“ Located on the sheltered bank of one of the finest natural harbours in the world, and at the mouth of a network of creeks and rivers, Falmouth was the port from which the renowned Packet ships set sail to the Mediterranean and the Americas in the seventee „
Falmouth in Cornwall, has a real reputation among artists for having brilliant quality light and incidentally the town has a very well known photography department at the university (which I nearly went to in 2007, but that's another story). The town itself has undergone some regeneration in recent years and various sections of the town have different feels to them.
Last year my boyfriend and I wanted to go to the cinema to see the latest Batman film - we spent ages driving around trying to find the blasted place as its location wasn't obvious and is fairly distant from the main part of the town. The area around the cinema does look a little run down compared to other parts of the town, but the cinema itself is equipped with a luxury screen - this is apparently complete with sofas and a waiter service (at no extra cost), but unfortunately I've never seen it as our film was being shown in a different screen.
Down by the waters edge you have a fairly modern development, complete with car park, that houses a small number of eateries and the Cornwall maritime museum. Sadly I haven't been able to visit the museum myself yet but I've heard good things about it so a trip there, combined with lunch and a good view could make a nice day out. It's also one of the more wheelchair/disabled access friendly areas of the town which in general is on the hilly side.
The high street itself manages to be very attractive - it looks very much the typically English/Cornish town with a mix of interesting and attractive old architecture. There's a variety of shops that nicely cover most bases - you have the national chain stores like WHSmiths, Boots etc and a good number of independent shops including 2 camera shops and plenty of places to buy pasties.
At the end of the high street is 'Trago Mills' - effectively a large department store full of lots of cheap things. I went on my first visit there yesterday and it was amazing - the shop itself does look a little run down in places but it's huge with so many useful departments and some brilliantly priced things. I particularly liked the art and frame departments - I could easily have spent a small fortune in there.
One delightful place my Dad introduced me to (a set slightly back from the high street) was 'Beerwolf' - it's a pub and a book shop combined! As I'm a non drinker, you wouldn't think pubs are my thing, but I love the atmosphere in them. This one is in a lovely old building - not wheelchair friendly as it's upstairs but décor is quite eclectic with a nice big bar and a room full of books for sale. Another plus is the books are significantly below RRP price, for example one was for sale at £8 (RRP £25). I definitely suggest a visit if you're in the area.
'The chain locker' is a big pub down by the waters edge that's just undergone refurbishment. It's a fairly large establishment with an interesting interior and decent sized outside area which sits right on the water. I've not eaten in there but it has an excellent reputation for food as well as being reasonably priced.
We picked up a couple of pasties from 'Pasty Presto' on the high street for lunch, but a bold seagull stole my step mums before she got the chance to eat more than one mouthful! I had a traditional filling one which was reasonably priced and well flavoured.
Down near the maritime museum there's also a fish and chip shop owned by the famous chef Rick Stein, if you fancy eating at some high class chippy!
There are car parks dotted all over the town - none of them huge and in the summer they're usually all pretty full. Parking can be rather restricted on the roads so you'll either need to find a car park or make use of the park and ride system. If you do choose the car park then make sure you're back before the ticket runs out as I've heard the traffic wardens are not the most generous.
I'd say Falmouth is definitely worth a visit as there's plenty to do. In places it's a pretty town, shopping is diverse and plentiful, there's numerous places to eat and there's a museum. It's a good place to have as a base when on holiday or worth a day trip if you're staying elsewhere in Cornwall. The only real downsides are the occasional difficulty with parking and the general access is not brilliant for those who struggle with walking due to the hilly nature of the town.
We went to Falmouth for half a day trip after while on holiday in Newquay this July, trying to go to the bigger places in Cornwall. We decided to go into the park and ride outside Falmouth as there seemed a huge emphasis on trying to get tourists to park in it and not go into the town in cars. In the end we decided to do the Park and Float service into Falmouth, which was £11 for 2 of us and a car and a return journey by boat right into the centre of Falmouth. Expensive but a nice experience, and gets you quickly into the centre of Falmouth and journeys every 30 minutes. And I must say a wonderful commentary while we on the boat going into Falmouth.
Once in Falmouth you have the National Maritime Museum in a new development on the seafront with some shops and restaurants, although half the shops there seemed empty, not sure if that's the effect of the credit crunch! As you go the other way into Falmouth the windy main street is full of shops, ranging from the tourist and boutique shops you get in Cornish towns to the High Street favourites such as Boots, New Look, Greggs, among others. There was a Woolworths, still proudly empty on most our High Streets looking forlorn and empty. The small main street wasn't made for two way traffic and now you understand why they put so much emphasis on Park and Ride into Falmouth, as it easily jams up with the amount of people and cars trying to get through.
Near where you get off the boat, there was a shop (can't remember the name!) that sold everything, I don't think I've seen a department store that sold so much random things, from guitars to knitting, pet food to stationery. I expect it's a real asset to local people, as our villages and towns get decimated to out of town shopping.
Overall it took us about an hour to get up and down the main street, Falmouth is pretty small in comparison to other Cornwall towns, and after a trip to the National Maritime Museum we were heading back on boat ride to the car avoiding the rush hour traffic!
I had considered Famouth as one of my choices of univeristy to go to, but decided against going for a vocational qualification and ended up with an academic one, other than being 100's of miles from anywhere big, I do sometimes wonder if I made the right decision?
I was born in Truro and lived in Falmouth for 20 years before heading off to university, and still manage to make it down four or fives times a year. The town has changed quite a lot in the 5 years that i''ve been away, it''s had a lot of money, time and effort put into it, and it''s done wonders for the town.
