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.
1. Bus ride to Trebah Garden
Visit a flower-filled valley, sloping down through dappled glades and varied walkways to an idyllic cove, by bus or even on foot (see 2)
- Trains to Falmouth Town railway station leave frequently from Truro and take just twenty minutes along GWR’s Maritime Line.
- From Falmouth Town station, stroll up leafy Arwenack Avenue and Gyllyng Street with views over the harbour, follow colourful Vernon Place left and turn immediately right up a path called Jacob’s Ladder to reach Falmouth’s little lime-shaded bus station. It’s a pretty 15-minute walk.
- Bus 35 and bus 63 leave regularly, Monday to Saturday. If you have to wait or need a coffee, the nearby Good Vibes café is friendly and fun. Follow Good Journey’s directions.
- The bus ride to Trebah garden along winding, wooded lanes is an adventure in itself. Tickets need to be booked in advance. The gardens are beautiful: walk down through tree ferns and bamboos, gnarled rhododendrons and Japanese maples, hydrangeas, palms and nodding agapanthus, reflected in a series of ponds.
- Have an ice cream on the pebbly beach, overlooking the Helford River, before climbing up by a different route, past more of Trebah’s hidden corners. .
- The same bus also serves the NT Glendurgan gardens next door. There’s a maze, three valleys full of subtropical greenery and wildflowers, and a beach on the Helford River.
2. South West Coast Path National Trail
Passing castles, creeks and cafés, you can walk along the coast path, past Glendurgan and Trebah gardens (1 on map below), to Helford Passage (2) and get the bus back.
- From Falmouth Town or Falmouth Docks railway station, you can sample the spectacular South West coast path.
- The whole long-distance path is 630 knee-wrecking miles long and walking it all is famously equivalent to climbing four Mount Everests. Luckily, the ten-mile section between Falmouth and Helford Passage is a relatively gentle walk with plenty of refreshments.
- Start by rounding Pendennis Point, with its English Heritage castle and great views over the river. After a couple of miles, there’s a café at Swanpool Beach and, at scenic Maenporth two miles further on, there’s a beach café and the fancy Cove Bar. Finally, there’s the atmospheric Ferryboat Inn at Helford Passage.
- The bus stop, to get bus 35 or bus 63 back to Falmouth, is at the top of the road not far from the entrance to Trebah Garden.