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“Things to understand about the Ferry before you eat”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of The Old Ferry Inn

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The Old Ferry Inn
Ranked #3 of 27 Fowey B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Kent
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Things to understand about the Ferry before you eat”
Reviewed September 30, 2011

I have visited the Ferry often this year and have learned the art of a passable evening.

If upon arrival there is no one behind the bar, don't be shy ring the little hand bell, if the pub is busy the staff member will arrived looking stressed, or if quiet disinterested. It is difficult however to tell the difference between quiet and busy, because there are never enough staff, this might just smack service. On five different occasions in one evening I heard the barmaid say to customers, you WILL HAVE TO HAVE a small glass as there are no clean large glasses. Apart from the lost revenue to the owner, how can you say to a customer YOU WILL HAVE TO HAVE.

The menu reads as you would expect for a pub, however avoid anything that just might have been made on the premises, see "homemade, read avoid". The burgers are generally cremated, so if feeling brave try asking for it cooked a particular way, however depending who's cooking it will just be different levels of cremated. I had the 1/2 pounder last time so two burgers, had to slice of the top and bottom to access anything edible. Took the second home for the dog, not having a knife he rejected it. Pies, well the top does not meet the bottom at any point during the cooking process, and the one I had was just slop in a bowl with a separately grilled pastry top stuck on as it was leaving the kitchen.

I have once in about 10 meals, had chips that were cooked for me rather than reheated, its all very well serving huge portions but surely someone in the kitchen must be asking why so much comes back. Sausage egg and chips too much cooking, the sausages were so obviously left over from breakfast I truly could not eat them, so it was just eggs and chips then.

The starter of smoked salmon, crab and prawns with chunky bread was perfect, only downer was the smallest horrid plastic pot of sauce. My partner ordered scampi Its hard to spoil scampi, it wasn't ruined but not golden, over cooked and lots of second hand chips.

So, do not expect cheerful or helpful staff, do not expect anything resembling service, stay clear of home-made, and remember the owner is not Cornish, London or Kent I think and most of the staff are family so it is not a typical Cornish experience, they have been there far too long and know that returning customers are a bonus, but there are always thousands over the year who will look at this wonderful building and enter believing the inside will live up to exterior promise.

On a positive side, the views from the terrace are wonderful, be prepared to clear the tables though, and the beer is well kept. So unless trapped that side of the water, eat in Fowey, but the best view and the best beer is to be had at the Ferry.

Why do i keep going back, because I love the pub, the views and the beer, and in a perverse way watching the chaos.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rantandravehc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheOldFerryInn, Manager at The Old Ferry Inn, responded to this review, October 2, 2011
Thankyou for your feedback, however these criticisms may have been dealt with at a more satisfactory level had they been taken up with a member of staff at the time.

The Old Ferry Inn is a small establishment and staff are generally trained to work in all areas of the pub/hotel so when there are no customers requiring service the bar staff will be in the back area washing dishes, dealing with the hotel laundry or even on the telephone taking a reservation for the hotel so the bell on the bar is necessary in order to alert him or her to the presence of a customer requiring service. There is a sign on the bar asking customers to ring the bell, if they choose not to do so they must expect to wait. Staff are in and out of the bar on a regular basis to check everything is in order, they do not sit back there with a cup of tea ignoring their duties - if they did they wouldn't have a job!

As for the issue of large wine glasses, this customer must have been here at a time when large glasses of wine were in exceptionally high demand and so all our large glasses were in use. Surely it is better to be up front and tell the customer of this in advance rather than offer a large glass and THEN inform the customer they cannot have something they were just offered?

ALL food is cooked to order and frankly I find the accusation that we serve "reheated" or "secondhand" food quite insulting. We do not have an open kitchen so how the customer could possibly say this with any certainty I have no idea.

Any complaints regarding staff, food or anything else are much easier to deal with if they are brought to the attention of someone in charge at the time rather than leaving here unhappy and using an anonymous website to raise your concerns at a later date. We are always to happy to cook something else or offer a refund if a customer has a genuine complaint with their food. Complaints against staff are taken very seriously and are always fully investigated.

Unfortunately we cannot employ a completely Cornish staff as it is against the law to discriminate in this way and you will be hard pushed to find a business anywhere in Cornwall that doesn't employ any "incomers" as we are affectionately known.
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421 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (146)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2011

We stayed in room 7 - very expensive at £105, but went for it as it had a good view. However, that was the only good thing about room 7 and The Old Ferry Inn. The bed was very uncomfortable and the room is over the kitchen, with what sounded like a generator droning on for the whole night - which equalled very few zzzs. Also, the tv was very poor quality and the en-suite was a struggle. Staff were very strange too. Breakfast was also poor.

