The popular yachting mecca of St Mawes sits on the Percuil River facing across to Falmouth. St Mawes Castle guards the harbour from its lofty perch opposite its larger neighbour Pendennis Castle.
We are sailing
St Mawes sits near the entrance to the Fal Estuary and is a mecca for the boating and yachting fraternity. The village boasts three boatyards and numerous moorings and anchorages for both visiting and local yachtsmen, providing a stunning vista from the shoreline.
The local sailing club in St Mawes is extremely active arranging racing events and evening functions for locals & visitors alike, including other clubs up and down the Fal and on the Roseland Peninsula. This includes the town’s regatta which takes place in late July/early August and dates back over 120 years.
Visitors to St Mawes can easily get about by water, even if you don’t have a boat. There are regular ferries across to Falmouth throughout the year and in the summer a small ferry crosses to Place on the south side of the Percuil River. From Falmouth you can also get a boat upriver to the National Trust’s Trelissick estate.
Of course, being right on the waterfront the village is are also a haven for the gastro enthusiast, with restaurants and pubs serving up superb fish and shellfish dishes all year round, as well as the more traditional dishes.
Castles and creeks
St Mawes’ location at the end of the Roseland Peninsula puts it in a great position to guard the eastern side of the Fal Estuary. The castle was built under orders of Henry VIII in the 16th century and is now managed by English Heritage. A visit to it is a must if in the area.
South of St Mawes, and accessible by the little passenger ferry over to Place, is St Anthony Head where you will find more fortifications. The St Anthony Battery was built in 1895-97 and served during both World Wars. Visitors are free to walk around the headland and take in the view from the former battery observation post. The headland is also home to the iconic lighthouse, known to many as the Fraggle Rock lighthouse.
As well as headlands the area is rich in creeks, snaking inland and offering plenty of nice walks to explore. The Percuil River flows past St Mawes and has footpaths along both shores, great for bird watching and just getting away from things. North of St Mawes, the St Just Creek is home to the church dedicated to the said saint, sitting in a sub-tropical setting and always worth a visit.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to St Mawes
Follow the M5 to Exeter, then take the A38 into Cornwall. Just beyond Liskeard turn onto the A390 passing through St Austell. Take the B3287 and then the A3078 to St Mawes.
You can also get to St Mawes by using the King Harry Ferry situated between Truro and Falmouth.
The main village car park is located to the right just behind The Rising Sun.
National Express coaches stop at Falmouth. From there you can travel to St Mawes via the ferry.
At the present time St Mawes is only served by one bus, the No 50 from Truro via Tregony. (2022)
Take the mainline down to Truro and then the branchline to Falmouth. From here you can catch the ferry to St Mawes.
The best way to get to St Mawes! Regular ferries run throughout the year from Falmouth to St Mawes.
St Mawes itself is often thought of as the capital of the Roseland. It lies at the end of the peninsula reached by windy roads through pretty villages, or via the King Harry Ferry from Trelissick. It's far easier to visit by boat!
Everything you need to know to plan your perfect Cornish getaway.View all
St Mawes has a pharmacy, dentist, Spar superstore, bakery and more. The Co-op sells a full range of groceries, wines beers and spirits, and seasonal homewares. There's also galleries, boutiques and a selection of gift shops.
St Mawes has two sandy beaches with rock pools, Summers Beach to the east of the harbour, and Tavern Beach between the town and the castle. At low tide there is also the harbour beach.
Dogs are banned on Summers Beach from 1st July to 31st August (10am to 6pm). Dogs are banned on Tavern Beach from Easter Day to 1st October.
Yes, prices start from £7.50 for an adult (2023 discounts available for booking online in advance) but if you are an English Heritage member you get in for free.
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The King Harry Ferry was established in 1888, and connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth by avoiding the alternative 27 mile route through Truro & Tresillian.
Each year the King Harry Ferry saves 5 million car miles, 1.7 million kg of CO2 and ¾ of a million litres of fuel. It carries 300,000 cars every single year.
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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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