A Cornish love affair: Cold Feet actress Hermione Norris enjoys a great British family holiday at the hotel that inspired Toad Hall

  • Hermione Norris checks into Fowey Hall for a family-friendly staycation
  • The hotel is said to have inspired Toad Hall in The Wind In The Willows
  • There’s other literary connections, including to author Daphne du Maurier



As an actress and the star of hit TV series such as Cold Feet and Spooks, I ve been lucky enough to film in some glorious locations. But when it comes to holidays, there s one place to which I always return Cornwall. My love affair with the county began when I was a child, and over the years I ve visited everywhere from St Ives to Padstow, and Mousehole to Looe. However, until this year I d never been to Fowey, that favourite of the yachting set. I was determined to put that right, so we booked a half-term break with our children Wilf, 11, and Hero, eight at Fowey Hall.

Hermione, Wilf and Hero during their break at Fowey Hall. The hotel provides details of a four-mile walk where you can really explore the area

Some people say that the hotel was the model for Kenneth Grahame s Toad Hall in The Wind In The Willows. Grahame was a regular visitor to the town, and Fowey has another literary connection too novelist Daphne du Maurier lived here for much of her life and most of her books have a Cornish setting.

Many years ago, I appeared in a du Maurier play, September Tide, alongside Susannah York and Michael Praed. The drama is set in a town which was almost certainly based on Fowey. It is a place that you just have to explore. The hotel provides details of a four-mile walk which takes you past the house that Daphne s father bought as a family Discount Holidays © holiday home, and where Daphne s son still lives. Wilf and Hero are used to going on long family walks and they really enjoyed the little ferries across the estuary we had to take as part of our journey.

And there was a little treat for them when we got back to Fowey a fantastic sweet shop selling old favourites such as rhubarb and custard. The weather was a bit mixed during our stay, as it can often be in Cornwall. One morning we woke up to glorious sunshine, but by the afternoon the clouds had rolled in and the rain poured down. Still, we weren t bothered by it. It s all part of a great British holiday.

Literary connection: Fowey, above, was a favourite of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows

Fowey Hall is part of the family-friendly Luxury Family Hotels chain. As it was half-term, the hotel was packed, and all the children were really indulged by the staff, especially at meal-times. What was impressive is that staff were not at all precious. Unlike some hotels where parents spend the whole time on edge, worrying that their children will disturb fellow guests, at Fowey Hall the youngsters felt free and relaxed, so it rubbed off on their parents. Another good thing was that rather than have all the children eat at the same time, here families tended to dine together.

There were different menus for various age groups to ensure that everyone was well catered for. But the food wasn t just chips with everything there were plenty of healthy options. There was also so much for Wilf and Hero to do: the indoor pool was my daughter s idea of heaven, and they also attended dance and film nights.

And whenever we left the hotel, there were the pleasures of Cornwall to enjoy. Long walks, surfing, cream teas it s no wonder that I love Cornwall so much.


The Fowey Hall Hotel offers rooms from 240 per night including breakfast. Visit luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk1 or call 0844 482 2152.


  1. ^ luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk (luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk)

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