Falmouth has been shaped and influenced by its strong connection to the sea. Combining a fascinating maritime heritage and modern creativity, Falmouth is building a name for itself as one of the South West’s leading cultural and festival destinations.
Based around a thriving harbour Falmouth is gateway to the beautiful Fal River which runs through an Area Of Natural Beauty. The town is famous for its creative buzz with many art galleries displaying contemporary works and venues showcasing independent films and live bands. The many reasons to visit include, the fascinating maritime heritage; the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the Helford and Fal Rivers – perfect for walking and family days out; watersports; boat trips running from the pier and quay; and plenty of family friendly attractions. Falmouth is surrounded by several fantastic family friendly beaches and is known for its year round events calendar.
Falmouth’s maritime legacy and coastal culture is a huge part of its charm boasting world class watersports on its sheltered waters including gig rowing, kayaking, diving and regularly hosting sailing events such as Falmouth Regatta, and the Pendennis Cup.
Reasons to visit Falmouth
Fascinating maritime heritage
Four world-class beaches; Castle beach, Gyllyngvase beach, Swanpool beach and Maenporth beach, brilliant for families Watersports – surfing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, diving Home to the world's third largest natural deep-water harbour Positioned next to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the Helford and Fal Rivers
Great festivals and events calendar all year round
Creative buzz; think art galleries; exhibitions; independent shops
Foodie paradise; expect freshly caught seafood, delicious delis, food festivals, beachside restaurants, traditional pubs, a wide-range to suit all budgets
Beautiful walks and trails nearby
Explore the Fal estuary on the ferries that criss-cross the water connecting Falmouth with the charming harbour town of St Mawes and the city of Truro. The ferry runs all year round but do check timetables for up to date information.
Things to do in Falmouth
The multi award winning National Maritime Museum Cornwall houses a huge collection of boats, retells stories of intrepid explorers and provides an observation window where you can see what’s happening underwater in the harbour.
Pendennis Castle is one of the finest fortresses built by Henry VIII. Explore the restored Victorian and WWII defences complete with sounds and smells and head to the Discovery Centre where hands-on activities allows visitors of all ages to really get to grips with history.
The award winning Falmouth Art Gallery (free entry) is one of the leading galleries in the South West and is family friendly too. It has changing displays of some of the best British art with a regular programme of special exhibitions complementing works by luminaries such as Henry Scott-Tuke and Sir Alfred Munnings.
Exotic sub-tropical plants thrive in Falmouth’s mild maritime climate and at the well cared for Kimberly Park Municipal Garden you can sit amongst the immaculate oasis of ornamental trees and formal flower beds and enjoy a picnic. Other gardens include the internationally renowned Trebah Garden, family and dog friendly with a dramatic coastal setting on the Helford River and at Gyllyngdune Gardens, a restored heritage garden by the sea.
Falmouth’s host of beaches offer surfing, snorkelling, sailing and plenty of lounging around in the sun, everyone can enjoy the area’s varied seaside activities. Spend a family day on the beach at Gyllyngvase, just fifteen minutes from the town centre, where it's great for rock pooling at low tide, and has plenty of facilities close by including a café/restaurant. Falmouth's beaches include Castle beach, Gyllyngvase beach, Swanpool beach and Maenporth beach.
Falmouth is a foodie paradise, tuck into freshly caught seafood from the delicious deli's, food festivals, waterside restaurants, and traditional pubs.
It has done so for countless artists, sailors, explorers, musicians and boatbuilders for centuries. From Robin Knox- Johnston and Remy, to Ellen Macarthur and Henry Moore, many have sought solace, inspiration, sanctuary and escape among the inlets and creeks of the Fal estuary and the coves and cliffs of the stunning Cornish coastline.
Falmouth has the world’s third largest natural deep-water harbour and is the country’s first and last port. It is framed by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) along the Helford and Fal Rivers and Roseland Peninsula, located on the outstanding South West Coast Path, a magnet for walkers, picnickers and families alike and is renowned as the one of the UK’s premier day sailing destinations.
