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On the Cornish coast near the southernmost tip of England, Falmouth is six hours drive from London and a million miles further in every other way. There has been change since 1539 when Henry VIII began building Pendenis Castle here, the town was just a smithy, two houses and an alehouse back then, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that there hasn’t been much change.

Sir Walter Raleigh stayed in 1600 and was so impressed with the harbour that he recommended the town’s development and it grew from there. So much so that there are at least half a dozen houses, any number of pubs and a nightclub called Shades there now, more of which later.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Falmouth was the base for packet ships which sailed to the British possessions in the Americas and to the Mediterranean, taking mail and returning laden with goods, and the town has taken on much of this trade character.

It is easy to mock such a place, but Falmouth is a delightful respite with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere; very different to the brash and loud coastal resorts closer to London. You really do get the feeling that things are quiet here and you’d be justified in asking yourself what the year-round residents do.

Falmouth is the world’s third largest natural port and there is a healthy fishing industry based here as well as the navy, but you’d be hard pressed to see any sign of activity.

There’s tourism here too, people coming to take advantage of Falmouth’s beautiful setting and the good weather that the gulf stream provides, and the Eden Project, Goonhilly and Barometer World are all just up the road.

But for all that it’s still a quiet, colorful town where you could imagine that people greet each other on the narrow streets and finding a baby sitter would be no problem.

Well, the twenty two divers who came to Falmouth for the first big dive of the year certainly had no problems whatsoever finding things to do in the evenings.
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