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Falmouth, Cornwall
Photograph: Shutterstock

14 things to do in Falmouth

Find scenic river trips, tropical gardens and wraparound views in this Cornish coastal town

By Katie Gregory
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Falmouth is a two-for-one destination. The Cornish harbourside town lines up all the classic seaside essentials, while its position on the Fal Estuary also makes it a springboard for reaching the sleepy hamlets, meandering creeks and secret gardens of the Roseland Peninsula. This decidedly green spot basks in a mild microclimate, making it bloom like a tropical paradise – even in the frosty winter months.   

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A perfect day in Falmouth

Gyllyngvase beach, Falmouth
Gyllyngvase beach, Falmouth
Photograph: Shutterstock

First up

Head for Gyllyngvase Beach. Falmouth’s biggest sandy sweep is a great spot for a sunny standup paddleboarding expedition or a blustery winter’s walk. Fill up with a full Cornish brekkie at Gylly Beach Cafe, then follow the South West Coast Path half a mile to pocket-sized Swanpool Beach.

Roly's Fudge, Falmouth
Roly's Fudge, Falmouth
Photograph: Roly's Fudge

Splash the cash

Falmouth’s got its fair share of shops. If you’re all set for surf and skate gear, swing by Wild Pony for vintage garms. Visit Willow & Stone for cute coastal and retro homewares and Roly’s Fudge for paper bags chock-full of the sweet stuff.

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Rick Stein's Fish, Falmouth
Rick Stein's Fish, Falmouth
Photograph: David Griffen Photography / davidgriffenphotography.co.uk.

Stop for lunch

For something quick, grab fish and chips to go from Rick Stein’s Fish, or feast on a fat Cornish pasty from Choak’s. For a longer lunch, try The Shack. This shellfish bar serves everything from prawns and oysters to razor clams and flatfish. The Shack Stack on the evening menu is epic.

Trebah gardens, Falmouth
Trebah gardens, Falmouth
Photograph: Trebah

Soak up the vibes

Wander through the palms – yes, actual palm trees – in the incredible gardens of  Trelissick, which flaunt a blaze of copper-red foliage every autumn. Like what you see? Head to Trebah Garden, another leafy local treasure nearby where peace and quiet reigns.

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The Chain Locker, Falmouth
The Chain Locker, Falmouth
Photograph: The Chain Locker

Drink like a local

Sink a few with a harbour view at The Boathouse, on the quayside balcony of  The Chain Locker, or by the water’s edge at The Working Boat. Casting your net wider? Head to The Pandora Inn at Mylor Bridge. Find a spot on the creekside pontoon if the sun’s out, or by a roaring log fire if it’s not.

View over the river from Malpas, near Falmouth
View over the river from Malpas, near Falmouth
Photograph: Shutterstock

If you do only one thing

Get out on the water and take the ferry from Falmouth to Truro. The journey takes in all the best bits of the Fal River, including waterside villages like Malpas and the Tudor castles of Pendennis and St Mawes. Short on time? Sail ten minutes from Falmouth to Flushing instead, then find a quayside pub.

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Amelie houseboat in Falmouth
Amelie houseboat in Falmouth
Photograph: Canopy & Stars

And if you stay the night, wake up here

What better way to soak up the coastal calm of this corner of Cornwall than by spending the night bobbing in your own houseboat? Moored on the Penryn River, just upstream of Falmouth, eco-boat Amelie is all wide windows and watery views. Spend the early morning inside watching the mist over the river clear, or venture out on to the deck to stretch your way into a new day. The centre of Falmouth is just a 30-minute walk away, but you can borrow Amelie’s rowing boat if you’d prefer to float your way downstream. This place has total tranquil vibes. Sleeps 6. From £125.

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