Falmouth, Cornwall is a coastal town known for its beautiful beaches and deep natural harbour. There are countless things to do in Falmouth, from getting out onto the water, to exploring the historical sites in the area. Whether you want to be active or take it easy, Falmouth has plenty to offer.
Falmouth is known for its harbour. Measuring up to 34 metres in depth, it’s the deepest natural harbour in Western Europe, and the third deepest in the world. But this isn’t the only reason it’s well known – the harbour has been present for many significant moments throughout history. The harbour was one of the best ones in the south-west, and often saw Royal Navy boats return from war. During WW2, the US Navy had a sizable base in the town, and some of the D-Day landings originated from the harbour. Another significant occasion that the harbour has witnessed was a visit from Charles Darwin after his journey around the world. In 1836, Darwin and the HMS Beagle arrived at Falmouth Harbour. Today, there are many attractions along the harbour and a vast choice of restaurants and pubs.
Things to Do in Falmouth
Falmouth is one of the best places in Cornwall to take a boat trip. There are miles of spectacular coastline and dazzling sea to enjoy, and what better way to enjoy it than being out there on a boat. Orca Sea Safaris is one of Cornwall’s leading boat companies, and offers wildlife watching and coastal safaris in sparkling blue waters. The tour leaves from Falmouth and makes its way to the beautiful views of the Carrick Roads. The Orca Sea Safaris guides give you full commentary on the history of the area. Look out for dolphins, seals, sharks and whales, as well as a variety of seabirds.
Pendennis Castle was built by Henry VIII as an artillery fort and it has proudly defended Cornwall for hundreds of years. If you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful panoramic views, there are many fun activities to do here. Discover the different exhibitions and learn about the castle’s role in defending Cornwall against enemy attacks. Check out the big guns on display, dating back to Tudor, Napoleonic and Victorian times. You can also make your way down into the tunnels which were used as ammunition storage, or experience the drama of the castle under attack through immersive installations and an interactive cannon. Once you’re finished exploring, grab a bite to eat at the castle’s cafe which serves fresh Cornish dishes.
National Maritime Museum
Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum is a great day out for the whole family. With over 15 galleries and interactive exhibitions, the museum tells the fascinating tale of Cornwall’s maritime heritage. The collections are set over five floors and include the National Small Boat Collection. Some of the most famous boats on shows are the Curlew which sailed to the Antarctic and the Waterlily, a Thames steam boat built in 1866. You can also watch boats being built, or go underwater and look into the harbour through two large windows.
When it’s too hot at the beach, head to the tranquility of Trebah Gardens. This 26 acre site boasts a beautiful subtropical valley garden, with over four miles of footpaths meandering through the plants. Admire the lush canopies overflowing with exotic flowers and make your way down tunnels of vivid blooms which lead to the garden’s very own private beach. Here you can grab a drink and a snack at the Boathouse beach cafe and try the ice cream which is made locally. Relax to the sound of trickling water at the koi pond, or find your own jungle getaway at Alice’s Seat, an open-fronted wooden summerhouse with a thatched roof. If you’re hungry, try the food at Trebah Kitchen with its Mediterranean style terrace and fresh and sustainable dishes.
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, getting involved in watersports is a must when in Falmouth. Falmouth Watersports Centre is based at the Boat Park in Grove Place, a few minutes walk from the National Maritime Museum. The centre has many watersports clubs including rowing, sailing, canoeing and diving. There are many other watersports centres in the area that hire out equipment and run classes, such as Elemental UK and the Windsport Falmouth Watersports centre. Some of the best beaches for watersports are Gyllyngvase Beach and Swanpool Beach.
Places to Stay In Falmouth
The Greenbank Hotel
If you’re looking for a seafront hotel, look no further than the Greenbank Hotel. Overlooking Falmouth Harbour, the hotel offers spacious, nautical themed rooms. The hotel comes with the Harbourside Restaurant, the Water’s Edge Bar and relaxing spa treatments.
The Royal Duchy Hotel
This luxury hotel offers stunning views across the seafront to Pendennis Castle. Each room is elegantly decorated and some of them have sea views. Dine at the Terrace Restaurant, or relax in the gardens and sun terrace. There is also an indoor pool, sauna and treatment room.
Telford Guest House
Five minutes walk from the town centre is Telford Guest House which offers clean and cosy rooms. The guest house serves a range of continental and British breakfasts made from organic, locally sourced produce. Gyllyngvase Beach and the South West Coast Path are only a minute walk away.
Places to Eat & Drink in Falmouth
This place isn’t your average seafood restaurant, as there is a limited menu – oysters, crabs, scallops, prawns and lobsters – served with bread and chips. The cooking is simple but delicious, and well worth the visit.
This casual, family run restaurant brings the flavours of South Africa to Falmouth. Local Cornish produce is used to create traditional dishes like biltong, trinchado bunny chow and bobotie.
The Working Boat
The Working Boat is a pub on the waterfront that serves hearty pub meals. Choose from 15 different beers and ciders on tap and enjoy the views across the harbour. The pub also serves excellent breakfasts and Sunday roasts.