Falmouth is a coastal town in Cornwall which is known for its natural harbour, beaches and a range of historical and cultural attractions. You can explore interactive art galleries, walk the ramparts of medieval castles, traverse the halls of a maritime museum, visit colourful and serene public gardens or just stroll along the waterfront promenade with its collection of restaurants and shops.

    This town is a cultural centre of southwest England and it's a place where couples and families can go to make holiday memories to last a lifetime. Here are the 10 best things to do in Falmouth.

    1

    Pendennis Castle

    Walk the ramparts that defended Cornwall for centuries

    • History
    • Photo

    Pendennis Castle allows you to feel what it was like to be a defender against the Holy Roman Empire and French forces in the 16th century. This castle was first constructed in the early 1540s and was instrumental in defending the Carrick Roads waterway that sits at the mouth of the River Fal.

    It's a testament to the fortress that it still stands today and even played a vital role in defending England during both World Wars. Private tours are available of the keep, grounds, observation post and more, and you can visit the cafe for a meal and the shop for the perfect souvenir.

    Location: Castle Dr, Falmouth TR11 4LP, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (1) 3263 16594

    Map
    2

    National Maritime Museum

    Trace maritime history through the ages

    • History

    The National Maritime Museum is situated right on the harbour and celebrates the entire maritime history of the region, from military to recreational to fishing. The museum features 15 galleries spread over 5 floors. Stop by the main hall to see its flotilla of hanging boats; then explore a gallery of notable artefacts and documents dating from the 17th century to the present.

    The kids can let their imaginations run wild at the Treasure Island Play Zone or race models at the Boat Pool. It's a whole world of fun and maritime education in one location.

    Location: Discovery Quay, Port Pendennis, Falmouth TR11 3QY, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (1) 3263 13388

    Map
    3

    Gyllyngvase Beach

    Watch the sunset over the sand and sea

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget

    Gyllyngvase Beach is one of four beaches in Falmouth just south of the city centre. This Blue Flag Award-winning beach offers a broad stretch of white sand and deep, dark blue waters.

    In the warmer months the water is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and during the cooler months, they offer quiet opportunities to take a serene seafront stroll with that special someone in your life under the deep red sunset. Since it's just a ten-minute walk from town, you can pop over any time to enjoy some peace on the seashore.

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    4

    Seafront Promenade

    Explore the attractions of Falmouth from a single walkway

    • Couples
    • Families

    The Seafront Promenade is something of a main walk along the shore where you can easily get to many of the local points of interest, shops and eateries. You can stroll along this walking path and view Discovery Quay, the National Maritime Museum, the A&P Shipyards and their collection of Royal Navy vessels and lots of eateries offering seafood and local fare.

    Here you'll find shops and pubs, museums and galleries and a world of maritime things to do. Every June this location is also the home of the annual Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival, a major local celebration that keeps the history of sailing alive through music.

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    5

    Trebah Garden

    Traverse the brilliant colours of an iconic Cornish garden

    • Couples
    • Families

    Trebah Garden is an iconic site that's open year round and is representative of a classic Cornish valley garden with exotic and native plant life. The blooming species of plants and flowers differ based on the time of year. Some do well in the summer and others come into bloom during the winter.

    Much of the talk is of the stunning beauty of the magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons in the spring, some of which have been here for hundreds of years. Later in the season, the Chilean rhubarb and the hydrangeas explode with colour during the fall.

    Location: Trebah Garden Trust, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth TR11 5JZ, UK

    Open: Saturday–Wednesday from 10 am to 4.30 pm (Closed Thursday–Friday)

    Phone: +44 (1) 3262 52200

    Map
    6

    Falmouth Art Gallery

    See paintings, statues and automata by the masters of art

    • History

    The Falmouth Art Gallery is unique in that it's located inside one of the town's Municipal Buildings. It offers a broad collection of paintings, sculpture, statuary, illustration and other forms of art and media gathered by a local philanthropist.

    Today it stands among the richest art collections in all of Southwest England. Here you can see artwork from the masters: Rembrandt, Matisse, Picasso, Dürer, Warhol, Bacon, Renoir, Munch and others. From the Renaissance to modern day, you'll find a broad selection with a gallery housing automata to fire the imagination.

    Location: The Moor, Municipal Buildings, Falmouth TR11 2RT, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm (Closed Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (1) 3263 13863

    Map

    photo by Nilfanion (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Swanpool Beach

    Catch a Cornwall sunrise

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Swanpool Beach is another of Falmouth's wondrous beaches, located just 1.5 miles from the centre of town. This sheltered beach is largely gold sand but is scattered with rocks. It faces southeast where you can get a brilliant view of the sunrise.

    It's a good option for couples on a romantic holiday or even a family day out at the beach. Swim at your own risk, because there aren't any lifeguards on duty. In the summer season the kids can visit a bouncy castle and the family can play crazy golf. You can grab a snack at the cafe or even hire a kayak to get out on the water.

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    8

    Queen Mary Gardens

    Walk the garden paths of the early 20th century

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Queen Mary Gardens are located right behind one of Falmouth's beaches, and were first established in 1912 in honour of the coronation of Queen Mary. The gardens, like other public gardens in the town, take special advantage of the unique climate of Cornwall and offer domestic and exotic plant species that flourish, including sub-tropical species like palm trees and lily of the Nile as well as Viper's buglosses, sugarbushes and giant gunnera.

    All flowers are arranged in immaculately tended beds and bordered by perfectly trimmed lawns along paved walking paths.

    Location: Cliff Rd, Falmouth TR11 4LX, UK

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    9

    Castle Beach

    Get up close to starfish, crabs, mussels and other sea life

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    Castle Beach is one of several beaches in Falmouth, but is among the most convenient since it's right in the heart of town at Pendennis Point.

    It's an open beach that's famed for rock pools and sunbathing when the tide is out. It's not popular as a swimming area, but people travel here to view starfish, Cornish suckers, crabs and mussels up close at the right times of day. The high tide covers almost the entire beach so you'll want to wait until low tide to check out the wondrous sites.

    Open: 24/7

    Map
    10

    South West Coast Path

    Hike the entire coast of Cornwall

    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    The South West Coast Path is among the longest hiking paths in the United Kingdom. It's waymarked so it's easy to follow and is a National Trail that traverses from Minehead to Poole Harbour between Somerset and Dorset.

    At certain points you'll need to catch a ferry to cross an inlet or river, but the trail goes in both directions from Falmouth so you can visit the Roseland Peninsula or the Lizard Heritage Coast. At some points the trail is quite challenging and traverses slopes, cliffsides and wooded valleys for a wide range of nature walks.

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