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Falmouth, England

Falmouth is a port town on the southern coast of Cornwall where warm waters of the Gulf Stream help support a mild climate and lovely sub-tropical gardens. The harbor, considered one of the deepest natural harbors in the world, has long been a critical part of Falmouth’s history. King Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle and St. Mawes Castle on either side of the harbor area in the early 1540s to safeguard the waters--known locally as Carrick Roads--from invasion from mainland Europe. Chartered in the early 1600s, Falmouth became a Royal Mail Packet station in 1688, which helped the town boom. Its location on the southwest coast also meant it was the port of arrival for numbers of British Royal Navy ships over the years. In World War II the US had a navy and army presence in Falmouth.


Fans of the Poldark and Doc Martin television series will recognize the beautiful scenery of Cornwall. For Wind in the Willows aficionados, Kenneth Grahame is said to have written letters to his son that became the basis for the book while staying at the Greenbank Hotel.


Ship Location


Smaller cruise ships docks in Falmouth and larger ones tender passengers ashore. The County Wharf is just a short 10-minute walk to the city center where there are a variety of shops, restaurants and galleries. A free shuttle and taxis are available for those who do not want to walk.


Getting Around


Walking in Falmouth along the harbor area is flat, though be prepared for steep hills if walking further inland. Taxis are available, and there is an established local bus system.




Falmouth offers a variety of excellent opportunities for tourists.


Pendennis Castle is a fortified structure built by Henry VIII to help defend the coast from invasion. The fort saw action during the English Civil War as well as both World Wars. Since decommissioned, the castle is a major tourist attraction and considered a great example of defensive forts in England. Explore the keep and Tudor-era battlements.


Because of the warmer climate fed by the Gulf Stream, Cornwall is home to lovely gardens. Glendurgan Garden (1826), a National Trust site, is well-tended. Its gardens include a camellia walk, an olive garden, and a magical cherry laurel hedge maze (undergoing renovation in 2020). Trebah Garden has some 26 acres miles of rambling garden paths and is considered among the top 80 gardens in the world. It features four miles of walking paths, 100-year-old rhododendrons, and a hydrangea valley--along with an enviable coastal backdrop.


Learn about boatbuilding, fishing, trade, and the mail shipping history at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, which opened in 2003 and is located along Discovery Quay.


Close by is Arwenack House, considered the oldest house in Falmouth, which was first built in the late 14th century and then reconstructed by Sir John Killigrew, who was the first Governor of Pendennis Castle.


Stroll along local beaches--Tunnel, Castle, Swanpool, Gyllyngvase, and Maenporth--or cliffside trails and take in the coastal beauty. Sample a Cornish pasty, a traditional meat-filled pastry from a seaside cafe, or an ice cream along the High Street of Old Falmouth.


Excursions include Lizard Peninsula, the southern tip, and Lands End, the furthest western point of mainland England, or the stunning St. Michael’s Mont, reachable by a causeway at low tide.


From gardens to castles to rugged cliffs, Falmouth offers it all.


Staying in Touch


The town sponsors free WiFi from the areas of the Moors to Events Square. In addition, cafes and restaurants may also have free WiFi for patrons.