Life’s a beach – Our Guide to Falmouth’s Beaches
Falmouth has a variety of gorgeous beaches to explore and we're very lucky to have Gyllyngvase beach right on our doorstep. Here's our guide with ten facts about each beach, so you can make the most of them this summer...
- Falmouth’s golden beach of Gyllyngvase is Cornish for ‘the shallow inlet.’
- The largest of Falmouth’s beaches, it has a wide crescent shape and gentle shelving so bathers can expect generally calm conditions.
- Gyllyngvase has the elite status of being one of the UK’s 61 Blue Flag beaches. The international standard for the best beaches in the world looks at cleanliness, facilities and lifeguard cover. The sand is raked every morning during the summer months so it’s super spotless, and the RNLI lifeguards are on duty from May until the end of September.
- It’s the ultimate setting for an action-packed day of beach activities – from volleyball and bouncy castle fun to two renowned watersports centres.
- WeSUP offers stand up paddle boarding lessons from £35 and equipment hire from just £10. You can choose from a great selection of wave friendly 10 foot boards to big cruising 12 foot boards, so whether you want to learn a little SUP surfing or head out to explore the beautiful reef around Gylly Bay, you’ll be riding the best board for the conditions and your ability.
- Our friends at Gylly Adventures have the know-how in all watersport activities, from SUPing to cliff jumping and climbing. Spot wildlife and shipwrecks on one of their kayaking tours or uncover coves, scramble through caves and leap from dramatic cliff faces during a coasteering day. Also, all of our guests receive 15% discount when they book an adventure with them.
- Queen Mary Gardens can be found next to the beach. Opened in 1910, this sun-drenched hideaway is home to many mature sub-tropical plants and vivid flowers. Perfect for picnics amongst the agapanthus and lazy summer snoozes.
- Gyllyngvase is just a ten minute walk into Falmouth town and its famous harbour. We recommend a morning beach session here then a gentle stroll for a spot of lunch. Gylly is also linked via the South West Coast Path, and within minutes you can reach Swanpool Beach and its Nature Reserve.
- Gylly Beach Café has a fresh moreish menu to match the amazing views across to Pendennis Castle. It’s often a hub of live music sessions in the evenings and in the summer months it offers open-air barbecue nights on Fridays to Sundays.
- Dogs are welcome at Gyllyngvase except between Easter Sunday and 30th September, when its seasonal dog ban is in place.
Why I love Gylly:
Pam, an avid swimmer at Gyllyngvase beach, said: “I’ve been coming here for years for my early morning swim. There’s nothing better than bracing the fresh water for a good half an hour’s front crawl, then just as my fingers start to shrivel I’ll head to St Michaels for a big cup of coffee or sauna session.”
- This gorgeous little site is the most northerly of the Falmouth beaches, sitting below the imposing Pendennis point.
- Castle Beach is an ideal spot for rock pooling, diving and snorkeling.
- From here, you can gaze across to the Helford Passage and further afield to the Lizard Peninsula.
- There is no beach carpark, but there’s plenty of road parking nearby and a carpark along Pendennis Point. Or if you’re staying with us, it’s just a 10 minute walk.
- Pendennis Castle is a 16th century castle built by Henry VIII to defend the country against invasion.
- Head away from the point end of the beach where rock pools merge into golden sand.
- At high tide, the whole beach can be covered underwater, so be sure to time it right. Low tide will promise exposed rock pools to explore.
- Stroll over to Castle Beach Café for pasties, paninis and ice-creams then kick back as you bask on their sundeck.
- Deck chairs can be hired so you can spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book.
- It’s a popular spot for locals and safe for children. Like Gyllyngvase beach, the dog ban is lifted at October so they can roam free on the beach until Easter.
- This sandy cove sits snuggly alongside Swanpool Lake Nature Reserve, a haven for wildlife.
- It’s an easy five minute walk from St Michaels – find it by following the coast path and you’ll soon pop out onto the beach alongside its bright stripy beach huts.
- Swanpool Lake is an ideal reserve to spot over 100 species of birds – so pack your binoculars and look out for grebe, tufted ducks and kingfishers.
- Head to Elemental UK’sWatersports School to hire or learn all sorts of wet and wild activities – from sailing and canoeing into caves, to coasteering and raft building.
- If the wind is right, there’s nothing better than giving windsurfing a go and feeling the salt spray on your face.
- The stars of Swanpool are its swans, giving the beach its name. They’ll love you forever if you come armed with a loaf of dry bread.
- We love heading up to Hooked on the Rocks and listening to the waves crash below whilst relaxing with a chilled glass of Prosecco and some sublime seafood.
- Swanpool’s beach café is the ideal place to stop for a bite to eat. Home of the quirky ice-cream, these legendary treats are the best thing on the menu. Smothered in Cornish clotted cream then topped with a variety of extras (from jelly babies, ginger and banana pieces to honey-roasted hazelnuts and toffee balls) – they’re not for the faint hearted.
- If you’re looking for a family day out, Swanpool’s crazy golf course is open all year round, costing just £3 per person.
- Brave a swim by bobbing past the buoys and heading to the right of the beach, where you’ll find a sandy seabed and low rocks. Bring a pair of goggles so you can spot huge ballan wrasse as you swim.
- This pretty sandy beach means ‘stones cove’ in Cornish. It’s sheltered in a wooded valley, soaked in sunshine, and is just two miles from Falmouth town.
- It offers everything you need for the ultimate beach day – sun bathing, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, toe-dipping and boating.
- If you fancy a longer stroll, Maenporth is 45-60 minute walk from St Michaels via the South West Coast Path (which links it to Gyllyngvase Beach and Swanpool, if you’re a beach junkie!)
- Or you can park directly behind the beach, which is £3 per visit during summer.
- Maenporth is in a prime location with panoramic views across Falmouth Bay and Pendennis Castle, plus good coastal walks onwards towards the Helford.
- Nature enthusiast? Try rock pooling in its shallow waters or bring your binoculars. It’s a rich hub for sea critters and birdlife – from starfish and urchins to herons and egrets.
- Life’s a Beach is Maenporth’s café – with a chilled out atmosphere, it’s a great retreat to savour a fresh crab sandwich or homemade soup if it’s chilly.
- If you forget your bucket, spade, fishing lines or even a wetsuit, the friendly folk here can kit you out.
- If the tide is low, you can follow the rocks down the left hand side of the cove and might be lucky enough to find the famous shipwreck of the Ben Asdale enveloped in the sand.
- There are regular yoga sessions on the beach ran by a lovely lady called Naomi if you fancy finding your inner calm. Or head to the beach at sunrise or sunset to try SUP Yoga on a paddle board.