Car-free aroundFalmouthCornwall

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Explore the subtropical South Cornish landscapes by train, bus, boat, or on foot from Falmouth, a busy port with the world’s third deepest natural harbour. From Great Western Railway's scenic main line, which connects London, Cornwall and everywhere in between, change at Truro for the GWR branch line to Falmouth Town. This seafaring town makes an excellent base for staycations and is home to the National Maritime Museum. There’s plenty to see in and around the town: have tea by the harbour or sail over the river, ride out into the woodland, or walk one of the gentler sections of the South West Coast Path. These are just a few suggestions for great days out.

  • County: Cornwall
  • Great for: boat trips | gardens | good cafés and pubs | scenic bus and train | walking |
  • Refreshments: Cafés along coast path and in Trebah gardens; loads of choice in towns.
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
  1. 3. Ferry across the Fal

    Sail over the wide waters of the River Fal to the white-washed fishing village of St Mawes – one of Cornwall’s most distinctive boat trips.

    • From Falmouth Town railway station, it’s a 15-minute stroll to the Prince of Wales Pier. You can follow a similar route as the walk to the bus station (see 1 above).
    • Lots of ferries leave from the pier, including the iconic trip to St Mawes with its 16th century castle; the ferry runs 364 days a year.
    • What would be a frustrating, hour-long trip by road is a simple, twenty-minute boat ride over the river. A relaxing way to see the harbour sights or to continue a car-free journey around Cornwall.
    • You can also buy combined tickets or voyage further afield to the beautiful Trelissick gardens around the Roseland peninsula.
    • The Fal Mussel Card for visitors is available for 1 day, 2 days, 3 days or 6 days and gives you unlimited travel around the Fal River network of classic ferries, the local bus services and the branch line from Truro to Falmouth Docks.
  1. 4. Take a trip to Truro or a pub crawl by train

    This Georgian city, with its narrow, cobbled lanes, three rivers and towering cathedral, makes a lively day out.

    • Regular trains run from Falmouth Town Railway Station to Truro along GWR’s historic Maritime Line. A self-guided real ale trail along the railway line visits historic pubs in different towns and villages – get ten stamps on your printable passport and you win a free tee-shirt!
    • Alternatively, buses U1 or U1A leave Falmouth frequently (regularly on Sundays) for the 45-minute journey to Truro.
    • On the way, by bus or train, there are some huge views from the windows and long wooded valleys near the River Kennall. Look out for evidence of Cornwall’s industrial heritage – this valley once housed gunpowder factories and iron foundries.
    • Truro itself is packed with galleries, shops and cafes, like the cheerful Duke Street Sandwich Deli, close to the cathedral.
  1. Buses, bikes and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info if you’re planning a staycation in Falmouth

    • The Fal Mussel Card includes unlimited travel on local trains as well as boats and buses.
    • A GWR Cornwall Ranger gives you unlimited train travel across the county.
    • If you’re riding the bus around Falmouth on the day you arrive or leave, ask for PlusBus when you buy your train ticket for unlimited buses around the whole urban area.
    • For more top value exploration by bus, dayrider tickets are now valid on any bus. There are Town dayrider tickets too for particular towns, including Falmouth.
    • For a holiday bus ride around the town and its scenic surroundings, don’t miss the open-topped Falmouth Coaster. It’s a hop-on, hop-off circular tour of the local sights.
    • You can hire electric bikes from Co Bikes or have them delivered to your door.
    • There are lots of places to stay in Falmouth, including Falmouth Lodge Backpackers with cosy double rooms. It’s a couple of minutes walk from Falmouth Town railway station and ten minutes from the Maritime museum.