Head for Cornwall’s hippest seaside town for good food and coffee, an arty vibe and a hell of a lot of messing about on the water
With its links to hit TV series Wolf Hall and Poldark – Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle on the harbour and Poldark author Winston Graham set a novel here – and its art school-meets-seafaring vibe, Falmouth’s an interesting hub.
Especially famous for its water based activity, life is centred around the harbour which is one of the deepest in the world.
Discover more by making a visit to the five floor Maritime Museum with its underwater gallery or stay above the water line and explore some of the town’s beaches and coastal walks.
We like sitting on the historic harbourside watching the boats go by while tucking into takeaway fish and chips from Rick Stein’s Fish.
If you happen to be arriving in town by boat, pull up at the pontoon outside The Greenbank (pictured below). The restaurant at this contemporary hotel is a nice setting whether you want a long, leisurely alfresco dining experience or just a drink at the bar.
Away from the water, there are lots of little streets to explore. Samphire Bistro on Arwenack Street is a great little find. Dave Trewin’s kitchen is bursting with local produce, with French bistro style menus featuring the day’s catch. You’ll find Asian and Mediterranean influences in his dishes too.
Head for lunch at Oliver’s in the High Street. It’s always good to know where the locals go – and this is a popular haunt. Run by chef Ken Symons and his wife, Wendy, it’s a fab find for some seriously good cooking.
Cafe lovers are spoilt for choice in Falmouth: Picnic Cornwall in Church Street should definitely be on your hit list. It’s long been a popular local haunt, and has even scooped a Food Reader Award for Best Cafe in recent years.
For a laidback meal (or just a mug of hot chocolate) with sea views, make for Gylly Beach Cafe which is right on the sand at Gyllyngvase Beach.
One of our faves is Beerwolf Books in Bells Court which is both a bookshop and bar, rolled into one. With wooden floorboards, benches, stacks of books and good craft brews this is a classic insider’s find.
Ale lovers should also stick Hand Speciality Beer Bar in Old Brewery Yard on their to-do list. This craft beer haven is the place to find drinks with an intentionally global focus with around nine beers on draught, and lots more available by the bottle.
Another rustic revelation is The Stable (pictured below) in the old custom house. Visit for freshly made, skinny pizzas and a fantastic selection of ciders from across the South West. It’s a good place to take kids, too.
Up for something a bit more genteel? We like Dolly’s in Church Street. It’s as quirky as Beerwolf, but instead of books, the focus is on tea and cake (with a live pianist thrown in). By day this is an elegant, traditional tea room, then in the evening it transforms into a candlelit, gin palace where you’ll be using vintage cups for cocktails and pouring gin out of teapots.
If you’re up for a gourmet getaway, there are a couple of good hotels to make a beeline for. As well as The Greenbank, try The Royal Duchy Hotel, which has had a super revamp to its dining room. Think soft green and mulberry in the elegant dining room, a cracking Med-style terrace overlooking the sea for drinks, and a quality, classic British menu.
We also rate Merchants Manor for its stylish interiors, collection of objets d’art and delish food.
Or how about St Michael’s Hotel & Spa – its new chef, James Knight Pacheco, returned from Dubai to take on the role and has just achieved two AA rosettes for the hotel.
On the edge of Falmouth is Hooked on the Beach, overlooking Swanpool Beach. This is a super spot for some fresh seafood – and it’s sustainable too.
If you’re prepared for a short drive out of town, stop at The Cove beside Maenporth Beach – this stylish, contemporary restaurant is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day exploring the town.