Wednesday, 11 March 2015

10 good reasons to spend some time in Falmouth

If you are attending one of MEI's Falmouth conferences, you should seriously consider spending a few extra days in Cornwall, one of the world's most beautiful areas and of great historical interest to anyone connected with the mining industry.

Old tin mines on the Cornish coast
If you are travelling by car, then check out our Cornwall section, and you will be able to explore this stunning county, maybe using our suggestions as a guide.

If, however, you take our advice on travelling to Falmouth by train, then here are ten things which could keep you very occupied for a few days, with no need for a car.

1. Pendennis Castle

English history is colourful and bloody, and none more so than in the Tudor era. Falmouth lies on the estuary of the beautiful River Fal and perched on the headland only 15 minutes walk from the MEI conference venue is the Tudor fort Pendennis Castle, built around 1540 as one of a series of castles running along the south west coast of England on the orders of England’s most famous and grotesque kings, Henry VIII, who most people know had 6 wives, two of whom were executed, including Anne Boleyn, the mother of another famous monarch Elizabeth I. In order to marry Anne Boleyn, Henry had to renounce Catholicism in order to divorce his Spanish queen Catherine of Aragon, so the threat of invasion from catholic France and Spain was imminent.

The castle on Pendennis Headland, Falmouth
The castle is well worth a visit. Set high on the headland it offers panoramic views of Falmouth Bay, and looks across to its sister castle across the river at St. Mawes. See posting of 4th April 2012 for more information.

Looking across the Fal from the castle towards St. Mawes

2. Take the ferry to St. Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula

This whole day outing from Falmouth's Prince of Wales Pier will not disappoint you, as it offers some of the finest coastal scenery in the whole of the county. See posting of 20th September 2014 for full details.


Secluded beach on the Roseland Peninsula

3. St. Ives and Penzance

Another whole day outing, this time using the train from Falmouth to Penzance. Take the branch line from Falmouth to Truro and then the mainline express to Penzance. After an hour or so in this historic city, the birthplace of Sir Humphrey Davey, take the mainline train again, but alight at St. Erth and then hop on the branch line train to beautiful St. Ives. Full details on the posting of 26th May 2014.

St. Ives

4. Truro

You can take the branch line train (as in 3) to Cornwall's capital city Truro, but if the tides are right take the boat trip from Falmouth's Prince of Wales pier, up the River Fal to the city centre. It has an eclectic offer of art galleries, bars, restaurants, cathedral and the Royal Cornwall Museum. A city steeped in history and impressive architecture, there is plenty to see and do. Whether you are keen to shop, dine, visit the gardens or simply meander through the Georgian streets we are sure you will enjoy your visit to Truro.


5. Event Square

Falmouth's Event Square has some great restaurants, and is the home of the Maritime Museum. From here you can also take a dolphin and whale watching boat trip via Orca Sea Safari.

Event Square Restaurants

6. Trebah Gardens

Trebah Gardens

Cornwall is famous for its gardens, but Trebah on the Helford River is one of the best. Take the no.35 bus from Falmouth Moor, spend some time in the gardens, maybe have lunch in the restaurant then walk the beautiful stretch of coast path back to Falmouth. The section of coast path from Pennance point to Falmouth town is an optional evening walk during MEI Conferences, where we end up with real Cornish Ale in one of Falmouth's oldest pubs.

Coastal path walk with MEI Conference delegates
7. Helford River and Frenchman's Creek

Falmouth lies between two rivers, the Fal and the Helford, and boat trips to the beautiful Helford River and the Helford Village leave from the Prince of Wales Pier, and pass by Frenchman's Creek, made famous by Daphne du Maurier's eponymous book and the Hollywood film.

Helford River

8. Enjoy a round of golf

Falmouth golf course is stunningly located on the cliff top overlooking Swanpool Beach and Falmouth Bay, and the club house is about 20 minutes walk from Gyllyngvase Beach and the conference hotel. If you have not brought clubs you may be able to rent at the club, if not I can fix you up with a set or two.


9. Watersports

If you are into watersports, then Falmouth Bay is an ideal location. It has some of the best scuba diving sites in the UK, particularly on the Manacles Reef (more info in the posting of 8th March 2012).

If you would like to hire a windsurfer, sailing dinghy, kayak or paddle board, then head to Swanpool Beach only a 10 minute walk from the conference hotel.

Swanpool Beach
10. Relax

If you just want to chill out and do very little, then Falmouth is also a great place to do this!  If the sun is shining, doze on one of the lovely sandy beaches. Or stroll into town and eat at one of the many fine restaurants offering a wide variety of ethnic dishes. Browse the many art galleries on the main street, and stop for refreshments in one of the many pubs.

Gyllyngvase Beach
The Chain Locker pub by the inner harbour
These 10 suggestions are obviously very subjective, based on my many years in Falmouth. I am sure that Amanda and Jon will have different ideas, so I look forward to hearing their views and those of any of you who have had experience of this beautiful part of the world.

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