International bestselling author and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams officially unveiled a new library at a Cornish hotel this week.

Thought to be the largest children’s library in any hotel in the UK, Fowey Hall Hotel is now home to more than 800 books appealing to children of all ages as well as a selection of reads for adults.

It also houses a collection of vintage photography and prints that tell the story of the hotel and its literary links.

A small group of local children joined David for the official opening along with Simon Maguire, managing director of Luxury Family Hotels, which includes Fowey Hall, and Kate Longman of Fowey’s independent bookshop Shrew Books - formerly Bookends of Fowey - who worked with the hotel to curate the selection of books that will be available to guests of all ages when they stay at the luxury family hotel.

David Walliams said: “In a world of deadlines and constant interruptions, many families are juggling work, personal commitments and their lives are currently restricted due to the pandemic.

"A library, however big or small, can often be the perfect place to retreat and enjoy a book without distraction.

“It’s a real pleasure to visit Fowey Hall and open its wonderful library. I’m honoured to declare it open for literary indulgence!”

Falmouth Packet:

David Walliams reads to children in the new Fowey Hall Hotel library. Photo: Luxury Family Hotels

The 36-bedroom hotel reopened its doors to guests in July following a multi-million-pound refurbishment.

Simon Maguire, MD of Luxury Family Hotels, said: “One of the most relaxing things about getting away, whether it’s to the beach or a long weekend out of town, is that you get the chance to pick up a book.

"As part of our major refurbishment, we wanted Fowey Hall to offer a luxury stay with relaxation guaranteed and our library has been carefully designed to do just that, enabling our guests – whatever their age - to while away the hours, sink into the sofas and comfy chairs with a good book.”

To celebrate the official opening of the library, instead of a normal ribbon cutting ceremony, Fowey Hall Hotel commissioned Penzance-based award-winning cake makers Peboryon – stars of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers - to create a hand-painted pop-up book cake fit for the occasion.

Falmouth Packet:

The cake from Penzance-based award-winning cake makers Peboryon. Photo: Luxury Family Hotels

With the famous Fowey Hall in the background, the seasonally inspired blackberry and apple cake features Ratty and Mole of The Wind in the Willows playing on the river, with Mr Toad reading David Walliams latest novel, The World’s Worst Parents.

Fowey has provided inspiration and a home to many authors including Daphne du Maurier and Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows.

Grahame first came to Fowey in 1899, staying at the Fowey Hotel while convalescing from pneumonia. Here he became friends with Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, known as Q, who introduced him to life in Fowey.

It was during these visits that he wrote to Alastair, his only son - affectionately known as Mouse - with his tales of the riverbank. These letters and other bedtime stories were to make up The Wind in the Willows.