Falmouth

Falmouth

As the world’s third deepest natural harbour (after Rio de Janeiro and Sydney), it’s little wonder that Falmouth is dripping in maritime heritage. And that in itself is a good enough reason to come here. But, with a harbour in which sleek yachts are moored alongside historic working boats, it is also home to a thriving arts scene, sandy beaches and excellent restaurants. There’s loads of things to do here, ranging from water sports and art exhibitions to beach life and festivals that celebrate life by the sea, and it’s unsurprisingly popular during the summer. But it’s worth braving the crowds for what is one of the most active, thriving yet historic towns in Cornwall.

History

When Pendennis Castle was built in the 16th century, Falmouth was little more than a fishing village on the outskirts of the main market town of Penryn. It was during the 17th century, when a local man named Sir John Killigrew instigated the development of the deep-water harbour, that Falmouth became the base for the Packet Ships taking mail to the Continent and the colonies. From this point onwards the town’s prosperity took an upward turn. Being the first (or last) stop heading out (or back) across the Atlantic, it developed rapidly. At the head of the sheltered Fal Estuary and the Carrick Roads, it was a safe haven for boats and home to a major fishing industry. By the 19th century Falmouth Docks Company had been founded, and this marked the start of the thriving shipbuilding industry that survives here to this day.

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Eat and Drink

Inevitably the majority of bars, cafes and restaurants are clustered around the waterfront streets in Falmouth and the quays off Arwenack Street make for a pleasant evening setting. Seafood is, of course a speciality, but you'll also find good grills and pizzas on offer amid the more traditional british cuisine. There's a growing cafe culture in the area, with spots like Swanpool Beach Cafe and Gylly Beach Cafe claiming the prime positions for daytime sun-seekers. In the evenings, however, many of these cafes accompany local bars in hosting live music and there are a handful of good pubs with a lively atmosphere and local ales on tap. If you don't mind a short trip there are also some fantastic eateries out of town, notably Pandora Inn, a favourite with boaters who can moor up outside and enjoy a meal at the waterside location.

Shop

While Falmouth is not a destination people come to for retail therapy, there are one or two good shops amongst those selling standard beach supplies. A boutique shops sells quirky home wares, while next door you'll find an independent music store that has cemented itself as one of the coolest spots in town. Falmouth is also home to one of the best galleries in Cornwall, Beside The Wave Gallery, which hosts the work of local artists and is crammed with paintings you won't want to leave without.

Things to Do

Falmouth has a distinguished seafaring heritage, so it's no surprise that one of the top places to visit in the area for history buffs is the National Maritime Museum.  There's also various parks to relax in with a picnic, and numerous walks taking advantage of the stunning coastline and beaches on offer.  For the more active visitor, the coast provides plenty of distraction. Sailing, surfing and other water sports can all be found, and local beaches are suitable for people at all levels of each sport. If, however, you fancy taking to the sea without the hard work, Sea Safari's tours offer the opportunity to explore the waters by motorboat, an exhilarating way to discover the Falmouth coast.