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Walks in and around Falmouth

There’s a host of things to see and do in and around the picture-perfect, waterside town of Falmouth, with walking being the ultimate trend du jour. Fantastic paths and wildly beautiful trails offer ultra exhilarating exploration for locals and visitors alike. 

The headland at Swanpool, one of the many lovely walks in and around Falmouth

The benefit of the area’s myriad of lanes, footpaths and walkways is that you can set your own itinerary and agenda to suit, whether you wish to sightsee along the seaside, walk from beach to beach, stumble across a garden or two, or venture into the hinterland’s hidden greenery.

Coastal walks are a particularly captivating way to blast away the cobwebs and take in some sea air. With a host of routes available, take your pick from popular beachside routes in the town, Roseland Peninsula walks to the St Mawes headland and adventure further afield to Trelissick, Helford and Trefusis, where you’ll find paths to suit all walkers.

The South West Coast Path is a world-famous walk that crosses the Fal Estuary, veering both east and west and guaranteeing unparalleled views of the bay, river and accompanying coastline, making it a definite to-do. From the impossibly quaint Portloe and The Roseland Heritage Coast on the eastern side of Falmouth to the stunning Helford River and further west to Flushing and Coverack, this section of the South West Coast Path takes in some spellbindingly scenic sights.

Meanwhile, a trio of treasure trails along the river present varying degrees of difficulty and distance and include the Roseland Ranger, Fal River Challenge and Smugglers Trail. Kids will love solving the clues to find their treasure at the end of a very exciting sightseeing expedition.

In short, Falmouth is a hiker’s paradise for all visitors to the area. Here are a few of our favourite walks...

Falmouth Town Trail

The bustling Falmouth highstreet with bunting having colourfully above the cobbled street

Best for cobbled explorations

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.5 miles
Type of walk: Circular

Navigate your way around town on foot for a fabulous foray into walking in Falmouth. Set off in the centre and take in the townscapes, from the docklands and National Maritime Museum (where our live webcam is located on the lookout tower) to the array of independent shops and café culture. For an extra workout, head to the Moor and tackle the towering 111 steps of Jacob’s Ladder before pausing, taking in the view and descending back into the town.

Extend your walk by weaving your way round the Pendennis Headland, which takes in the scenic sights of Falmouth Docks and Pendennis Castle. The 2.5-mile walk starts at Custom House Quay before winding past the docks toward Pendennis Point, affording a plethora of show-stopping panoramas. If you want all the inside info on Falmouth, you can book a walking tour with Falmouth Uncovered. Starting in Discovery Quay, you'll learn all about Falmouth's rich history as you tour the town with your knowledgeable guide.

Falmouth Seafront Promenade & Beach Walk

The white sands of Gylly beach in Falmouth

Best for gentle seaside wanderings

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1-2 miles+
Type of walk: Linear

Start at Cliff Road (or join the walk from anywhere on the Pendennis Headland) to take in Falmouth’s seafront and sandy stretches that begin with the gorgeous Castle and Gyllyngvase Beaches. You’ll find plenty of facilities including toilets and cafes, while if you wish to loiter a little longer at Gyllyngvase and try an activity, the resident Gylly Adventures provide everything from wetsuit, kayak and paddleboard hire to coasteering sessions.

Refresh in style at Gylly Beach Café before venturing slightly further west by following the coast path to Swanpool Beach, where you’ll be rewarded with a picturesque cove and pretty lake to stroll around. There’s also a beach café and beach hire, while further up the hill you’ll find Hooked On the Rocks – the perfect place for a glass of something chilled while you gaze out at those sublime sea views. Should you wish to discover yet another stunning beach, then Maenporth is located another two miles along the coast path. Here, sheltered white sands and azure waters invite visitors to sit while lapping up the expansive bay-wide views to Pendennis Castle and the lighthouse on St Anthony Head. Spoil yourself with dinner at award-winning restaurant, The Cove.

Rosemullion Head Circular Walk

A bird's eye view of the maze at Glendurgan Gardens

Best for nature lovers

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.9 miles
Type of walk: Circular

Starting from Mawnan Church, this jaw-dropping route treats walkers to a series of scenic sights replete with natural beauty. You’ll take in hidden coves, the exquisite Helford Estuary and the staggering vistas and submarine gardens at Rosemullion Head, along with a smattering of wildflowers during the spring and summer months; while autumn provides the perfect time for a quiet spot of seabird watching.

