5 to try – Falmouth’s Top Attractions
From art and culture to maritime history, gardens and beaches - Falmouth has it all. Shaped by its strong connection to the sea, its fascinating boating heritage sits comfortably alongside the creative. With a bevy of independent shops, galleries and cafes, as well as plenty of top attractions, this ultimate coastal town is the perfect Cornish destination.
Here’s a round-up of our top five Falmouth attractions, so you can spend less time researching and more time exploring this summer…
Ditch the car! A new service for Falmouth this year, the open top bus takes in the stunning sea-views that the maritime town has to offer. The one-hour round trip will take in all the Falmouth sights as it cruises around the Pendennis headland, offering you beautiful views of Falmouth Bay.
Starting at Falmouth Park & Float/Ride, the bus will head to the Prince of Wales Pier where from there you’ll navigate around the town and impressive Falmouth Docks. Along your way around the headland, the bus will approach ships at anchor and the famous Manacles rocks. Kick back and relax and you journey down Falmouth’s seafront towards Gyllyngvase Beach.
What to know: You can hop on and hop off at any point along the route to stop and enjoy more attractions. Ticket prices are £10 for adults, £5 for children, or a family pass for £20. It departs every hour from 10am until 5pm.
Falmouth’s history abounds with tales of heroic maritime exploits and endeavours, from the days of the Packet ships and Trafalgar Way, to more recent regattas and around-the-world challenges. Winner of the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award 2014, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall has 15 galleries and over five floors beautifully illustrating the past, present and future of our island nation.
Take an epic journey into the Viking world with the new Viking Voyagers exhibition. Discover the secret to the Vikings’ success and explore the truth behind the popular myth of the bloodthirsty raiders. Get up close to rare antiquities, many on display for the first time in the UK, on loan from the British Museum, National Museum of Ireland, Manx National Heritage and National Museum of Denmark. Encounter Norse voyagers and experience Viking life over 1000 years ago with interactive exhibits and climb aboard a full scale replica Viking ship.
With hands-on activities, talks, lectures battle re-enactments, workshops, rotating events and exhibitions – there’s so much happening at the National Maritime Museum Cornwal;/
What to know: The museum is open every day from 10am – 5pm. Admission charges are £10 for adults, £8.50 for children, and children under five are free.
A quiet valley on the Helford River is home to the lush gardens of Trebah. With over four miles of footpath, Trebah Garden is a day of gentle strolls with discoveries around every bend of the wind footpath.
Follow meandering paths down through dappled shade and past sun-kissed lawns to the beach and laze the afternoon away. During the Napoleonic Wars, pirates and free traders populated the reaches of the river. But now this sheltered and secluded beach (Polgwiddon Cove) is an area of natural beauty at the very bottom of the garden. Click here to see what’s looking good at Trebah this summer.
What to know: Trebah is a family and dog friendly garden, open every day of the year from 10am. One of the Great Gardens of Cornwall, Trebah is rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world. Please click here for entry prices or directions (it’s just a 15 minute drive from the hotel.)
DON’T FORGET, OUR GARDEN BREAK INCLUDES A THREE NIGHT STAY, ENTRANCE TO TREBAH GARDEN, A FERRY TRIP TO ST MAWES, A THREE COURSE DINNER AND CORNISH CREAM TEA. PRICES FROM JUST £209 per person, MORE INFO HERE OR BY CALLING US ON 01326 312707.
With a rich creative heritgae, Falmouth has inspired countless artists, photographers and sculptors for centuries. From Remy and Turner to Picasso and Henry Moore, many have sought solace, inspiration and sanctuary among the inlets of the Fal estuary and the cliffs of the Cornish coastline.
Recognised as one of the leading small art galleries in the country, Falmouth Art Gallery is a must visit. With a collection of over 1700 artworks and ever-changing exhibitions, the gallery also has lots of fun family activities and workshops to get involved in. Explore the works by Gainsborough, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon to name but a famous few.
Where to find it: Falmouth Art Gallery is located above the town library on the moor – a short 20 minute walk to St Michaels Hotel. Open Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm, it’s free admission.
Explore one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses, which defended Cornwall against foreign invasion from Tudor times right through to the First and Second World Wars. Here you can discover 450 years of history – see how the castle has evolved and experience the sights and sounds of battle through the ages. Uncover the collection of guns and cannons, and watch the noon day gun being fired each day between April and October.
Read the personal stories of soldiers, civilians and the local people through photographs and letters written to family at Pendennis Castle during wartime. Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the castle keep or take one of the free guided tours down the tunnels through to Half Moon Battery where you can experience a war time raid underground.
Pendennis Castle is an ideal picnic spot and the tea room serves freshly made snacks, cakes, drinks and light lunches which can be enjoyed in the sheltered courtyard with its own view across to the castle keep and out to sea.
Where to find it: Pendennis Castle is a twenty minute walk from St Michaels, and is open daily from 10am. Adults are £7.50, children over 5 are £4.50, and English Heritage members are free.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Psst! Not so much an attraction, but you can lose a day or two exploring Falmouth’s vast range of eateries and pubs. Fast establishing itself as the ‘foodie capital’ of Cornwall, Falmouth promises a plethora of foodie treats – from local delicacies including pasties to pollock, to exotic Caribbean, Mexican and Asian cuisines.
There’s also a vast choice of vegetarian cafes – head to Wilderbeest, Pea Souk or Elixir for super soups, smoothies and juices. And if you have more of a cider, pizza and pie kind of palate, gallop over to The Stable for a guaranteed full tum! Sweet tooth? Ciuri Ciuri – an Italian artisan gelato parlor – has just opened in town and we’re addicted already.
For top tipples, try Toast for informal cocktails and trendy music, The Chainlocker and Shipwrights for real ales and harbour views, or Beerwolf Books – a hidden gem up an easy-to-miss alleyway full of books to buy and local hoppy beers to sample.