Room Tip: Don't pay morefor room 7 - not worth the view.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Sally B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2011

Me and hubbie love Fowey and desperately wanted to get away from all the stress at home. We went to the Old ferry Inn to stay for two nights and then move onto Polperro for our last nights stay. We had already prepaid the Polperro Hotel but loved the Old Ferry Inn so much decided to stay there for our last night. We cant fault it at all, the room that we stayed in had a fab view and it was a lovely comfortable room. The food there is excellent and we had lovely times out on the terraces, drinking eating and watching the world go by. Thank you to Royce, his family and staff for fab hospitality. We will definately be going back and this time we will take our friends with us.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 3, although the bathroom is seperate (it only is used by you) we would want to sta...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank karen_dave_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2011

We didn't stay at The Old Ferry Inn but visited when in need of sustenance after walking round the beautiful estuary from where we were staying in Polruan. Bodinnick is tiny & entirely unspoilt by tourism, and this is a very traditional, slightly scruffy (in a good way), welcoming old fashioned pub. Stone floors, cluttered with old maritime memorabilia & photographs, we felt very much at home despite being slightly dirty & damp after our walk.. The bar staff were also very welcoming & tolerant of our Baby Son who is currently very loud & vocal when happy!
The burgers (mine with Cornish Blue Vein & bacon, partner's with Brie & bacon) were superb & great chips too. Nothing fancy, but expertly cooked & substantial. Good beer too.
My only criticism was that they have prominent notices forbidding mobile phone use in the bar on pain of a 50p fine towards the RNLI which wasn't enforced when loud, annoying city bloke started making business calls. Bah!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MacBojangles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
85 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2011

Brief review.
Room clean and tidy
Bar food ok.
Lovely outside area overlooking fowey with a beer.
Staff friendly.
Breakfast good.
We are going to return with friends and dogs next time.
Negatives,plan how many times you want to use the ferry,the cost adds up.Last ferry from fowey at 10:30 I think.
All in all,worth a stay there.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Izatequilafan!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, UK
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2011

I have not stayed at this Inn but I dined at it on 07/08/11. I had done some research with my trusty Good Pub Guide in order to find a decent spot for supper with my wife and her parents, visiting from overseas. Having seen this pub listed in that publication, I had no concerns about recommending it enthusiastically to the party.

However, it unfortunately fell far short of the expected standard and I was left embarrassed and humiliated in front of my in-laws. Although the food was reasonable and very plentiful, the service was diabolical and veered between inattention and downright deliberate rudeness by staff who appear to view their customers with an offhandedness verging on open contempt.

The first words from the unwelcoming woman on the bar when we entered was a statement of how 'busy' they were and we needed to go into the restaurant straightaway to occupy our table. We asked if we could buy some drinks and take them through and then she immediately contradicted herself and told us that most people had a drink in the bar and ordered their food before going through, which is what we did. In actual fact, there would have been no other way of doing it because, as we found to our cost later, EVERYTHING has to be ordered at the bar and the waiting staff are incapable of taking an order for anything.

When we went into the restaurant, our reserved table had been taken away. When we asked why, we were told that it was because they thought we weren't coming. We'd been 5 yards away in their bar for the past 15 minutes! This resulted in a great kerfuffle but it wasn't really a problem to find another table as the 'busy' restaurant was only actually half-full. It seems to be a recurring feature of crummy British establishments to claim that they are busy when they aren't. If I ran this place, busy would be good; it implies popularity and profit.

The bread rolls came with only 3 knives (for a party of 4) and no sideplates. We did not mind this mistake as the lad who served this course was the only friendly member of staff we met all night. The main course was fine - big portions of pub grub and pretty much what we were expecting. We had also pre-ordered a cheeseboard (in keeping with the instructions on the menu). We struggled to eat this given the size of the main course and would not have ordered it in retrospect. Normally one decides on the pudding after the main course but in this place, for some reason, they need to know about it in advance. Anyway, after this had been taken, we were the only diners left in the room. It was, however, not particularly late: before 9 o'clock. We asked the waitress for some cups of coffee. 'Order it at the bar', she barked angrily, gesturing at the door and storming back into the kitchen. We were not sure what we had done to attract such ire.