Its history abounds with tales of heroic maritime exploits and endeavours, from the days of the Packet ships and Trafalgar Way, to more recent around the world challenges, while its creative heritage boasts names such as Picasso, Henry Tuke and Man Ray. Today, as well as being a beautiful visitor destination, Falmouth is at the forefront of the region’s artistic and marine excellence.
From attractions like the award-winning Maritime Museum, Falmouth Art Gallery and Cornwall's largest fortress Pendennis Castle, to great waterside activities, there's loads to experience and do in Falmouth!
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Plan your trip
Everything you need to plan your perfect trip to Falmouth
The M4, M5 and M6 motorways have made travel to Cornwall simple and straightforward, while within Cornwall itself, the A30 and A38 continue to improve with fast dual carriageways. Follow the M5 to Exeter, and join the A30 to Truro, then follow the signs to Falmouth via the A39.
Falmouth has long stay car parks located at either end of the town, and coach parking at Gyllyngvase Beach.
National Express serves Falmouth from destinations throughout the UK. Connecting services to Cornwall are available from Bristol, Birmingham and London. The coach drop off point is to the centre of Falmouth, just above the Moor.
Great Western Railways operate high speed services from London Paddington, South Wales and the Cotswolds to Cornwall, including sleeper services from London Paddington. Cross Country Trains (Arriva Trains) operate services into Cornwall from the Midlands, the North and Scotland. Falmouth is lcoated on a branch line from Truro and has three platforms which serve the town, Penmere, Falmouth Town & Falmouth Docks. Trains run regularly and connect with mainline trains at Truro.
Dogs are allowed on Castle Beach, Gyllyngnvase Beach, Swanpool Beach & Meanporth all year except from 1st July - 31st August when then are not allowed between 10am - 6pm.
Travel to Cornwall by car
It takes less than five hours to get from London or Birmingham to the heart of Cornwall by car.
Drive along the M4 motorway from London, or M6 from Manchester, and then the M5 to Exeter and finally either the A30, that is mostly dual carriageway, or the A38 passing Plymouth and Saltash into South East Cornwall.
Alternatively if you enter Cornwall from North Devon, there is the scenic A39 Atlantic Highway running through Bude, which you can join from Junction 27 on the M5.
Due to the high volume of traffic on Cornwall's roads during the summer months the main routes can become congested especially at weekends. Travelling overnight or outside peak rush hours is recommended to avoid long delays.
- To plan your journey use the AA Route Planner for a tailor made travel plan with timings and mileage
- For information on possible delays or roadwork's throughout the UK or in Cornwall visit Traffic Watch
- Travelling to Cornwall with a caravan? Check out our Caravan Towing guide
PLEASE BE AWARE. Sat-Navs can lead you to some wonderful places in Cornwall, many of them down narrow country lanes with high hedges and few reversing points. If you are not sure...don't go on. Better to turn around and find another route than end up lost in the middle of nowhere.
Travel to Cornwall by coach and bus
Coach travel times from London or Birmingham to the city of Truro are around 7-8 hours
Many tour operators offer coach holidays to Cornwall, contact your local travel agent for details.
For information on public transport, including local bus timetables, once you are in Cornwall, Click here.
To plan your journey in advance, journey planning websites such as Traveline South West can be useful.
If you are bringing a coach to Cornwall, did you know Cornwall Council now offers a weekly coach rover ticket. This is available for all car parks where coaches are permitted and costs £15 for 24 hours or £50 for 7 days and £35 for 4 days. These can be obtained by creating an account to use the ZatPermit system.
Discover your Cornwall
Long sandy beaches, hidden coves, rugged moorland, quaint fishing villages, deep wooded valleys, bustling seaside resorts, industrial heritage, rocky headlands, colourful gardens, idyllic rivers and a bijou city, Cornwall has a bit of everything for those who want to explore.
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