
Fowey Festival of Art & Literature
The Fowey Festival of Art & Literature celebrates the rich literature heritage of the area in eight days of talks, readings, theatre, music and so much more. Still true to its beginnings as ‘The Du Maurier Festival’, it showcases the inspiration behind the author’s stories and has evolved to become a platform for internationally renowned writers, performers and entertainers. There are creative writing workshops, reading groups, debates, guided walks and live music.
On the Water
Hop aboard one of the many boat trips setting off from Fowey harbour and discover the river or the nearby coast. To get a real waterside perspective, why not go kayaking or try out stand up paddleboards?
Take Afternoon Tea
Follow in Daphne’s footsteps by enjoying Afternoon Tea at The Fowey Harbour Hotel. As you fill up on delicately cut sandwiches, indulgent scones and mini cakes you can recreate Daphne du Maurier’s meetings with her mentor, the academic and writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. They regulalrly met here when the famous novelist was still a fledging writer. Du Maurier later went on to complete ‘Castle Dor’ which was begun by Sir Quiller-Couch and takes its title from a nearby Iron Age fort. While you’re at The Fowey Hotel take a moment to seek out the photo of Sir Quiller-Couch which hangs in the public sitting room.
During the season, local historians and Blue Badge Guides from the Fowey Harbour Heritage Society run walks around the town and the surrounding countryside. A great way of getting to know things and much better than reading a website!
Read the Books
It might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many only know Daphne du Maurier through the films or TV adaptations of her novels. For a start, try the ones based in and around Fowey. Rebecca, inspired by the grounds of Menabilly and the coast to the south of the town. The Loving Spirit, her first book, set in Polruan and My Cousin Rachel, which opens with the line 'They used to hang men at Four Turnings'