Make a stop-off at the National Trust’s glorious Glendurgan Gardens, or take a detour from the wooded valley for Mawnan Smith (for the Red Lion pub) and Carwinion Gardens to admire the bamboo, camellias and rhododendrons. Onward to Rosemullion Head you’ll pass Gatamala and Bream Coves, which link up at low tide and provide a sublime picnic or siesta spot. Look west to spy the southernmost tip of The Lizard as you approach Rosemullion Head, at the base of which you’ll see the twin shipwrecks of The Endeavour and the Alma. Alternatively, stroll to the top for the most majestic easterly views toward Dodman Point, St Anthony Head and St Mawes.

St Anthony Head Walk

The lighthouse at St Anthony Head in Cornwall

Best for a casual coastal stroll

Difficulty: Easy-moderate
Distance: 4/6 miles+
Type of walk: Circular

Depending on where you start (the car park at St Anthony Head or the Place ferry landing stage), this particular route can be shortened or extended to suit. The path is awash with eye candy, from Cellars Beach and Great and Little Molunan Beaches to pretty meadows, panoramic Fal Estuary views and landmarks like Manacles Point, St Mawes and Carrick Roads.

A bounty of birdlife (shags, gulls, fulmars and even peregrine falcons) can be seen alongside historical features such as the Elizabethan building of Place House, military remains, and battery observation post. Continue on the coast path past Porthmellon Head to Towan Beach via Killegerran Head, where gorgeous views of Gerrans Bay can be enjoyed for an additional 6 miles of prime walking estate.

Penryn to Perranwell Walk

Bluebells underneath a tree in Cornwall, one of the many lovely walks around Falmouth

Best for countryside excursions 

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 5 miles
Type of walk: Linear

Explore the dreamy Enys Estate (and its soul-stirring bluebell meadows if you time it right) during this cross-country route that takes you on various tracks and rural roads inland.

Refresh at the Norway Inn in Perranarworthal before seeking out the church and St Piran’s well: a sacred place hidden amongst lush ferns and giant gunnera that whispers pure magic. If you fancy another break, The Royal Oak is a short uphill stroll away, and further into the village the Millennium path will lead you directly to the station.

Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast Trail

Looking out across the harbour at Portreath with its golden beach

Best for a longer trek

Difficulty: Moderate-difficult
Distance: 11 miles
Type of walk: Linear

Venture slightly off-course and inland to walk the Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast trail from the harbour village of Portreath to the creek-side village of Devoran. It passes through a diverse range of habitats and landscapes, from the Atlantic fishing port on the north through woodland, valleys, nature reserves, and mining landscapes to the picture-postcard pretty harbour village on the south coast.

Tracking through Cornwall’s World Heritage Site mining heartland, the network of routes can be cycled or walked, allowing both serious amblers and families to relish the historic route. As well as the variety of natural sights to behold, the route is chock with places to stop, refresh, wildlife- and people watch to your heart’s content.

Mylor and Restronguet Creeks Circular Walk

Looking out over the water and up at the fields at Restronguet Creek in Cornwall

Best for peace and quiet 

Difficulty: Easy-moderate
Distance: 5 miles
Type of walk: Circular

Wind your way around creeks, hills and fields for a picturesque walk through some of Falmouth’s most sense-stirring surrounds. Starting at Mylor Bridge, the path ascends to Restronguet Barton and down the hill to the renowned and multi award winning 13th century treasure that is, the Pandora Inn: a spectacular thatched waterside pub serving local food and drink alongside breath-taking creek-side views.

If you can steal yourself away for a stint of more walking, the route lines the creek edge to Weir Point and back to Mylor Creek and Bridge where you first began. You’ll pass pretty houses, plenty of wildflowers, oyster beds, blossoming blackthorns, and grey herons gracefully swooping along the shoreline.

Percuil River Walk

Looking across Percuil River at a white cottage

Best for pic 'n' mix scenery

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3 miles
Type of walk: Circular

A Percuil River walk presents the very best of the Roseland Peninsula, leading you past ocean, coast path, farmland, woodland and estuary all during one staggeringly scenic stroll.

From Porth car park, the route ambles to Towan Beach and on to the hamlet of Bohortha before crossing farmland, woodland and – finally – opening up to riverscapes along the oh-so pretty Percuil and Froe Creek, with the added bonus of views across to St Mawes and wildlife aplenty on the mudflats. 

Ready to discover this magical town and its surrounds on foot? Peruse our cottages in Falmouth, and cottages in Cornwall for an unforgettable walking holiday.

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