If your idea of a holiday involves beaches, water sports, and abundance of gorgeous seafood, then we suggest you give Falmouth a try. And that’s probably an understatement because there is so much more packed within this third largest natural deep-water harbour town!
Don’t believe us? Okay, let’s give you a glimpse of what Falmouth has in store for you.
From the pages of a magazine, Falmouth may not scream for attention, but it starts throwing its charms once you set foot on this heartland of “Cornish Riviera”.
Steeped in maritime heritage, Falmouth is the UK’s most renowned day sailing destination. But if you fancy something a little more active there is surfing, kayaking, rock climbing, cliff-top walking, cycling…take your pick.
Don’t forget the beaches in and around Falmouth, which are some of the most kid-friendly ones in Cornwall and perfect for paddling, exploring rock pools, fishing, or simply soaking up the sun. The famous beach quartet Castle Beach, Gyllyngvase Beach, Swanpool Beach and Maenporth Beach, are always throbbing with lively crowds and plenty of activities. However, if you are looking for a more secluded beach then head to the Grebe Beach or Flushing Cove and Bosahan Cove, all three remain relatively crowd-free given they are not easily accessible, but they are idyllic, nonetheless.
If the sea doesn’t excite you much, Falmouth’s coastline is dotted with relics of its rich history, castles, historic trails, museums, estates, and heritage sites, telling the tales of a bygone era. For the love of history or of leisurely strolls, you are likely to find Falmouth’s shore excursions immensely fascinating.
Nature lovers, have the astonishingly beautiful granite cliffs, plenty of stunning subtropical gardens, sea safaris and cruises to explore Falmouth’s marine wildlife.
So you see, when it comes to Falmouth, it’s really a matter of what interests you.
We have already told you how Falmouth can tease your obsession about the past but if you are feeling especially inclined to delve deeper into the town’s history and culture, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.
The famous attractions of Cornwall, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the duo, Pendennis and Mawes Castles, are not just all about their historical and cultural significance but also for the unspoilt scenery they are surrounded with. Even the gardens in Falmouth bear testimonies to the past in that one can still see the trees and plants the 18th and 19th century merchants and sailors brought to Falmouth from the tropics.
Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII, was used to defend the Carrick Roads from French invaders in 1540 along with the St. Mawes Castle on the east side. 450 years of history is contained within the walls of these fortresses, from the time Henry VIII built it to it being used as a secret Second World War military base. Experience the everyday life of the garrison in the War shelter and be enlightened at the Discovery centre. For those who want to give Falmouth’s history a permanent place in their lives, you can get married here since it’s also a civil wedding venue.
Tregothnan, is home to the oldest outdoor camellias, mountainous magnolias, and the biggest rhododendrons in the world, it is just thirty minutes’ drive away from Falmouth. It also has “Cornwall's only tea plantation” where you can sit down to enjoy Cornish cream tea.
There is definitely much more history to be explored in Falmouth as you will discover yourself.
Care for a little inspiration or maybe for a literary or artistic pursuit? This picturesque town may well be the setting for your next bestseller or masterpiece, who knows?
But jokes aside, Falmouth has fired the imagination of great artists like Picasso, Remy, and Henry Tuke. As a matter of fact, it was in a room in Falmouth’s Greenback Hotel where Kenneth Grahame wrote to his son letters that later inspired his magnum opus, The Wind in the Willows.
You could stop by the hotel to see Grahame’s notes before taking a ferry or boat taxi to St. Mawes. There awaits the twin forts of St. Mawes Castle and Pendennis Castle. You could spend some time exploring the lighthouse, a church, and small village around the castle or continue your adventure trail along the Percuil River.
One of the biggest reasons why you will never feel bored whilst in Falmouth is that it is always buzzing with events and festivals, all around the year. So no matter at what time of the year you choose to visit Falmouth, you will always have some event or festival to keep you entertained throughout your trip.
The Spring Garden Festival, Falmouth Food and Drink Week, Falmouth Oyster Festival, Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week, The Sea Shanty Festival, The Fal River Autumn Walking Festival are some events worth a mention. But if we were to pick one that’s most popular, it’s definitely the Fal River Festival, which runs every year from the end of May to the beginning of June. This 10-day festival is all about the people, history, culture, sports, and industries of Cornwall, in essence, “a celebration of life on this beautiful Cornish river”.
By Train, there are trains from the London Paddington, South Wales and Cotswolds to Falmouth as well as from the Midlands, the North and Scotland. Change at Truro and take the Maritime line, a 20-minute journey with a twice hourly service to Falmouth.
By Air, Newquay airport is the nearest airport to the town.
By Ferry, there are a lot of ferry companies operating to the UK from mainland Europe and Ireland that lead to Falmouth.
There are plenty of accommodations in Falmouth and you are sure to find one that will fit your pocket-size, no matter big or small. In terms of food, this small town won’t fail to surprise you with its fresh catches and the town’s iconic fish and chips, head to Rick Stein's for the absolute best experience. Delicious fresh fish features on the menu of the many bistros, delis, food festivals, waterside restaurants, pubs and bars.
Visit Falmouth with your family, a bunch of friends, or solo and the charms of this small Cornish town will stay with you long after you have left it behind.