Falmouth (Cornish: Aberfala) is a seaside town in south Cornwall. Famous for its beaches, it is home to the world's third largest natural harbour. The four main beaches in Falmouth are Gyllyngvase, Castle, Swanpool, and Maenporth. It is also known for its castles, Pendennis and St.Mawes, both built by Henry VIII as he fortified the south of England.
First Great Western trains run from all over the South of England to Truro, and CrossCountry trains will bring you there from Scotland, the North and Midlands.
At Truro station, make your way to the Falmouth branch line at platform 1 - the journey takes around 20 minutes and the trains run regularly. Falmouth has three stations:
- 1 Penmere station – This station primarily serves the residential areas of Falmouth and is situated on the surprisingly named Penmere Hill.
- 2 Falmouth Town station – This station is situated on Avenue Road, 5 minutes walk from the town (to the North-East) and 7 minutes walk from Gyllyngvase Beach (to the south).
- 3 Falmouth Docks station – As the name suggests, this station is close to Falmouth's economically important Dock, but is also the closest station to Pendennis Castle.
First Devon and Cornwall operate most bus services into the town, with half hourly services from Cornwall's capital Truro (U1) and Redruth (U2). During term-time, a 15 minute shuttle bus (U3) also operates between the town centre and the university campus (the U1 and U2 also stop there en-route). Various other destinations are also served, but timings tend to be less regular, and it's best to check before travelling, as most minor routes stop fairly early. While buses in Cornwall are usually reliable, lapses do occur and travellers used to using buses in large cities may be disappointed at the prospect of long waits. For timetable information, the Bus Times website is an invaluable resource. If you are going to be using the buses frequently, both a local Falmouth area weekly pass (£14) or an all-Cornwall pass (£30) is available. Buses accept contactless debit cards.
Most travellers into Cornwall will come down the M5 and change onto the A30 at Exeter. To get to Falmouth, travellers must turn off the A30 on to the A39 at Fraddon, signposted as Truro. The A39 should be followed all the way through Truro until Falmouth is reached. A lot of accommodation in Falmouth doesn't have off-street parking, and on street parking is often in short supply.
Numerous ferries serve Falmouth, converging on the Prince of Wales Pier ferry terminal in the town centre. Ferries run year-round to St. Mawes and Flushing, and sesonally to Truro via Trelissick. Service is generally hourly but may skip a crossing when the tide is extremely low, when the ferries can't dock. Truro ferries run at all states of the tide, but have an alterantive landing point in Truro during very low tides, when the ferry company provides a free shuttle bus to take you to the town centre. Just north of Falmouth, the King Harry Ferry runs year round as a chain-ferry providing a short-cut for cars crossing the Fal river. Single, return and season tickets are available. Details for all of the above (along with connecting ferry services from St. Mawes to Place, and along the Helford River) can be found on the Fal River website.
Falmouth is extremely hilly in places, and some roads (Killigrew Street, Trelawney Road) will have you cursing town surveyors. Fortunately, most of the attractions are between The Moor and Falmouth Docks, which is relatively flat. The town is generally cycle-friendly, though rush hour traffic can be very heavy.
Falmouth is also on the South West Coast Path, which makes for some excellent walks.
Falmouth Town Council contracts with OTS to provide a three line town bus service (see link for more info).
363 - Provides a hourly service to Old Hill and Acacia suburban areas, including the Sainsbury's supermarket.
366/366A "TownLink" - Provides a town centre loop line running every 20 minutes. Stops at Falmouth Town train station.
367 "ShoreLink" - Provides a hourly route serving the beaches and Pendennis point (inc the leisure centre and castle)
These buses are not a part of the main Cornwall bus services run by Kernow, and passes for Kernow buses aren't accepted on the Falmouth town routes.
- 1 Pendennis Castle, Castle Close, TR11 4LP, ☏ . 1 Apr-30 Sep: daily 10AM-6PM; Oct 1-31: 10AM-5PM; 1 Nov-23 Dec and 3 Jan-12 Feb: Sa Su 10AM-4PM; 12-25 Feb: daily 10AM-4PM; 26 Feb-29 Mar: W-Su 10AM-4PM;. One of the finest surviving examples of a coast fortress in England. Successive remains chart developments in military engineering and weapons technology and the organisation of coast defence from the Tudor period until the Second World War. adults £8.40, children £5.00, concessions £7.60, Cornish Heritage Trust or English Heritage members: Free.
