Falmouth Harbour

Beach facilities

View map of beach Parking available Toilets available South West Coast Path Dog friendly

Season: autumn

Between 1689 and the middle of the 19th Century, all international mail passed through this small inner harbour at Falmouth, before the age of steam took the trade away.  Outbound mail came from London, first by horse and then by mail coach.  It was then transported on packet ships, chartered by the Post Office.  Inbound mail would include vital and often secret intelligence.  There was a low tide for this visit, revealing the full length of the fixed ladders used to come ashore at Custom House Quay.  In its heyday, 3,000 ships a year passed through Falmouth.  Now it’s a leisure port, busy in a new, different way.

Autumn visit photo gallery


Emma and Matt appreciate the changing nature of the harbour.


The inner harbour at Falmouth, in the morning light.

Season: summer

The inner harbour at Falmouth resonates with history.  Since the late 17th Century, jolly boats have brought sea captains ashore here, from the big ships in the outer harbour and Carrick Roads.  Here is the harbour master’s office, the Custom House with its “King’s Pipe”, used to burn contraband tobacco, plus the Quayside Inn and Chain Locker pub, right by the quayside.  It could have inspired many a scene from Patrick O’ Brian’s Aubrey / Maturin series of historical novels.

Summer visit photo gallery


Heidi’s family values at the beach.


Julian’s wary attitude to the beach.


The inner harbour in Falmouth, a historical timepiece.

Season: summer

A bright sun and blue skies greeted me for this early evening summer re-visit to the old inner harbour at Falmouth.  The tide was high and visitors thronged the pubs and walkways by the water. The evening light set the marina, docks and Events Square in fine relief, showcasing the National Maritime Museum and its small boats collection, some of which were moored outside on its pontoon. The town has an international buzz, a great destination at any time of the year.  Highly recommended.

Summer visit photo gallery


A lifetime of beach associations for Issie and Molly.


Early evening in the summer, by the inner harbour at Falmouth.

Season: spring

A bright, clear morning lit the high tide at Falmouth’s old inner harbour, reflecting the Chain Locker and other buildings on Custom House Quay.  If you were to look across the water to Flushing, via the outer harbour moorings, you might sense a seasonal change, the morning mild and full of promise.

Spring visit photo gallery


Alan’s guide to Falmouth’s beaches.


The inner harbour at Falmouth, in the morning.

Season: spring

The dawn light on the harbour at Falmouth caught the high tide at Custom House Quay.  Gulls were circling territorially and the town was waking up.  I met and was sketched by illustrator Derek, by the National Maritime Museum.  Falmouth looks out to the Western Approaches and the world beyond, benefiting from the constant ebb and flow of visitors to its harbour and town.

Just before dawn at Falmouth harbour

…and just after dawn


The inner harbour in Falmouth at dawn.


With visiting illustrator Derek, in Falmouth for a conference.

Season: winter

A night-time visit to manonabeach’s favourite town in Cornwall.  The inner harbour at Falmouth is steeped in history, where the jolly boats and pilot gigs would muster to collect and deposit sea captains, who were visiting the town.  Falmouth and Penryn are now a hub for young, creative talent in the county, since many students from Falmouth University are choosing to stay on and set up businesses in this area.  The town is cosmopolitan and vibrant, with a thriving docks, a marina and a new media community.


My chat with Amy outside the Chain Locker pub, by the old harbour in Falmouth.


The inner harbour at Falmouth, on a January evening.

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