Fantastic wedding venues: A review of the Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall
Originally built as a beautiful Victorian family home by the wealthy local resident Charles Hanson in 1899, Fowey Hall is steeped in history. Not least for its important role in the creation of the children’s book ‘Wind in the Willows’. The author, Kenneth Grahame, was a frequent visitor to the hall when it was a private home and it is believed that the building was the model for ‘Toad Hall’. Today, the courtyard bedrooms are named after the animals in the classic tale; Mr Toad, Pan, Wild Wood, Otter, Badger, Mole, Ratty and Sea Rat. Grahame, who had a great love for Cornwall, married in Fowey, which is depicted as ‘The little Grey Seaport’ in his enduring classic, and enjoyed many holidays in this charming seaside town.
Taken over by Luxury Family Hotels in 1998, the hall was beautifully restored to reflect its unique character, retaining many of its original features. Rich architectural detailing, vaulted ceilings, wood panelled public areas, French furniture and elaborate fireplaces all contribute to the breath-taking grandeur of the hotel. Walking around with the on-site wedding coordinator, Jess Leath, the hall has a wonderfully luxurious and relaxing atmosphere where you get the sense that it’s their mission to make you feel like your right at home. Although it was summer, I could just picture how inviting it would be to relax on the comfy sofas in front of the roaring log fire for a romantic winter wedding. A coffee table of elegant flowers, interesting books and a tray of tea served with homemade flapjack all added to the homely feel of relaxing in the drawing room.
Perched above the Fowey estuary, this coastal manor has a truly spectacular location with glimpses of the harbour and an array of sailboats through the trees and far-reaching views out to sea. Set in beautiful gardens, there is plenty of space for an outdoor drinks reception where guests can spill out onto the perfectly manicured lawns and relax on the comfortable garden furniture dotted along the long patio and terraces. The charming, picturesque town of Fowey, with its unique boutique shops, pretty tea-rooms, thriving restaurants and bustling harbour which offers an abundance of water activities, is a short wander away. Fowey is home to the beautiful St Fimbarrus Church; however a qualifying connection is required in order to marry here. Across the water, St Saviour’s Chapel in Polruan and St Wyllow Church in Lanteglos-by-Fowey, are well worth considering.
The thirty six bedrooms are spacious and luxurious, many with balconies or patio doors onto the lawn, and comprise of double rooms, suites and interconnecting rooms to accommodate all party sizes. I enjoyed the grandeur of the William Hanson suite, named after the former owner; its stunning views out over the grounds and the Fowey estuary, elaborate high ceilings, splendid windows with lavish velvet curtains, plush lounge area and elegant bathroom with beautiful roll top bath made it a truly indulgent stay. The optional interconnecting dressing room creates an extra-large suite, making it ideal for a bridal party.
From leisurely full English breakfasts to fine-dining evening meals, the cuisine is absolutely first-class and runs like clockwork due to restaurant manager, Dominica, who ensures flawless service from every staff member. With chandeliers and an enormous floor length mirror, the dining room is traditionally styled, in keeping with the building’s heritage. Large patio doors opening onto the lawns make it a wonderfully bright room, sizeable enough to sit 120 guests for a wedding reception and ample room for a band and dancing. Alternatively, the morning room offers a more intimate setting for smaller ceremonies and receptions. The chefs are clearly culinary connoisseurs and are more than happy to create a menu of your choice for your wedding day, sourcing the very finest ingredients, many of which are locally sourced. On the menu for me was a delicious creamy sweet potato, coconut and chilli soup, the freshest pan fried sea bass, caught by Fowey’s fishermen, with Nicoise salad, Cornish new potatoes and warm olive dressing, and a refreshing lemon tart with raspberry coulis and forest fruit sorbet – all nothing short of exceptional. A scrumptious cream tea on the lawns in certainly not to be missed too!
Children are more than taken care of with the Four Bear’s den crèche, games and movie room, trampoline, pirate’s ship, tyre swing and zip wire. Although I haven’t experienced it myself, guests have raved that the evening babysitting and listening service is second to none, leaving the adults to enjoy the wedding with peace of mind right up until the last dance.
The Elemis spa features an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub and terrace with uninterrupted sea views, and tranquil treatment rooms. I enjoyed the ‘ladies getaway’ package which included a 25-minute treatment followed by a cream tea on the terrace whilst taking in the estuary views. This is the perfect treat for any bride and her bridesmaids before the wedding celebrations begin.
This is undoubtedly a very special wedding venue with a stunning location, show-stopping building, dazzling sea views and beautiful grounds. Some of the main features that stand out to me for weddings are:
The homely feel – There is a really lovely atmosphere where every member of staff make you feel relaxed and at ease from the minute you walk in the door, creating a completely personal experience. It feels like home rather than a hotel. With all the grandeur of the building, there is nothing pretentious here and that is evident in their weddings too.
Exclusive use – Fowey Hall can be your exclusive country house where you can enjoy complete privacy with your friends and family for the weekend.
Exquisite food and service – The chefs consistently produce exceptionally creative food and customise menus to suite you and your style. The food is something that guests always remember at a wedding so it’s important to get right! The service is nothing short of flawless; friendly, attentive and professional to give you complete confidence that your day will run smoothly. They take a personal and bespoke approach to every wedding.
Luxurious and spacious rooms – the rooms are beautifully well appointed and spacious enough for any sized family you have coming to the wedding. The William Hanson suite creates a dream setting for the bridal party’s morning preparations. The dining room is so elegant and has lots of patio doors, making it bright and perfect for styling in the way you want.
I have been lucky enough to plan a wedding at Fowey Hall; it was truly spectacular and the guests are still talking about it now! I can’t recommend it enough and look forward to working with the team again.
Photo credits: Charlie Campey Photography
All images are from weddings planned by me, Emma Caesar.
I can help you find your dream wedding venue! I will conduct a careful venue search based on your vision, requirements and budget, create a shortlist, attend all viewings alongside you if required, and conduct detailed evaluations of each location in order to ensure that all the right questions are asked.
If you would like to know more about weddings at Fowey Hall or how I can help you with your venue search, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.