Discover a world of fish and art in these two neighbouring towns - Falmouth & Penryn
PUBLISHED: 01:16 24 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:15 20 February 2013
Explore and more in Falmouth & Penryn. These two neighbouring towns have so much to discover, from simple pleasures to hidden treasures. Find out more...
Explore & More inFalmouth & Penryn
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Thanks to the beautiful River Fal and its tributaries, and the deep harbour at its mouth, the history of Falmouth and Penryn are tied to the fortunes or otherwise of fishermen, sailors, and ships and boats of all kinds, as well as the various industries that needed the harbours for import and export over the centuries. The two neighbouring towns are also renowned for their artistic side, so its not surprising to see galleries and shops displaying all manner of arts and crafts to do with the sea, and the harbours and quays are always packed full, from the smallest rowing boat to the largest ocean-going liner. Today, Falmouth may be seen as the larger, more important of the two towns but in days gone by Penryn had an equally important story: the busy and bustling quays sat next to warehouses that served the coal and granite industries, and granite was sent from here to build cities across the world, such as Gibraltar, Singapore and Buenos Aires.
There are few better places to stop and admire the view than Pendennis Point. Take a picnic and some binoculars, and enjoy a leisurely day watching the boats come and go. Falmouth contains many lovely sheltered gardens in the town, and all are worth investigation: Gyllyngdune Gardens has an Edwardian bandstand and greenhouse; Fox Rosehill Gardens were given to the town by the Fox family at the end of the Second World War; the formal Queen Mary Gardens are framed by Monterey pines and the ornamental trees and formal bedding areas in Kimberley Park has enabled Falmouth to win several Britain in Bloom competitions.
Both Falmouth and Penryn hold a wealth of architectural and historical treasures. A walk through either town will have you stopping as you frequently spot something of interest. Penryn is full of beautifully restored buildings from Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian times. There are plaques and memorials all over Falmouth, many expressing gratitude to those who fought so bravely during past conflicts, with others commenting on a visit by a person of importance. Look out for the plaque commemorating the men and women who served at HMS Forte IV; the quay stone was laid by the Prince of Wales in 1903, or the area dedicated to the sailors and commandos who took part in the St Nazaire raid during the Second World War.
Graham Moorhouse is part-owner of Sheikyerbooty, a shop selling ethnic gifts and clothes, and old vinyl records, in St Georges Arcade. This is an amazing building, its full of history and was once the site of Falmouths first cinema in 1912, says Graham. Im usually quite busy, but when I have some spare time I go to Fox Rosehill Gardens. Its a peaceful place with lots of tropical plants. When eating out, I like to go and eat at Warehouse Bistro on Custom House Quay.Dee Pomroy and her dog, Gizmo, are holidaying from Bath. My husband and I rediscovered Cornwall last summer, says Dee, And we come here a lot now. There are some great places to visit. We love Boscastle and Mousehole, and its lovely here in Falmouth too. This morning we are just relaxing on the quay, watching the world go by. There are plenty of cafs and restaurants, especially in Events Square, where we can sit outside with Gizmo. I think March to May is the best time to be in Cornwall, especially when the sun shines!
Out of town
Five miles west of Falmouth is the small town of Constantine and the Potager Garden. Potager is a new organic garden which was built on the site of an abandoned old nursery. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays from Easter until October, and contains an exciting mixture of herbaceous plants, vegetables and fruit, home-cooked food in the Glasshouse Caf, games such as boules, badminton, swingball and table tennis, and hammocks and sculptures in the gardens.
Arts, crafts & entertainment
Falmouth Art Gallery on The Moor has a permanent collection of works by major British artists, including Sir Alfred Munnings, Dame Laura Knight and Henry Scott Tuke. Other galleries include a branch of the Whistlefish Gallery, the Great Atlantic Art Gallery in Falmouth, the Open Space Galleries, and the Malcolm Sutcliffe Glass Gallery and Studio in Penryn.
The Phoenix Cinema with its five screens, three of which offer snacks and drinks courtesy of a waiter, and a caf/bar, is at Berkeley Vale and shows all the latest releases.
Food for thought
With streets running parallel to the river, some Falmouth restaurants and cafs have panoramic views over the water or terraces where you can sit outside when the weather is kind. If you want views, you should try the Waterside Caf at the National Maritime Museum. Or try Rick Steins Fish and Chips, where you can enjoy take-away or waitress service, or the Seafood Bar upstairs that serves Cornish oysters and crab.
Miss Peapods Kitchen Caf at Jubilee Wharf, Penryn, serves local, organic and fair-trade food and champions sustainability, even down to the recycled china and furniture.
If you prefer to cook at home then the Farmers Market on the Moor is open on Tuesdays and sells all manner of locally produced items.
Ships and Castles is a spectacular building on Pendennis headland. This glass-topped building is home to a fun leisure pool, which includes a running river, a 70m flume, spa pools, geysers, bubble mats and a large shallow area for the smallest children. The only problem will be getting the children out of the water at the end of the session! Raze the Roof in Penryn offers family fun, from mega playframes and slides to ball canons and an astroglide. Parents can let the children wear themselves out while they enjoy a coffee and snack in the relative peace of the caf.
27 May 5 June
Fal River Festival- Over 150 different events celebrate life on the River Fal.
Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival- Raising money for the RNLI, groups from Cornwall, the UK and abroad perform their shanties in various locations around the town.
Henry Lloyd Falmouth Week - More than 450 yachts take part in this the largest sailing regatta in the South West.
Falmouth Oyster Festival- Celebrating the best of Cornish seafood, as well as a programme of music from jazz to Celtic folk.
By Road: On the A39 from Truro, or take the A394 from Helston, turning off at Treliever Cross. At Ponsharden, turn left for Penryn, or follow the A39 right to Falmouth.
By Rail: First Great Western runs a seven-day-a-week rail link between Truro and Falmouth.
By River: The Park and Float starts at Ponsharden, where there is a 500-vehicle car park. Ferries run from 1 May to 31 October and the 20-minute ride will take you to Custom House Quay. There are ferries to St Mawes and Mylor, running for 364 days a year.