Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Weekend in Falmouth

We've just returned from a lovely weekend staying with some wonderful friends, Karen and Rob, who now live in Falmouth, Cornwall. I was really excited as this part of the UK has lots of beautiful sandy beaches and historic seaside towns, and I hadn't visited Cornwall for over 20 years. On the way we stopped at Lanhydrock, a magnificent late Victorian country house run by the National Trust with around 50 rooms open to the public, and set in around 900 acres of beautiful woods and parkland.

I'd never been to Falmouth before and I was really impressed - it is not tacky and does not have the over-developed feeling of many other seaside holiday resorts. The busy harbour is overlooked by Pendennis Castle, built by King Henry VIII, and is famous for being the deepest natural harbour in Western Europe, and the third deepest natural harbour in the entire world!

Although the castle was built much earlier, this quaint little maritime town actually dates from the 17th century, when the Falmouth Packet boats carried mail to and from ports all over the British Empire. There are lots of charming little shops lining the narrow and twisting streets just off the waterfront, and a regular ferry crosses from Falmouth to St Mawes on the opposite side of the bay.
But you do need to be fairly fit to live there: the photo right is an old postcard image of Jacob’s Ladder - a flight of 111 steps leading from the Moor, Falmouth’s old town square, with a great view of the town and harbour from the top. Karen and Rob live in one of the pretty terraced houses which line the steep hillside, from where it's quite easy to walk down to the shops and restaurants, but walking back up again is a killer!

Apparently the beaches to the south of the town, especially Swanpool, are great for families and swimming, but we're not really beach people, so we decided to take a boat trip across
the estuary to explore the river Fal and its creeks. After a great lunch at Smugglers Cottage, Tolverne, we walked along the riverside to catch the diesel-powered chain driven King Harry Ferry across to the beautiful Trellisick Garden.

On Sunday morning we went to a service at the Parish Church of King Charles the Martyr. The church was dedicated by Charles II to his father soon after the Restoration, in gratitude to the town for its Royalist support during the Civil War. There is plenty to do in Falmouth, and we would both have liked to stay much longer. Thank you so much, Karen and Rob!

© Erika Price . All rights reserved.