Originally known as Pennycomequick (maybe as a companion to the nearby Come-To-Good), Falmouth is quite the historic town. Part of the third deepest natural harbour system in the world (After Sydney and Milford Haven, apparently), the town is at the mouth of the river Fal, and a long way down South West in Cornwall. Famous for its military association (right back to Henry VIII) and as the preferred starting point for round-the-world types like Ellen MacArthur, Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Francis Chichester, Falmouth is nothing if not the maritime town, and this is notable in every way throughout.
It actually makes for a very nice town: the new dockside developments are all very wooden and fresh-looking, and after a quick detour into Trago Mills, a delicious fish and chips lunch was consumed – in fact, one of the best I’ve had. We ate overlooking the battleship in the harbour, and sat, and gossiped in the sun: it’s a lovely place for that.
And then onwards, to the charity shops. Falmouth the commercial centre is really arranged along two lengthy main drags. From the chippie, we make our way along Arwenack Street, which in turn becomes Church Street, then Market Street. This winding, cobbled street is the heart of the quaint old town: all the shops you’d like to see are hear, and few more cute ones beside. Proceeding away from the harbour, you first come to the pairing of the Cornwall Hospice and National Animal Welfare Trust. The former is a nice enough shop with an upstairs section, but the latter is a cluttered, interesting, junky delight.
Then onwards to British Heart Foundation – a word to the wise, if you’re after a coffee by this time, Costa has the best seats I’ve seen in a coffee shop, maybe ever. Lodged into the rugged crenellations of the sea wall, these tables overlook the harbour directly, over two levels. Definitely worth a stop. Onwards then, to Oxfam and Cancer Research at the foot of the High Street. Once you’ve looked at these though, take a left along Webber Street to the broad conjunction of Killigrew Street and Berkeley Vale. Here you’ll find the grand post office, located through the back of a coffee shop, and a variety of more everyday shops (no White Stuffs here, no chain coffee) – you’ll find a Cornwall Hospice up here (according to Google Maps, at least) and a Salvation Army – we didn’t make it this far, time being against us.
Falmouth was a thoroughly pleasant place to spend a quiet, sunny, holiday afternoon. There’s plenty to satisfy the shopper, the lounger, the bargain hunter, the viewfinder, and plenty of other holidaymaking ilks besides.
Find: Falmouth on Google Maps
Consume with: Chips and coffee – as above.
Visit: Henry VIII’s Pendennis Castle overlooks the town and the beaches, and is open through English Heritage.
Overall rating: five ghoulish celebrity autobiographies