Falmouth Holiday Guide

...a Cornwall town on the up

A maritime port and international boating centre, Falmouth has a lot going for it as a UK holiday destination, yet it doesn’t quite enjoy the same lofty profile as some of Cornwall’s other coastal towns. Falmouth however is on the up again, boosted in 2010 by Cornwall’s most famous patron.

When booking your holidays in Cornwall, you could be forgiven for thinking of more well-known Cornish resorts, but Falmouth has tons to offer.

Falmouth rests on a peninsula on Cornwall’s south coast, at the end of the Carrick Roads - a vast river estuary which floods into Falmouth harbour, making it the third deepest natural harbour in the world.

Scores of boat trips depart from Falmouth harbour, where you can see dolphins, basking sharks, seals and other sea life, while learning about Falmouth’s fascinating maritime history – from smugglers to shipwrecks.

See the Seaside

Steeped in nautical history, Falmouth itself is centred round the harbour, which gives way to a vibrant little town centre, but the beaches are never far away.

Within walking distance you will find beaches offering safe, crystal waters, sandy stretches and secluded coves ideal for family bathing and watersports. On the opposite side of the peninsula is a long, sandy beach by the name of Gyllyngvase Beach.

Awarded the prestigious Blue Flag in 2010, Gyllyngvase is Falmouth’s largest beach and is perfect for the family. Rock pooling opportunities present themselves at low tide, where you’ll find shrimps, winkles and crabs.

Aside from the golden beaches which envelop the town, Falmouth’s premier attraction is arguably Pendennis Castle, built on a headland on the edge of town by Henry VIII. Pendennis was built as part of Henry's plans to defend the south coast against the threat of invasion from France and Spain.

The castle is preserved by English Heritage and is open all year round.

Foodie Falmouth

The town’s shopping thoroughfares lie just off the waterfront, where cafés and restaurants offer a selection of both international and local cuisine.

Padstow led Cornwall’s culinary revival, and the rest of the county followed. At the centre of the Cornish foodie explosion is Rick Stein, famous for his array of eateries in Padstow, and the opening of Stein’s Fish and Chips restaurant has helped put Falmouth on the foodie map.

The fish and chip shop and oyster bar is Stein’s first venture away from Padstow and serves oysters and other seafood caught that day in Falmouth’s waters. The 130-seater restaurant doesn’t take bookings so just turn up, hope for a table and enjoy.

Typically for Cornwall, Falmouth enjoys a mild climate all year round, making the area ideal for growing a wide range of sub-tropical plants, with many varieties rarely seen in Britain. Banana trees can be seen growing naturally at Fox Rosehill Gardens. There are four major gardens in Falmouth itself - Gyllyndune, Kimberley Park, Fox Rosehill and Queen Mary - as well as a further trio just outside the town (Trelissick, Glendurgan and Trebah).

Culture and Accommodation

The world class National Maritime Museum Cornwall, just by the harbour, houses a small boat collection and offers unique, interactive displays of boats and a whole host other maritime artefacts. The museum opens every day of the year from 10am - 5pm, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Most Falmouth accommodation is close to or overlooking the sea. The Falmouth Beach Hotel overlooks Gyllyngvase Beach, and boasts 120 rooms – all of which are en-suite, while Trefusis Barton is a 2 bedroom B&B overlooking the Fal estuary, just ten minutes outside the centre of Falmouth.

Often dubbed a ‘nearly town’, Falmouth is seeing a surge in visitors and, with the help of the impetus created by Rick Stein’s restaurant, the upward curve is likely only to continue. Come and stay in Falmouth and be part of it.

Sean Cummins

March 2011

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015