When I went to pay the bill later, the barmaid who had 'greeted' us on arrival took the payment. No 'please', no 'thank you'; just an irritating sense of entitlement plastered over her smug face.

This Inn seems to set some store by (and presumbably derives much of its income from) serving food, but does not do this with any sort of panache. Falling between two stools, it lacks the ambience of a decent pub and the level of service one would expect of a restaurant. The prevailing attitude seems to be: why bother with customer satisfaction when there will be another bunch of tourists with deep pockets along tomorrow? It is an old building, but a ceiling plastered with beer towels and some old tat on the walls do not in themselves constitute an establishment of note.

On the positive side, at least I didn't have to stay there.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Stickers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheOldFerryInn, Manager at The Old Ferry Inn, responded to this review, August 10, 2011
When you work in the hospitality industry you learn very quickly that you cannot please everybody. The Old Ferry is no exception so we rarely respond to a review, after all everyone is entitled to an opinion. In the case of this particular review we felt we had to put our side of the story across.

ALL customers are greeted at the bar with a smile and some version of "how can I help?". Whilst their drinks were being served the lady behind the bar POLITELY requested that they take their table and look at the menu there. At the time seating in the bar was limited and all customers with reserved tables were asked to do the same in order to avoid groups occupying one table whilst reserving another. At no point did this group ask if they could, there would have been no point because they had already been asked to do so. They chose to ignore this request.
The reserved signs were removed from their table in the other seating area because the table was unoccupied. The table that had originally been reserved for them was still available when they were ready to move and that is where they were seated. They appeared to be under the impression that they had booked the table in the window, the owner had taken their booking and remembers quite clearly explaining that they may not get that particular seat. I find myself wondering if this was the cause of the "kerfuffle" the reviewer mentioned?

The restaurant is now a more informal area and not, in fact, a restaurant at all (it is open all day and you do not necessarily have to be having a meal in order to sit there) so we no longer have waitresses per se. This is why "EVERYTHING has to be ordered at the bar", including coffee.

After coming to order the coffee one member of the group banged on the bar and said to another customer that the staff were ignoring him on purpose. He was assured by the man that this would not be the case and it was suggested to him that he ring the bell as they were most likely tied up washing dishes or preparing desserts and could not hear him. He was rude to this customer and also rude to the staff member that came to take his coffee order. He mistook her for someone he had previously tried to order with from his seat and so expected her to know what he was ordering.

I find the comment about the barmaid's "smug face" unnecessarily personal and completely irrelevant. The purpose of this website is to give an honest review of a business and the service you received there, not to make unkind comments.
I have been assured by other customers that evening, some of which have returned every night since, that they did not witness ANY member of my staff being ill mannered or off hand with anyone so I very much doubt she, or any other staff member, was anything other than professional with these people.

At the end of their evening these customers encountered the owner, giving them the opportunity to discuss their grievances with him. They chose not to.
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Liskeard, Cornwall
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2011

Stick to the bar food! Friends took us for a meal and we all chose something from the specials board which was a big mistake. We ate in the dining room which had a lovely few overlooking the river. All four of us were disappointed with our main meals which were very poor and certainly not worth the money of £16.50 - £20.00 per head. The puddings were all frozen and obviously "brought in". Service was terrible! The bar staff were not all friendly on arrival, no one picked our plates up after both courses, sweet courses were arriving before the main plates had been picked up - this was happening on several tables in the room. We are local people and would certainly not go back.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank silverheads7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Old Ferry Inn

Property: The Old Ferry Inn
Address: Old Road | Bodinnick-by-Fowey, Fowey PL23 1LX, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Fowey
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 27 B&Bs / Inns in Fowey
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Old Ferry Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the banks of the Fowey River Estuary in the picturesque village of Bodinnick, The Old Ferry is a quintessential Cornish Inn that has been providing accommodation and refreshment for over 400 years. We overlook the Bodinnick to Fowey ferry which can trace its roots back to the 13th Century, and 'Ferryside' the former family home of Daphne du Maurier. The Inn with its relaxed and warm welcome has many traditional features including a wood burner and stone slate floor, and is full of old photographs, nautical bric-a-brac and memorabilia. The perfect place to while away time during the winter months.Our panoramic restaurant gives fantastic river views towards the town of Fowey and the village of Polruan. There are also south facing outside terraces which also have splendid estuary views, and capture the sun all day, a perfect retreat for a summers day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Old Ferry Inn Bodinnick Hotel Fowey
The Old Ferry Inn Fowey, Cornwall

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