The author Daphne du Maurier moved to Cornwall as a young woman in the late 1920s. She soon started writing, gaining inspiration from the towns and landmarks around Cornwall to set her novels. Here’s a guide that will help you experience those places, and perhaps inspire any budding writers?
Daphne du Maurier’s home
The waterside town of Fowey on Cornwall’s south coast was home to du Maurier. She first lived at Ferryside opposite the town at Bodinnick before moving to Menabilly, later immortalised as Manderley in the book ‘Rebecca’. In later years she moved to Kilmarth, a house overlooking St Austell Bay. This was the inspiration for the novel House on the Strand, which was first published 50 years ago in 1969.
The annual Fowey Festival, hosted by The du Maurier Society, takes place from the 10th to the 18th May this year. Expect talks, walks, and live music.
A tale of love, pirates and smuggling, you can experience Frenchman’s Creek for yourself by kayaking with Koru Kayaking or cruising with Helford River Cruises. The Creek’s densely wooded banks were the inspiration for du Maurier’s novel of the same name after she visited it on her honeymoon, and you could do the same and stay at the Budock Vean Hotel, whose wooded gardens run right down to the water.
A haunting tale of a new bride and her move into the family home is set in countryside just outside Fowey. Enjoy a coastal walk from Fowey out around the headland and past Polridmouth to the harbour at Polkerris. On the hill above is Menabilly, which Du Maurier lived in for many years and was the inspiration for the Manderley of Rebecca. Filming for the new adaptation of Rebecca, a collaboration between Working Title and Netflix, starts this May. I wonder who will play Mrs Danvers!
The House on the Strand
The village of Tywardreath, just west of Fowey translates from Cornish in to House on the Strand in English. Published in 1969, the book is a story of time-travel, with the main character using drugs to take himself back to the 1300s when the landscape of the area was much different to today.
A Holiday Read?
Buy one of du Maurier’s novels in one of our local book shops. grab a coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy a fabulous read! It’s always good to have a good book on holiday