Readymoney Cove Beach in Fowey, a favourite spot of Daphne du Maurier

Readymoney Cove Beach in Fowey, a favourite spot of Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier on one of her many walks around Fowey

Daphne du Maurier on one of her many walks around Fowey

Daphne du Maurier's links with Fowey date from the war period when as with the heroine in her novel 'Frenchman's Creek', she brought her children to live in rented accommodation around Readymoney in 1942. Later in 1945 she moved to the huge Menabilly on the Rashleigh Estate near Fowey. This creaking old house was the inspiration for Manderley, the starring house in 'Rebecca', immortalised in film by Hitchcock. Alfred Hitchcock, who knew the du Mauriers well, also adapted her work 'The Birds' onto the screen.

Once quoted as saying writers should be 'read rather than seen', du Maurier shunned the public spotlight believing that success was a very personal thing. Her love of the South Cornwall coast and the Fowey area shines through in her novels and you can find out more about the author's work and time in South Cornwall at the informative Daphne du Maurier Literary Centre with gift shop in the heart of the town centre.

Biography

Du Maurier was particularly encouraged by her father, George du Maurier, who was a wealthy author himself, and a Punch cartoonist, actor-manager and matinee idol. Both her father and husband, a Major later Lieutenant-General, Sir Frederick Browning were key figures in her life, and after Browning's death in the 1960s, du Maurier preferred a quiet reclusive life with her memories. Her youth had been a bright one, with no financial worries and room to travel with friends and write freely, encouraged by her father. The 1930s were certainly a prolific decade, with Jamaica Inn in 1938 and Rebecca in 1939. Du Maurier continued to write into the 1970s, however, and not just fiction but also histories and studies of Cornwall and an obsession with her own ancestors and family tree. She also wrote a biography of her father - 'Gerald a Portrait', and her family in 'The Du Mauriers'.

Her readership was largely women, and she certainly cultivated it, dramatising their fantasies and dreams in novels like 'Rebecca', which she claimed was actually meant as a study of jealousy. Her novels were dark with a Gothic edge and twinge of the Freudian Oedipal with father figure Maxim in 'Rebecca', "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool". Maurier played with the romantic novel genre, much like Agatha Christie and her early murder mysteries. Both these authoresses produced popular works, yet did something different with their chosen genres.

Literary Festival & Centre

A tour of the Fowey area and coastline is to take in the flavour of du Maurier's novels and experience the landscapes that inspired her. Visit in mid-May to coincide with the annual literature and arts festival which pays due homage to du Maurier and her links to the area. The festival includes a mix of literary entertainment and activities from talks and drama performances to guided walks and concerts. The Daphne du Maurier Literary Centre, adjacent to the 15th Century church of St Fimbarrus which marks the end of the Saints Way, is a must visit for du Maurier fans. The centre also offers detail on other local authors associated with the area including Kenneth Grahame, Leo Walmsley and Sir Arthur Quiller Couch. The centre has a great gift shop well stocked with du Maurier novels and souvenirs.

Daphne du Maurier Links

Accommodation in Fowey

  • Polruan   (0.8 miles from the centre of Fowey)
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    £14
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    Spectacularly situated camping and caravan pitches on the edge of Polruan village just a few metres from the coast path with WiFi, on-site shop, laundry room and hot showers.
     
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  • Tywardreath   (2.8 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 4
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    £288
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    Spacious ground floor annex in Tywardreath with sunny patio garden, parking, Wi-Fi, a cot & high chair for children & beach just one mile away. No pets. Short breaks.
     
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  • Tywardreath   (3.0 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 4
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    £285
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    Contemporary-styled two bedroom terraced cottage near Fowey with private lawn garden, outdoor seating area, period features & wood burner stove. Dog friendly.
     
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  • Tywardreath   (2.8 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 4
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    £302
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 5 reviews
    Rating from 5 reviews
    Sleeping four people in two bedrooms, this detached bungalow is in the lovely Cornish village of Tywardreath, 3 miles from Fowey.
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  • Tywardreath   (3.2 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 3
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    £238
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 3
     
    This annexe is a lovely holiday home sleeping up to three people in one bedroom.
     
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  • Penpillick Par   (3.9 miles from the centre of Fowey)
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    £465
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
     
    Hoseasons Holiday Cottages with beautiful views across the Cornish countryside near St Austell. Online booking available, great discounts
     
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  • Fowey   (0.3 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
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    £621
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    Breathtaking waterfront apartment in Fowey, with steps leading down to the water. Perfect for a romantic retreat, and close to the beach and other local attractions.
     
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  • Par   (3.2 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Prices from
    £38
    Per person B&B (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 251 reviews
    Rating from 251 reviews
    Pub inn situated in St Austell providing comfortable bed and breakfast in Cornwall. Rooms of varying sizes, suitable for individuals, couples and families.
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  • Fowey   (0.5 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
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    £303
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    Jordan Cottage is a charming holiday home in an elevated position above the Fowey Harbour. From the beautiful wildlife garden you can glimpse the boats pass by and the famous Ol...
     
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  • Fowey   (1.0 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £192
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    Quietly positioned by the side of the River Fowey, Merrifield is a tranquil holiday home with appeal especially for birdwatchers, people who enjoy messing around in boats and wa...
     
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