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5 reasons to visit Falmouth

Street near holiday cottages inFalmouth by Forever Cornwall

Laid-back but lively, Falmouth is Cornwall’s creative hub, a thriving, maritime town surrounded by glorious countryside and world-class sailing waters, with gorgeous beaches on the doorstep and a vibrant foodie scene. Its cobbled, bunting-strewn streets are packed with independent boutiques, galleries and artisan food shops, whilst the waterfront is lined with bustling bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip to Cornwall, here are ten reasons why Falmouth should be top of your list.

An independent spirit

Home to Cornwall’s top university known for the arts, design and media, the maritime town of Falmouth is populated by a forward-thinking, youthful crowd that keeps the town buzzing year round. The streets are full of quirky shops to browse, from vintage clothing and antiques caves, to stylish shops specialising in interiors, sustainable lifestyle products and local crafts, such as the new creative space Inspire Makers which showcases the talent of over 50 Cornish craftspeople.

There’s also an eclectic mix of places to eat, from cool cafes — we love Stones Bakery at the top of town — and restaurants celebrating cuisines from around the globe, from South African to Turkish to Japanese. There are some brilliant venues in town that have a packed programme of music and cultural events, such as the Cornish Bank, a live music venue, an arts, theatre and cultural centre called The Poly, and the Princess Pavilion, a community events venue in the beautiful Gyllyndune Gardens.

A maritime mecca

Bigstock National Maritime Museum 44646640

Home to the world’s third deepest natural harbour, Falmouth is a busy working harbour and is steeped in a rich maritime history. You can delve into the town’s maritime past at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, which hosts different exhibits along with permanent favourites throughout the year. The town’s seafaring past is also celebrated with a number of festivals held throughout the year, including the International Sea Shanty Festival, Falmouth Classics, Falmouth Week and the Falmouth Oyster Festival.

A foodie destination

Falmouth is one of Cornwall’s top culinary hubs, its cobbled lanes, bustling high street and waterside terraces packed full of cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars. For seafood, head to Harbour Lights in the heart of town for the tastiest fish and chips on the go, sample delicious small plates at the tiny Seafood Bar, or Indidog for seafood and cocktails on the balcony jutting out over the harbour. A flurry of wine bars has opened in recent years, including The Orgia Bar & Kitchen, which specialises in natural wines and small plates, and sustainable wine shop and bar, Kernowine. If you’re travelling further afield, don’t miss the award-winning restaurant The Cove in Maenporth with its panoramic views across Falmouth Bay, fabulous seafood at Hooked on the Rocks in Swanpool, or the legendary Pandora Inn, a little gem of a place hidden up Restronguet Creek.

Sandy beaches

People on holiday near Falmouth holiday cottages by Forever Cornwall, South Cornwall

It’s not often you see such a vibrant town within strolling distance of several gorgeous beaches, but Falmouth has some of our favourites in the area. Gyllyngvase Beach (known locally as Gylly) is a ten-minute walk from town and has Blue Flag status and is lifeguarded in summer — it’s also home to the cool, glass-fronted Gylly Beach Cafe right on the sand, with bakery next door.  The clear waters of nearby Castle Beach are great for snorkelling at high tide, when the beach disappears completely. Swanpool is a sand and shingle cove backed by a nature reserve and has a cracking cafe plus kayak hire and the wonderful Hooked on the Rocks seafood restaurant overlooking the beach. Maenporth, reachable via the coastal path from Falmouth (1hr) offers plenty of space and great facilities, like the brilliant Falmouth Surf School with watersports hire, kids’ club, surf lessons for the over 50’s and beach yoga.

Festivals and events

Throughout the year, Falmouth hosts a huge number of events and festivals spanning literature, sport, food, Cornish heritage and maritime history. Spring kicks off with St Piran’s Day on 5 March — the national day of Cornwall — with a day of parades, music, dancing and theatre. By the time summer rolls around, Falmouth’s festivities are in full swing with Falmouth Week at the beginning of August, the International Sea Shanty Festival and the Falmouth Classics. Next year, in 2023, Falmouth Tall Ships will be returning to the town for the first time in nine years. Autumn heralds the start of the oyster dredging season and the Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates the native Fal oyster with four days of feasting and festivities for all the family. Bookworms won’t want to miss October’s Falmouth Book Festival, which brings together an amazing line-up of poets, authors and storytellers to the town to celebrate the joy of books. 

Find out about all of Falmouth’s festivals and events

Have a look at some of our lovely holiday cottages in and around Falmouth