The town of Lostwithiel is just 3 miles from where I live, it has such a rich and vibrant history, and it dates back as far as the 12th century. It is set in the most stunning countryside and is right on the bank of the river Fowey, and at one point in history it was a very busy port, mostly for tin. The river is not as deep as it once was, but is still very popular to swim in and kayak. I love to sit on the river bank and enjoy a picnic in the Summer months.
This small town boasts beautiful country walks, stunning woodlands and lots of places to stop for a coffee/lunch or browse the many antique shops. It even has a castle named Restormel Castle which dates back to 14th century and the views from there are stunning, over the valley and the ancient medieval town of Lostwithiel.
There are so many historical houses, cottages, and buildings dotted around the town. One of my favourite things to do is just walk up and down all the tiny cobbled backstreets to see all the old cottages, medieval passages, and beautiful buildings. I take so many photos every time I go (which is at least once a week).
The main church, St Bartholomew’s has a 13th century steeple, and the stone bridge over the river Fowey is impressive and dates back to the 15th century, but there has been a crossing at this point for centuries. This is a town very rich in history and if you’re there on a day the tiny museum is open (which has free entry) then you have to pop in.
The river bank is a popular place to picnic, and the water is shallow and a nice spot to swim, if you like wild swimming. A lot of people also go to the chippy and get fish & chips to eat in the evening at the picnic tables along the riverbank. There are also quite a few charming pubs, with great food options. Can’t beat a good pub lunch.
I love the cottages with pretty coloured front doors and windows, I have so many favourites and daydream about what it would be like to live in one. There are so many hidden gems that are just off the main streets, tucked away down small windy lanes. Lostwithiel is quite hilly, but it’s well worth venturing up them to see the views and the pretty buildings.
The Mess Hall is quite a new café in Lostwithiel, they serve lovely coffee. It has a very welcoming feel and the decor is bright and calm. A very enjoyable place for lunch and if you manage to visit on a nice sunny day their outdoor patio area is charming.
I also love to take photos of pretty/intriguing classic cars & Lostwithiel is a great place to do that, the cute Figaro is always parked there and is just so sweet. Cornwall is a Mecca for VW vans, and I do like it when they look like they’ve been used and loved. I also like a business who uses a classic van, and the Morris Minor I spotted was very cute indeed. Also you just can’t beat a nice Land Rover Defender.
In terms of shopping, you might think being a small town it would be lacking, but this is a bustling community and a place well known for its antique shops. Although a few closed after the pandemic, there are still plenty to browse, I always come away with the most random mix of items. There is a fantastic General Store, called Watts Trading, it has a vintage, classic vibe and sells so many lovely food items, local gifts and sustainable home wears. I like to get lots of my Xmas gifts in here as it has so many thoughtful/environmentally friendly items.
Lostwithiel is not short on cafés and places to grab a Cornish pasty or a cream tea. We like to go to Q. Street Coffee, on Queen Street. They do a wonderful selection of Vegan and Gluten Free cakes a well as milk alternatives. I like to have their granola and yoghurt or breakfast or a vegan sausage sandwich. The menu is good, and they use local produce and bake many of their own cakes.
I love to visit Alice In Scandiland who sells beautiful Scandinavian home wear as well as lots of Cornish handmade artisan products too. The stock changes up quite regularly, so if you see something you like in there make sure you snap it up as chances are you will miss out. I guarantee if you pop in you will make a purchase, I have left with the most eclectic selection of products, everything from magazines, candles, handwash to a wooden bench and even a massive bunch of Eucalyptus (at Xmas).
I think some lesser known places in Cornwall are well worth a visit, if you’re staying near Looe, Fowey or heading to the Eden Project then Lostwithiel is close by. If you have a couple of hours to spare, it is a great place for a peaceful walk, coffee, and a browse of the independent shops. Great destination if you want a day away from the beach and the crowds. It is super friendly, a real community feel and compared to many towns, villages in Cornwall there are many people still resident there, so not just Airbnb or holiday lets.