Local Information

Falmouth Today

The Cornish port of Falmouth is set amongst some of the most beautiful coastline and countryside in Britain. Its southerly position provides a pleasant climate, featuring mild winters, allowing access to watersports and other outdoor activities all year round. The Cornwall Coastal Footpath leads south and west from Falmouth, first through sandy beaches, rockpools and soft coastal features to the Helford River and then on to the rugged granite cliffs of the Lizard, the most southerly point in Britain, and eventually on to Land’s End, as far west as you can go!


The Fal Estuary, dominated by Henry VIII’s twin castles of Pendennis and St. Mawes, is a very special place, surrounded by unspoiled hills and creeks and yet always active with pleasure craft and shipping bound for distant shores. The Fal River is arguably the most beautiful area of creeks and rivers in the country. Its warm waters and gentle currents make it one of the best day sailing locations in the world. Once the prime port for the Packet Ships and first port of call for the wool and tea Clippers, it is now a favourite spot for transatlantic sailors, and home of one of the last fishing fleets in the world to work exclusively under sail. In winter, classic sailing dredgers work the shallow banks for oysters; small fishing boats bring home their catch of mackerel and shellfish; from spring through summer to Christmas, yachts and dinghies race in the Carrick Roads; in August the whole estuary and bay is awash with colour and sound, first from the 300 strong Falmouth Classics Rally and then for Falmouth Week  through to the Oyster Festival; ferries and trip boats ply to and fro; tugs, pilot vessels and ships manoeuvre off the docks; passenger liners anchor for day visits ashore.


For an up-to-date list of events in Falmouth, visit: https://www.falmouth.co.uk/


A Brief History of Falmouth

Falmouth was founded as a market town and port in the 17th century by a man called Sir John Killigrew. In 1540-1545 King Henry VIII built two forts to guard the entrance to the Carrick Roads, Pendennis Castle and, opposite, St Mawes Castle. During the civil war of 1642-1646 Pendennis Castle was the second-to-last fort held by Royalists to surrender. Nevertheless, after the Civil War, Falmouth continued to grow.


King Charles II in 1660 gave Falmouth a charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). In return Falmouth townspeople built a church in dedication to his father, King Charles the Martyr. The new church was consecrated in 1665. In 1688 Falmouth was made the Royal Mail packet station. Ships carried mail all over the world and as a result Falmouth grew at a fast rate, into a fairly important town.


In Falmouth fishing was a major industry. Fish Strand Quay was built in 1790. Another important industry in Cornwall in the 18th century and early 19th century was smuggling! The Kings Pipe is a brick chimney, which was used to burn tobacco taken from smugglers.


The Post Office Packet Ships stopped leaving Falmouth in 1852. This was a blow to the town but it soon recovered. The St Anthony’s Lighthouse was built in 1835, and the Falmouth Docks Company founded in 1859. The town was soon very busy. In 1863 the railway reached Falmouth. This brought new prosperity to Falmouth as it made it easier for tourists to reach the town. Falmouth became a thriving sea side resort as well as being a busy port. The main industry today is still tourism from the land and sea. The town is vibrant all year round and with the new university of Cornwall on the outskirts of the town, this has encouraged more people to visit this beautiful town on the south coast of Cornwall.