From July until September, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth will be offering an exciting new water-based excursion. We were invited along to experience one of their brand new Heritage Tours, on one of the museum's most prized Cornish boats, Jonik.
We embarked on our one hour tour on a sunny afternoon in Falmouth. Jonik has space for 8 passengers, plus 2 crew: the skipper and the tour guide. The trip starts and ends at the Maritime Museum, so you could spend a few hours looking around the museum's exhibitions before the boat trip in the afternoon. The voyage takes you on a historical journey across Carrick Roads, which is at the mouth of the River Fal.
We got comfy on the historic boat and were greeted by our knowledgeable tour guide, Laura and the skipper, Jason. Enjoying the breathtaking scenery all around us and a gentle summer breeze, we stopped off at various places along the river where we heard some fascinating facts about Falmouth's maritime history, with interesting landmarks being pointed out by the tour guide.
Jonik has been in the care of the museum for the past 18 years, after the former owner donated it to the museum. Built in 1934 by Percy Clemens in Fowey, without the use of any power tools, this historic boat is a 24 foot motor launch.
After careful care and restoration, Jonik is back in action, providing the perfect vessel for a unique tour of Falmouth from the water. We were really lucky with the weather, but the boat does not have an undercover area, so we recommend being prepared for all weather conditions.
It was lovely to see the sights of Falmouth from a different perspective, admiring the beautiful views and taking in some of Falmouth's key landmarks. This is the first time that the Maritime Museum has invited visitors on board one of their boats for an exciting venture, so we felt privileged to have been invited along for one of their first Heritage Tours.
The leisurely trip along the Fal enables you to take in Falmouth's sights and sounds, spot wildlife and to discover the fascinating history of the area. We stopped at various places to get a better insight into some of the town's historic landmarks, in particular in relation to Falmouth's connection with the sea.
Our tour guide helped us to uncover information about Falmouth's fascinating maritime heritage, from Falmouth town, over to Flushing and beyond. Some of the places we stopped at were the Prince of Wales Pier, where the St Mawes Ferry sets sail from, the iconic Greenbank Hotel, and Packet Quays, which was built in the 17th Century and was where ships once carried mail across to Europe and the Caribbean.
Next we crossed the river to Flushing where we saw some impressive waterside homes close up and heard about their interesting history. We were enchanted by the gorgeous thatched roofs and pretty gardens of these large riverside properties.
We took in the sights of St Mawes Castle, perched majestically on the banks of the river, originally an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII in the 1500s. Pendennis Castle was built for protection against the invasion from France and the Roman Empire, nestled on the riverbank at the mouth of the River Fal. Our voyage took us on past the historic Falmouth Docks, which have been an integral part of the port for over a century, before returning to the Maritime Museum.
The Coastal Communities Fund are kindly funding the National Maritime Museum Historic Boat Tours for the next two years. If you're staying in Falmouth or on the south coast, we would recommend exploring the National Maritime Museum in the morning, where you'll find 15 galleries, the Titanic Stories exhibition, the Tidal Zone, the Look Out Tower and much more.
After spending a few hours in the museum, why not treat yourselves to a spot of lunch at the Waterside Cafe, which has breathtaking views across the River Fal, before embarking on a Heritage Tour on Jonik in the afternoon?
The Heritage Tours are taking place from July until the 15th of September, running daily at 12:30pm, 2pm and again at 3.30pm. Tickets cost £20 each, or £12 for under 18's. Those who have an annual passport for the museum can grab a ticket for just £15 (or £10 for under 18's).
You can find out more about the National Maritime Museum Cornwall's Heritage Boat Tours here >