What is the story?
So close to the water you can hear the waves lapping against sailboats from your room, the 400 year old Old Ferry Inn is near the Bodinnick ferry slipway, just up the River Fowey from Fowey itself, in South Cornwall. It adjoins the former home of Daphne du Maurier, aptly named Ferryside. After a careful renovation, owner Paul Worswick (who previously ran a hotel in Newquay) and his black Newfoundland dog Archie opened the B&B 18 months ago.
What do we like?
A maze of beamed rooms built into the hillside are connected by winding staircases and hallways. Serving local lagers and traditional pastries, the downstairs pub also serves as a reception and meeting place.
All 11 rooms, some with sea view, have the warm palette of a jam-and-cream scone: rich mahogany sleigh beds and leather chairs with ivory carpets and lampshades. Their bathrooms contain Bramley smells. Typical of the thought put into the finer points, crystal glasses and a carafe of sloe gin from the on-site distillery are provided alongside house-made fudge and cordial. You can buy it all in the downstairs shop, where Worswick also sells alcohol in repurposed glass bottles, as well as preserved pickles and beeswax candles from Cornish companies.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the wood-fired hot tub. After a day exploring the coast, I headed to the upstairs terrace and enjoyed a Cornish lager up to my neck in bubbles as the sun went down and the fishermen returned to the harbor with full lobster pots.
● Best hotels in Cornwall
● Best spa hotels in Cornwall
Dinner is served in the dining room, which offers another view of the water, or a cozy lounge. Although they have Sunday roasts and a curry night, the food is otherwise tapas-inspired with a southwestern twist. Ingredients are sourced from a 25 mile radius. The Cornish pil pil prawns alongside hot garlic butter and sea vegetables were delicious (£10), as were the sherry and smoked chicken thighs, and the plum tomato (£9) and the Crispy spider crab croquettes with lemon and caper mayonnaise (£11). With smoked salmon at the inn, the breakfast was even better and better enjoyed in league with that idyllic harbor view.
Hiking shoes are required for the Hall Walk: a four-mile circular circuit to Polruan offering incredible views over Fowey before catching the Bodinnick ferry. Polperro, a pretty (but touristy) fishing village, is a 20-minute drive away, as is the nearest train station at Lostwithiel. The Eden Project is about half an hour away by car.
Suitable for children; a restaurant; does not accept dogs; not easily accessible
Katie Gatens was a guest at the Old Ferry Inn, which offers double guest rooms from £120; plates to share from £6 (theoldferryinn.co.uk)
Sign up for our Times Travel newsletter and follow us on Instagram and Twitter