10 Fabulous Reasons to Visit Falmouth

Visit Falmouth for beaches like this shot of a curve of beautiful sand with hotels above the grassy hill behind.

10 Fabulous Reasons to Visit Falmouth


Welcome to ‘Falifornia’.

Yes, you read that right. Falmouth has appeared high on the list of many a Best Places to Live awards in recent years. And a laidback beachy vibe that is part Cornwall, part sun-kissed California is a huge part of the appeal.

Watch the boats – and the art students – drift by. Discover a rich maritime history. Amble cobbled streets winding their way to the River Fal. Bury your toes in the sand on one of several town beaches. This is the cosmopolitan coastal town that just keeps on giving.

Planning to visit Falmouth? Here’s 10 top activities.

1) Bask on Falmouth’s beaches

Falmouth was at the head of the queue when beaches were handed out. It has FOUR to chose from – Castle, Gyllyngvase, Swanpool and Maenporth. Closest to the town and probably the best for families is Gyllngvase, which ticks the boxes for fine sand, safe water, and nearby cafes and amenities.

2) Storm the local castle

Henry VIII was responsible for building some remarkable fortifications, including Falmouth’s Pendennis Castle. This bold, rotund structure (a bit like Henry himself) with its evocative crenellations and flags and fortifications, is everything you and your kids could want from a castle. It was built to defend Falmouth Harbour and also played an important role in the two world wars.

3 Mooch about the winding town centre

Like its lovely sister town Penzance, Falmouth somehow manages to hit the sweet spot between tourist attraction and authentic Cornish destination. Visit Falmouth and you’ll discover a lovely arty, community feel in its boutique shops, reflecting a vibrant creative culture. Craft shops, second-hand bookshops, and spots for cream teas and modern fusion fayre all make having a mooch around the winding cobbles a great way to spend an afternoon.

4 Immerse yourself in a world-famous garden

Visit Falmouth and you’ll discover not one but two sprawling, beguiling gardens with international reputations. Trebah is a verdant, tropical paradise where you’ll roam under the oversized leaves of arching plants downwards to a hidden beach by the Helford river. Glendurgan also holds its own in the exotic plants stakes, features a famous maze, and winds down to the Enid Blighton-esque village of Durgan, also alongside the Helford.

5 Shiver your timbers at The National Maritime Museum

The award-winning National Maritime Museum Cornwall sits right against Falmouth’s idyllic harbour. This is a great spot to explore Cornwall’s famous nautical history. Fifteen galleries over five floors explore the influence of the sea on local culture. There’s loads of activities here for kids and grown ups – past exhibitions include Monsters of the Deep and a fascinating history of tattoos.

6 Visit a nautical festival

Falmouth loves an opportunity to celebrate its famous sea-faring culture and two events define the town in summertime. The Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival features pop-up bars and music stages throughout the town, bringing shanty groups from around the world together in a celebration of nautical culture and lore. Meanwhile, with its origins as a local sailing regatta dating back to 1837, Falmouth Week is held over 10 days and showcases sailing races and shore-side events, incuding live music and fireworks.

7 Do a spot of boat watching 

With one of the biggest natural harbours in the world, Falmouth has an illustrious seafaring history. Since it was made a Royal Mail packet station in 1688 and began carrying letters all across the empire, it has been a hive of sailing and boat building. Walk the length of the town and you may spot – either at anchor or traversing a choppy sea –  gleaming superyachts, working fishing boats, ferries, towering cargo ships, Royal Naval vessels and much more.

8 Take a boat trip

One of the best ways to get a sense of the town’s buzzing maritime scene is to hop aboard a water taxi. Visit Falmouth and you can quickly skim over to neighbouring St Mawes – a picturesque village and harbour worth a visit in its own right – and enjoy glorious views back to Falmouth. There are also plenty of boat trips on offer, where you can pootle up the creeks and inlets of the Helford or go seal spotting.

9 Work off your pasty up Jacob’s Ladder

It’s one of life’s eternal mysteries: Cornish folk scoff all those cream teas and pasties and somehow manage to stay relatively slim. How do they do it? They climb up Jacob’s Ladder, of course. The ‘ladder’ is 111 steps in the town centre built by a local businessmen in the 1840s for quick access between his properties (and presumably to work off the cream and pastry). Definitely worth a climb.

10 Visit Falmouth Art Gallery

You’ll see Falmouth’s arty credentials loud and proud in boutique galleries and student fashion. However, the best place to take in some of its artistic gems has to be the award-winning Falmouth art gallery. Its outstanding collection features over 2000 art works including 19th and 20th century masterpieces; and there are frequently special events throwing an interesting light on cultural highlights from Falmouth, Cornwall and beyond. It’s free too.

Penzance: an ideal base for your Falmouth visit

If you’re planning a visit to Falmouth, why not base yourself in nearby Penzance. This vibrant port town is famous for its piratey atmosphere, world-class eating and buzzing local culture. Best of all it is perfectly situated for day trips to local spots such as St Ives, Marazion, and Land’s End. Definitely the top spot for a stay in West Cornwall. Find out more at the Love Penzance website.