- 2 Falmouth Art Gallery, Municipal Buildings, The Moor, TR11 2RT, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Free.
- 3 National Martime Museum (Cornwall), Discovery Quay, TR11 3QY, ☏ . Home of the National Maritime Museum's small boat collection and other exhibits.
- 4 Glendurgan Garden, Mawnan Smith, TR11 5JZ (south of Falmouth), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Stroll down through the peaceful, exotic and playful valley to a sheltered beach at the bottom. £10.50 adult £5.25 Child.
- Boat trips - Regular services take you across the river Fal to surrounding villages and also in the direction of the city of Truro and west towards Helford. Ferries and tourist boat trips depart from the Prince of Wales Pier in the town centre. Ferries run to the Roseland villages of St. Mawes (hourly) and Flushing (half hourly) year round. Be sure to check times at the information office at the bottom of the pier, as during spring low-tides, services can be interrupted. To the north of town, a vehicle and foot passenger ferry (the King Harry Ferry) provides a vehicle shortcut to the Roseland peninsula.
- Scuba diving - Falmouth Bay and the surronding waters are regarded as some of the best in the UK for diving. Visbility is often 20m+ and there is a rich array of life due to proximity to the pelagic envrionment of the Atlantic, and the wide assortment of reefs and seagrass beds providing shelter. There is also a beweildering array of wreck sites. Falmouth and Penryn are the hub for many dive operators, and several are based here:
- Seaways Diving offer RIB and hard-boat diving, equipments sales (shop in Penryn), gas fills, servicing and BSAC training, including boat handling. Hard-boat dives on Fridays, and RIB dives on Sunday and Wednesday. T: 01326 375544 or visit shop on Commercial Road in Penryn.
- Atlantic Scuba offer RIB and hard-boat diving, gas fills, servicing, and SDI/TDI training. RIB dives on Saturdays. T: 01326 618583.
- Cornish Diving Centre provides PADI instruction, gas fills, servicing and equipment sales. Shop in Falmouth on Bar Road, near the Maritime Museum. Guided shore dives available. T: 01326 311265
- 1 Ships & Castles, Castle Drive, Pendennis Headland, TR11 4NG, ☏ . A swimming-pool, gym and small café contained within a modern building with a beautiful glass façade facing towards Falmouth town and the Docks.
- 2 Jacob's Ladder. You've not properly visited Falmouth until you've gone up (or down) Jacob's Ladder, a stairway that literally takes your breath away. Fortunately, there is a pub near the top, and it's well-lit at night. If you take a left after the pub you get some brilliant views over the estuary.
- Visit a beach - Falmouth has two beaches;
- 3 Gyllyngvase Beach. is the largest and "main" beach in Falmouth, and is very popular with university students, as it also in easy walking distance of the town centre campus. Surf and paddleboarding tuition is available. There is a proper cafe/restaurant, with a separate snack/drink beach bar as well as, in the best Cornish tradition, a bakery. Public toilets (unisex) are available and showers are on the beach. Behind the beach is a garden with some photogenic subtropical planting, beyond which is the main beach car park (often full in summer). Surf rescue / lifeguard patrol during the summer. Large sandy bay type beach with large wave cut reef at SW end that is popular with snorkellers. NE end turns to wave cut reef which blends in to the lesser visited (and so not easily accessible) Tunnel Beach. Busy in summer.
- 4 Swanpool Beach (a 20 minute walk from Gyllyngvase, or bus #367.). Swanpool also has a cafe that does a huge variety of imaginative and very good ice creams. Backs on to a old-school mini/crazy golf course. Surf and paddleboarding tuition available. Predominantly sandy bay with reefs framing each end. There is a large car park adjacent to the beach, which has public toilets at one end. Up the hill at the SW end of the beach there is a more upmarket restaurant.
