31st July 2017
Five family things to do in Falmouth
Falmouth has a rich maritime history. The deep, natural harbour has made it an important port for centuries and goods from around the world have arrived in Falmouth en route to the rest of England. From the mid-17th century, Falmouth was the home port of the famous Packet Ships which carried mail around the British Empire and beyond. It was the arrival of steam that ended their reign.
Children’s author Kenneth Grahame was staying in Falmouth in 1907 when he was inspired to write The Wind in the Willows – the enduring story of Mr Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger and their riverside adventures. There’s no better way to discover the history and magic of Falmouth than from the water. The local knowledge of the Fal River boatmen offers an insight into life on the river. You could just hop on a ferry and visit the National Trust’s stunning Trelissick or head for the Cathedral city of Truro by boat. Or cross the Carrick Roads for St Mawes Castle, built by Henry VIII. There are regular timetables to places up and down the Fal river and it beats sitting in traffic for hours.
You could take a river cruise or a sea safari, or really “push the boat out” and charter your own vessel and do whatever you want. They say there’s nothing better than messing about on the river…
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth has plenty of history and adventure to keep the grown-ups happy with more than 100 boats on permanent display and artefacts collected over 150 years by the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. It is home to the National Small Boat Collection with no craft more than 30ft long. New this year for younger visitors is an Awesome Adventurers Play Zone where children can dress up and become the crew of HMS Adventure, exploring the Pacific Ocean in 1799. You will drop anchor off a deserted island to explore the land and try and discover new species. Go in an underground cave, slide down a waterfall or hop on a giant insect. But beware of pirates! Just don’t tell the kids they’re in a museum…
Falmouth Week in August is a major attraction for locals and visitors alike. With its origins in a local sailing regatta dating back at least far as 1837 (we have an engraved trophy to prove it!) the Week has evolved into not only a major sailing competition in the SW but also an opportunity for sailors and landlubbers to enjoy the many daytime and evening attractions in the town.
“Summer lovin’ had me a blast”… The music from the 1978 romantic comedy Grease still endures nearly four decades later. The story of Danny and the T-Birds and Sandy and the Pink Ladies of Rydell High has enchanted audiences with songs like Greased Lightning, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You and, of course, You’re the One That I Want. It made stars of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the lead roles. This summer you can see the PG-rated film at an open air screening in Kimberley Park with a difference. Silent Summer Screenings, as the name suggests, don’t have sound booming out and annoying the neighbours. You listen through headphones so there are no distractions from people rustling popcorn packets or having a coughing fit.
Falmouth has a reputation for producing wonderful artists for over a century and many of the St Ives School artists studied here. Falmouth School of Art has been ranked by The Sunday Times as the top arts university in the country, and the town proudly celebrates its connection with some of the best names in the modern art world across a variety of disciplines. Discover Falmouth’s art life for yourself at Falmouth Art Gallery which has over 2,000 artworks from Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist paintings to contemporary prints and photography. Admission is free here and there is plenty to keep young ones amused with a children's illustration archive and the largest contemporary collection of automata in a public collection.