The popular town of Falmouth is Cornwall’s maritime mecca. As well as having a historic and dramatic harbour, it’s also home to The National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Henry VIII’s Pendennis Castle, as well as lots of great shops and eateries. There is plenty to see and do, and Falmouth makes a great base for exploring South Cornwall with its beaches, gardens, coves and creeks.
In the 16th century ‘Falmouth Haven’ was a refuge for pirates and privateers. With its sheltered waters it was said that a hundred galleons could hide in the creeks and backwaters of Carrick Roads without one seeing the topmast of another. Later the town found fame as ‘Falmouth for Orders’, the first and last port of call for the ships of the British Empire as they sailed the world. It was also the base for the famous Packet Ships that carried mail and messages all over the world. The legacy of those days is plain to see in the numerous quaysides and smart sea captains houses. In the twentieth century the arts, maritime industry and tourism have flourished — but alongside the undeniable charm, Falmouth remains a ‘proper working town’ with businesses ranging from innovative tech and creative companies, to one of the world’s leading superyacht boatyards.
There is always something going on in Falmouth, from the International Sea Shanty Festival, to fantastic sailing events in summer including Falmouth Week and Falmouth Classics, the well established Oyster Festival in the autumn, and countless other maritime, sporting and cultural events.
Falmouth is the gateway to the beautiful Fal River, and the area has some of the best sailing waters in the world. You can even trail a boat here on holiday as there is a very good public slipway, giving immediate access the the open sea in one direction and miles of sheltered tidal creeks in the other. Gig rowing, kayaking and SUPing, snorkelling, diving and waterskiing are also very popular.
One of the great things about Falmouth is that it has a strip of lovely beaches (Castle Beach, Gyllyngdune Beach and Swanpool Beach) that are all within walking distance of the town centre — so you can be at the fascinating Maritime Museum in the morning, enjoy a lovely lunch from a wide choice of very good pubs, restaurants or cafes, and still spend the afternoon on the beach, without even getting in the car!
Falmouth is on the doorstep of a large Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches in both directions from The Lizard and Helford to the Roseland – perfect for walking and family days out. Walking the coastal paths and garden visits are also on the local ‘to-do’ list. The Roseland Peninsula is a short and enjoyable ferry ride away, making a great day trip. The Helford and the Lizard peninsula are only a short drive away, with the fabulous subtropical gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan as well as smaller gems like Potager.
Falmouth is a pretty and easygoing town with a relaxed, eclectic feel. Together with its rich maritime history, it has as a strong creative community playing host to Falmouth University, one of the best arts colleges in Europe. The town’s creative buzz is famous — lots of art galleries display contemporary works and venues showcase independent films and live bands. Altogether its a great area for a holiday that can be as active or as relaxing as you like — but will always be inspiring and memorable.
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