- 5 Castle Beach (Bus #367 or walkable from Falmouth Town station. On street parking.). The nearest beach to the town centre. Predominantly wave cut rocky reef with sandy areas, popular with snorkellers. Sheltered by Pendennis point and Falmouth bay, so sea conditions are generally calm except when the wind is from the south.Slope or steps to access from the road above, where there is on street parking and bus service. Cafe with outdoor covered seating and public toilets available. There is no surf rescue / lifeguard here.
- There are a good range of shops for surfers in Falmouth: these can be found around Market Street. If it's Cornish merchandise ye be wantin', have a look round Church Street, which also has an excellent bookshop.
- 1 Harbour View, 24 Arwenack St, TR11 3JB, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Views across the harbour from this small cafe. Most of the seating is outside covered with large umbrellas and heaters. The food is locally sourced, with a large array of seafoods fresh from Cornwall.
- 2 Five Degrees West, 7 Grove Place, TR11 4AU, ☏ . Gargantuan burger meals and a sleek modern interior to boot.
- 3 Quayside Inn, 41 Arwenack St, ☏ . Greene King pub
- 4 The Harbout Lights, Arwenack St, ☏ . Home-style fish & chips.
- 5 Kessell's Kitchen, 14 Killigrew St, ☏ . On "The Moor" great sandwich shop.
- 6 The Packet Station, 4 The Moor, TR11 3QA, ☏ . Wetherspoon's through and through.
- 7 WC Rowe, 2 Market St, ☏ . Serves genuine Cornish pasties and Emmet freshly cut sandwiches.
Falmouth has a special place in every hardy drinkers heart. It's main shopping street runs in a straight line and has a pub every 50 metres on average: with more than 15 bars within a square mile, the town is designed for pub-crawling. Beginning at the Maritime Museum, bars include:
- The Watersports.
- 1 Five Degrees West, 7 Grove Place, ☏ .
- The Front.
- The Quayside.
- The Chain Locker.
- Rumours Wine Bar.
- The King's Head.
- Mango Tango.
- The Grapes.
- The Waterman.
- Finn M'Couls.
Here the road splits. Head up 'The High Street' to find:
- The Prince of Wales.
- The Star and Garter.
- The Boathouse.
Head towards the Moor to find:
- Wodehouse Arms.
- The Seven Stars.
- The Mason's Arms.
- The Killigrew Arms.
- The Packet Station (JD Wetherspoon's).
Outside the main shopping street there are more pubs to be found including:
- The Oddfellows Arms.
- The Seaview Inn.
- Jacob's Ladder Inn.
- The Four Winds Inn.
- The Red Lion.
- The Ferryboat.
- The Trelowarren Arms.
As a tourist resort, Falmouth has many hotels and B&Bs.
- 1 The Falmouth Hotel, Castle Beach, ☏ .
- Highcliffe, 22 Melvill Rd TR11 4AR (by Falmouth Town railway station), ☏ . Quirky arty B&B, no children under 8 or dogs. B&B double from £60.
- 2 St. Michael's Hotel, Gyllyngvase Beach, ☏ .
- The Rosemary, 22 Gyllyngvase Terrace TR11 4DL, ☏ . Charming comfy B&B in an Edwardian town house. B&B double £90.
- 3 The Greenbank, Stratton Place TR11 2SR, ☏ . Bright stylish hotel by harbour. B&B double £110.
- 4 Merchants Manor Hotel & Spa, 1 Western Terrace, ☏ .
- 5 The Grove, 1 Grove Pl, ☏ .
- 6 Arwenack Hotel, 27 Arwenack St,, ☏ .
- 7 Westcott Hotel, Gyllyngvase Hill, ☏ .
- 8 Lerryn Hotel, De Pass Rd, ☏ .
- 9 Hotel Ancapri, Gyllyngvase Rd.
- 10 Tregenna Guest House, 28 Melvill Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 11 Budock Vean, Helford Passage, Mawnan Smith TR11 5LG, ☏ . Upscale resort hotel and spa above Helford River, gets great reviews for comfort, service and dining. Open Feb-Dec. B&B double from £150.
|Routes through Falmouth|
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