Falmouth is split into three main sections - the town centre, the seafront and the surrounding suburbs. There are plenty of beaches across the coastline, with hotels lining the seafront to make the most of the wonderful views.
The high street has a wide variety of local shops and big chains, and is basically one long road meandering down towards the sea. At the end of the town centre the shops turn into restaurants and we end at the maritime musuem and discovery quay, which has some great places to eat and shop, as well as a tesco metro for the students.
it''s a fantastic little down with lots of promise, you won''t be disappointed if you visit!
[Originally posted on www.helphound.com]
Well Newquay is great for surfing, Truro has a cathedral, St Ives is a haven for art lovers so what’s poor old Falmouth got to offer, apart from numerous pubs and pasty shops? Well in my view Falmouth has got a lot to offer (although I might be a bit biased because this is where I grew up). Falmouth is a natural harbour situated on the south-west coast of Cornwall. Shipping is a very important part of Falmouth’s heritage. During the mid 18th century Falmouth was one of the premier ports in the world. This legacy can be seen in many of the pub names: The Clipper, The Cutty Sark, The Pirate, and The Admiral (I think some of the names might have been changed in the last few years which is a shame). Well that's the history part, so what's Falmouth like now? Well shipping is still very important and Falmouth definitely has a nautical feel about it. There are two main quays at either end of the main street: The Prince of Wales Quay and Customs House Quay. You can take pleasure boat trips from either quay which I would definitely recommend: sailing down the River Fal for the afternoon, taking a trip over to the tiny village of St Mawes or stopping for lunch at Smugglers Cottage. A short distance from the town centre is Falmouth Marina, which has over three hundred berths for both resident and visiting yachts and is a major boat repair centre. Falmouth town centre consists of one long winding street (so pretty hard to get lost or miss anything). You can find most of the main high street names such as Marks and Spencers, Boots, Smiths, Dorothy Perkins etc. More interesting in my opinion are the gift shops, second hand bookshops, and art/craft galleries. Towards the top end of the High Street (a part much less frequented because it’s up a slight hill) are many tiny antique and bric-a-brac shops. The main street is quite narrow and cobbled and it looks like it is an entirely pedestrianised street but be warned, traffic can
still drive freely through the town centre (and dawdling tourists in the middle of the road is definitely enough to drive you mad!). There are numerous cafes and small restaurants in Falmouth. I never really found a café which I thought was particularly good – although the Cavendish tearoom in the middle of town is always popular. I’d recommend having lunch in one of the numerous pubs, particularly the pubs surrounding the quayside such as The Quayside pub (very aptly named) because you can sit out by the water (when the weather is good!). The pubs tend to be quite traditional; the big chain pubs are yet to reach Falmouth. Although I’ve heard that a Wetherspoons is soon to open and a new tapas/drinks bar has just opened (bit of a first for Falmouth). If you want to sample traditional Cornish fare and try a pasty then locals would recommend Rowes or Rollings pasties. In the past few years a number of “new” pasty shops have opened in Falmouth, offering more exotic fillings (banana and chocolate pasty anyone?) these shops are much more tourist orientated and generally looked down upon by those in the know (eg cornish folk). A 10/15 minutes walk from the main street (which is signposted) will take you to Falmouth’s sea front, this is where all the beaches are (funnily enough!). Falmouth has a number of beaches: Gyllynvase, Castle, Swanpool and Maenporth. Gyllanvase is the largest and probably the sandiest of the three. As a child I always favoured Castle Beach because this was where all the rock pools were (all my school holidays were spent on the beach, along with the rest of my entire school). During the summer months you can get buses out to the seafront if the walk is too much to manage. Falmouth also has some lovely gardens, there’s The Princess Pavilion (which also has some events and shows) and Fox Rosehill Gardens where banana trees grow because of Cornwall’s mild climate Looking over th
e sea front, on the Pendennis Point headland, is the imposing sight of Pendennis Castle. The castle was built between 1539-64 by King Henry VIII as a defence against the threat of a French invasion. The castle is open to visitors (£3.80 adults, £1.90 children) and faces St Mawes Castle directly across the water. I haven’t been around the castle but I have seen events in the grounds which I would highly recommend. I saw a great performance of Hamlet with scenes taking place along the battlements of the castle. They often have battle re-enactments in costume, which are great for the kids. It’s worth visiting Pendennis just for the views alone. If you fancy staying in Falmouth then there are numerous hotels and B&Bs; the majority of these are out by the seafront or on either end of the main street. Falmouth provides a good base for exploring many parts of Cornwall, being within quite easy reach of the Helford Estuary, Truro and the Lizard Peninsula. In the evenings there are numerous pubs to frequent (my idea of heaven) – some of these do get very busy in the summer though. Falmouth also has two small night-clubs (Shades and Club International). These are good for somewhere to go if you want to carry on past pub closing time (many a drunken night I’ve spent in these lovely places) but which aren’t particularly great venues (I’m trying to be polite here). The Pirate, however, is a great place for live bands. Falmouth is largely dependent on tourism so you will find it quite busy if you visit in the summer and practically empty if you visit off-season (although in my opinion the beaches improve when they’re windswept and deserted). On the downside, in some places Falmouth looks a bit run down (and at times you think the pavements are going to be taken over by the seagulls), it’s a bit on the small side, it can sometimes be a bit rowdy in the evenings and it isn’t the most sophisticated of to
wns. However Falmouth might not have quite the spectacular beaches you find on the north coast of Cornwall and it might not be as picture postcard pretty as towns such as St Ives and Padstow but it still has its unique charms. Lovely views, harbours, beaches, gift shops, oh and pasties and pubs, Falmouth is well worth a visit.