The incredibly pretty seaside town of Cornwall where legendary Vicar of Dibley Dawn French lived and was home to the best crab shack

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Tucked away in a small estuary in South Cornwall is a seaside town where a British comedy legend was a local.

The fishing town of Fowey is nestled at the mouth of the Fowey River and has become a trade hotspot – while gaining a reputation for piracy and smuggling.

But piracy and the kaolin trade were not the city’s most famous exports; it’s home to two of the country’s most famous authors, secret coves, a 7th-century church and castle – as well as comedy icon Dawn French and the area’s best crab shack.

READ MORE:The beautiful seaside town of Cornwall is full of brilliant restaurants, including one run by a chef from the BBC’s Great British Menu



Fowey must be blessed

Dawn French lived in Fowey with her daughter Billie and husband Mark Bignell in a Grade II listed building called Point Neptune.

She lived there for 15 years before deciding to sell the mansion earlier this year.

The Point Neptune building dates from the 19th century and offers an impressive view of the city which overlooks the harbor.

The Vicar of Dibley star took Point Neptune in 2006 for £ 3million and originally lived there with her first husband, Lenny Henry, and their daughter.



Dawn lived here for 15 years

But Dawn has decided to swap her harbor side abode for a rural neo-Gothic villa on the Cornwall-Devon border in Calstock, which has an annex with its own bedroom, kitchen, living room and shower room, and a separate shed. .

The house sits on three acres of land, which includes a Victorian greenhouse, potting shed, municipal run, and subdivision.

However, Dawn wasn’t the only famous face to call Fowey’s home.

You might spot Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan walking around.



You might see these women walking

Famous authors Daphne du Maurier and Kenneth Grahame (of The Wind in the Willows) both lived in the city in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But Fowey isn’t just a celebrity playground, it’s home to some of the area’s best seafood restaurants.

Captain Hank’s Crab & Snack Shack serves Cornish crab and locally caught seafood in a vintage Citroën H van that overlooks the river.

Find dishes like crab sandwiches, crab candy, seared shrimp with garlic butter, and fish sandwiches.

Captain Hank is picked up TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award , with customers raving about their food – and scoring a perfect five out of five.

A previous customer wrote: “I found this little gem of a food truck purely by accident, but are we glad we did! The food was amazing, freshly prepared and beautifully served. I had the good crab vouchers and my husband had the fish finger tip both were gorgeous.

Another commented: “Amazing seafood paradise off the beaten track! I loved ! I stumbled across while walking in Fowey. What a gem of a location with a breathtaking view of the river. If you like local seafood, it doesn’t get better than this!

A third said: “What a fantastic place, I can’t believe food of this quality comes out of such a small space! “



St Catherine’s Castle, Cornwall, 2007. Aerial view of one of two small artillery forts built by Henry VIII in the 1530s to defend Fowey Harbor, consisting of two storeys with ground-level portholes. Historical Artist Photographer of the England team. (Photo by English Heritage / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

To further explore Fowey’s legacy, Sainte-Catherine castle stands overlooking the mouth of the River Fowey – built by Henry VIII in the 1530s to defend the town’s harbor.

The castle was modified centuries later to be part of a larger artillery battery during the Crimea and later World War II.

You will also find the parish church of Fowey, dedicated to St Fimbarrus.



The church was damaged by French soldiers

The Norman church became a Benedictine priory in 1180, where it was rebuilt two centuries later where a skylight was added – a rare feature in medieval Cornish churches.

Between the 13th and 15th centuries, Fowey was a hotspot for pirates who attacked Channel shipping.

In 1457 the town was attacked by French soldiers who tried to stop the Cornish pirates.



Readymoney Cove in Fowey, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. (Photo by: Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The French ransacked the town before heading to a mansion near the church, called Place.

Rumor has it that Place owner Elizabeth Treffy poured molten lead on the incoming French as they attempted to enter the house.

The lead prevented the soldiers from entering, so they made their way to the church, which they almost destroyed.



Find this hidden gem along the coast

To explore a bit of the local natural scenery, Fowey has its own beaches to explore, Readymoney Cove is a short walk from the town center – or walk along the South West Coast Path to find the secret Polridmouth Cove.



Nice Lantic Bay you are there

Across the River Fowey is the turquoise waters of Lantic Bay, in the village of Polruan.

You can board the ferry in town which will take you across the river.

When you’re feeling peckish, Fowey also has a few Michelin recommended restaurants – Appleton Bar & Restaurant , The Old Quay House , and Fitzroy .

At Appleton’s, you’ll find dishes like Harissa Rose Fish Stew, Squid Ink Linguine, and Crayfish and Potato Chowder.

The Old Quay House serves classic Cornish seafood like sweet herb crusted hake and charred Cornish mackerel.

You can also try their High Tea and Cream Tea – made Cornish-style (jam first!).

At Fitzroy, their menu changes daily, but you can expect to see choices like Turbout with Celeriac and Butter Sauce, Lobster with New Potatoes and Garlic Butter, and Sea Buckthorn Granita.

So if you’re looking for a Cornish hangout to explore, discover Fowey’s history, hidden gems and gastronomic wonders.



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How to get there

You can take a train from Paddington to Par, before taking a bus directly to Fowey.

Or if you prefer to have a scenic drive, it will take you around five and a half hours.

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