There is always lots to do in Falmouth! It’s a town with excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars, easy access to beaches and coastal walks, interesting boat trips, and wonderful gardens. You can jump in, or on, the water, swimming, diving, or paddle boarding and sailing, or explore the port’s incredible past at the Maritime Museum, or just chill-out strolling around the town and harbour with a pasty, or ice-cream, in hand.
Here are ten of our favourite things to do during 2020 – in no particular order:
A town of festivals and events throughout the year, Falmouth has too many to list here. A few of the main ones for 2020 include, Spring Festival (19 – 29 March) Fal River Festival, (22 May – 1 June) The International Sea Shanty Festival (12 – 14 June), Falmouth Week (7 – 16 August), Oyster Festival (8 – 11 October), Falmouth Festive Weekend (12 & 13 December).
One of two Henry VIII Forts set either side of the Fal Estuary (the other is in St Mawes) with magnificent panoramic views out to sea and across the estuary. This historic castle kept watch over the Fal Estuary for more than 400 years. From The Captain’s House you can enjoy an easy walk out to the castle looking down onto the docks as you pass and then after you’ve visited the castle stroll down to Pendennis Head and enjoy the feeling of the sea spray and the views from this beautiful spot. Don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself to a Cornish ice-cream too!
Shops and eateries
One of the advantages of Falmouth is that, while it is a large town, there is a superb shopping area that is part pedestrianised and offers everything in the way of food, drink and retail therapy in only a short walk. Start in the market square and wander down onto Prince of Wales Pier for coffee and cake at The Pier Cafe and then, before heading down Market Street, wander up the High Street for a feast of antique shops, cafes, pub (Star & Garter) and an excellent baker, Stones. If you haven’t already had your coffee, then have it here at Stones with some freshly baked treat as you watch the bread coming out of the baker’s oven. On Market Street there are too many shops, art galleries, cafes and pubs to mention but there is definitely something for everyone.
In town and an easy walk are Gyllingvase beach with its famous café and paddle boarding too, then wander a bit further to Maenporth and Swanpool. Pop in the car and go to Gunwalloe Beach on the north west of the Lizard Peninsula for a lovely long sandy and uncrowded beach – it’s our favourite place to watch the sunset.
Enjoy the beauty of this river by boat or on the various footpaths. You can walk part of the Coastal walk from Falmouth, or drive over. Enjoy a great meal at the Ferry Boat Inn. Or hire a boat and discover all the creeks and inlets – have a look at our blog here. For fans of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic book, you can also wander along Frenchman’s Creek.
National Maritime Museum
Learn more about Cornwall’s nautical history and the sea at this national treasure. In 2020 its exhibitions include James Dodds’ Wood to Water Exhibition, Monsters of the Deep – the myths and legends of the sea and during the Easter and Summer holidays the Yskynna Vertical Dance Company will perform a specially commissioned show called Into the Deep. Find out more from the National Maritime Museum website here.
Explore by water
To get a real feel for Falmouth you have to go on the water and experience the views, the sea breeze and the splashing of the sea. Just jump on a ferry to St Mawes from Prince of Wales Pier, or Customs House Quay, and the short ride across the Fal Estuary will give you a real feel for this harbour that has so much history and provides livelihood to so many locals. It is the deepest natural harbour in Western Europe and Cornwall’s largest port. Another great little trip is to hop on the ferry over to Flushing. There is a great circular walk that takes you along the coast of the Carrick Roads to Mylor where you can enjoy lunch or a drink in a café and then circle bank through woods and down the hill to the little village of Flushing.
Pasty and Fish ‘n Chips
Our personal opinion is that the best Fish and Chips ever can be found at the Harbour Lights on Arwenak Street. No trip to Falmouth should miss eating this seaside favourite. They also offer lots of choice for the vegetarian, or vegan. As for Cornish Pasty the same applies – you have to eat at least one during your holiday! There are plenty of places along Market and Arwenak Streets offering excellent pasties, many of them claiming to be award winning.
The South West Coast Path threads its way either side of Falmouth and takes you out to cliff top walks and beach side strolls. It provides stunning scenery, geological features and wonderful wildlife. You can also easily drive west and join the path from its centre point at Porthallow or take the St Mawes Ferry followed by the Place Ferry and head east. After passing St Anthony’s Head Lighthouse, look over a cliff edge to find nesting Peregrine Falcons and then keep a look out onto the rocks by a beach to see seals.
From the small and local Gyllyngdune and Enys gardens (one of the oldest gardens in Cornwall), to the world renowned Trebah Gardens in Mawnan Smith, Trelissick Gardens in Feock and Glendurgan Garden you are spoilt for choice on enchanting greenery and horticulture.
Gyllyngdune gardens are an easy walk from The Captain’s House. You can enjoy coffee, breakfast, cake or lunch at the Princess Pavilion Cafe and then wander through the rose walk and down to the famous shell grotto ending up down on Cliff Road and the beaches below.