With gorgeous beaches, quaint independent shops, a vibrant arts scene and fantastic bars and restaurants, what’s not to love about Falmouth? In fact, it is so popular that thousands of tourists flock every year to soak up the beauty of this seaside town.
Falmouth has been shaped and influenced by its close connection to the sea and its fascinating maritime history. Combining heritage and modern creativity, the city is asserting itself as one of the main cultural and festive destinations in the South West.
The nearby university has also contributed to the city’s growing popularity, nightlife, and beloved arts and business scene. Falmouth University’s passion for the arts inspired comedian and actress Dawn French to become its chancellor in 2015. Speaking about the university, she said: “Falmouth’s enterprising dreamers will set the new rules and forge new careers.
Read more: Nathan Outlaw’s protege and chef The Pig are set to open an exciting new restaurant in Falmouth
If you’re planning a trip to Falmouth this year, we’ve put together the ultimate visitor’s guide. From exploring the city’s famous castle built by Henry VIII to the best beaches and water activities, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also included a list of the best restaurants to visit and how to get there.
Things to do
Built between 1540 and 1545, Pendennis Castle is part of the chain of coastal castles built by Henry VIII. It is now a popular English heritage attraction and there is a wide range of activities at the castle, including an interactive exhibition.
The castle site is located on the headland, so you can enjoy stunning 360 degree views of the magnificent sea beyond and enjoy a delicious coffee cream tea.
National Maritime Museum
This museum is a place to enrich your understanding of the sea and Cornwall. Through the exhibition program, the museum aspires to bring new and diverse perspectives on maritime issues and highlight their relevance in the present day. It also has rare objects from around the world in Cornwall to tell local, national and international stories.
There are also a host of special attractions and activities that take place at the National Maritime Museum, for the whole family to enjoy. It is currently home to the Monsters of the Deep exhibit through January 2023, which gives families the chance to explore centuries-old myths and legends, when chance sightings and eerie apparitions led to grand tales of creatures from the great. funds.
This historic walking tour takes you back in time to see what Falmouth was like centuries ago – a town of pirates, sailors and adventurers. With exciting stories for grown-ups and fun activity sheets for kids, there’s something for everyone.
Tours run from April 14 through the fall and tickets can be reserved through the discovery falmouth website. The meeting point is at the Killigrew Monument, the granite pyramid across from Discovery Quay.
There are a whole host of water sports you can take part in on a sunny day in Falmouth. From kayaking and canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding to windsurfing or coasteering, there are plenty of fun activities for adventurers.
Elemental UK’s Adventure Center is located at Swanpool Beach in Falmouth, where the sheltered bay is perfect for a host of calm water activities. Gyllyngvase Beach and Maenporth Beach in Falmouth also offer stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
This is a fantastic rainy day activity in Falmouth and it’s not just for families. Located on the High Street in Falmouth, Star Glazers offers a creative space for pottery painting fun for all.
You can also enjoy hot and cold drinks and snacks while you paint. Reservations and viewings are welcome.
It is a lovely location with stunning views over Falmouth Bay in one direction and historic Pendennis Castle and St Anthony’s Headland in the other. Parking is on the main road, with a flat sloping path and a few steps down to the beach.
There is also a lovely little cafe on the beach which serves a variety of coffees, sweets and ice creams.
Known to locals simply as ‘Gylly beach’, Gyllyngvase is Falmouth’s largest beach and the perfect place for sunbathing, dog walking and watersports. It is less than 10 minutes’ walk from historic Falmouth town centre.
There is a fantastic restaurant on the beach called Gylly Beach Café and public toilets are located 20 meters away. There is also ample nearby parking or street parking, as well as close to Queen Mary Gardens and Swanpool Beach which is linked by the South West Coast Path.
It is also one of seven Cornish beaches to receive the Blue Flag Award 2020 which recognizes that the beach is clean, with the best water quality, well managed and safe.
Swanpool is a sandy cove on the west side of Falmouth, proud of its friendly, fun and welcoming environment. Behind the beach is the nature reserve where you can feed the ducks and swans.
There’s ample parking, great food at the beer garden, a fun bouncer, mini-golf, water sports, and kayak rentals.
The gently sloping beach has shallow water which is ideal for children. Located about two miles south-south-west of Falmouth, Maenporth Beach faces east across Falmouth Bay with views of Pendennis Castle and St Anthony Head Lighthouse.
It is perfect for sunbathing, rocking and boating, as well as great opportunities for coastal walks to the Helford River area.
Previously the home of popular French restaurant La Cave, The Mulberry is a new dining destination on Falmouth’s High Street, which opened on April 9. The two young chefs behind certainly have the experience – Jay Brady, from St Merryn, fell in love with cooking when he started working in a local fish and chip shop aged 14. He attended Nathan Outlaw Academy at St Austell College, where he was named Student of the Year, and was offered a job by the famous Pub Manager Mariners in Rock, before he was taken over by Paul Ainsworth.
The restaurant, which was previously based in Penryn, has long been voted the best Indian restaurant in Cornwall by TripAdvisor reviewers. It has now moved to new premises in Bells Court, Falmouth, opposite Beerwolf Books. Now offering lunches as well as dinners, Daaku is run by husband and wife duo Cornishman Ben Martin and Rajasthani-born Jasmine Martin.
They promise Indian dishes that the British will not necessarily be used to. You can read more about Daaku here.
The water’s edge
Self-taught chef Bobby Southworth cooks up some great things at the restaurant at the Greenbank Hotel. Its monthly Taste of Cornwall menus are popular with diners as it uses the Duchy’s finest seafood, meats and produce. The picturesque view of the harbor will impress the guests.
This family-run restaurant creates South African-inspired dishes using Cornish produce and has also been rated one of Falmouth’s top restaurants.
Located in the heart of Falmouth’s Moor on Killigrew Street, Pennycomequick’s menus change monthly to make the most of seasonal ingredients and it updates special panels regularly. The pub is perhaps most famous for its Sunday roasts and has already been voted the best in all of Cornwall. You can read our review of it, here.
How to get there
Travel to Falmouth is very simple by road, rail or air. By road, once you reach Exeter you then have a lovely drive on the recently improved A30 taking in some stunning scenery over Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. Then follow the A39 via Truro and Falmouth.
Falmouth is very well served with a Great Western Railway branch line linking directly to the main line at Truro. You can either get off at Falmouth Town main station or Falmouth Docks station if you want to explore Castle Beach and Pendennis Headland.
The nearest airport to Falmouth is Cornwall Newquay Airport, which is around 55 minutes by taxi from Falmouth or two and a half hours by train.
You can take the National Express bus to Falmouth.
By cruise ship
As a popular maritime town, many cruise ship operators include Falmouth as a port to visit.