Draw a lungful of fresh sea air during a break among the beaches and history of Falmouth, on the south coast of Cornwall. A harbour town on the River Fal, summer crowds flock here to explore sandy beaches, to discover castles and to lick ice-creams and paddle in the waves.
An important harbour, being the third largest of its kind in the world, life in Falmouth revolves around the water, from the surfers and the fishermen, to the boats laden with day-trippers and the yachts that bob merrily on the sea.
Being a popular holiday spot, hotels in Falmouth are in good supply for a town of its size. And you'll find plenty of attractive options, with many gorgeous Georgian townhouses taking on a new life as small waterfront hotels in the town centre.
Also in the central area of Falmouth is a great selection of independent, family-run hotels, with good facilities, restful rooms, and great breakfasts with which to kick start the day. Don't expect to find the well-known chains in Falmouth itself as all hotels are locally run and managed.
The long stretch of coastline around Falmouth Bay also hosts a number of grand luxury hotels. Surrounded by perfectly-groomed grounds and providing a great white backdrop to lovely beaches, these Falmouth hotels are beacons of comfort and old-fashioned hospitality, and provide the perfect setting for a Cornish cream tea (remember, when in Cornwall, it's jam on the scone followed by the clotted cream).
The countryside surrounding Falmouth is the place to look for manor-house treasures and lodge-style hotels, in areas such as Budock Water and Mawnan Smith. While not always convenient for accessing the town centre (if you don't have your own transport), these country hotels are luxurious and offer enough amenities and activities to keep everyone occupied for hours. If you do have your own transport, then Newquay is only 47 minutes away in the car.
For a beach-based break, stay near the sands of Castle Beach, in the town, or at one of the area's other fine beaches which run south from Pendennis Castle towards Mawnan. These include Gyllyngvase Beach, Swanpool Beach and Maenporth Beach, which is a sandy cove two miles from Falmouth town centre.
Top five attractions
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Discover the beauty of Cornwall and its life on the waves at this fascinating museum, which is guaranteed to fill a day. See a simulated lifeboat rescue, ascend the lookout tower and check out underwater creatures.
Built by Henry VIII to help defend the nation against European invaders, this castle allows a glimpse into Tudor life.
A boat and bus in one; see Falmouth from the land and the sea aboard this unique form of transportation.
Just one of a lovely selection of public gardens in and around Falmouth, Gyllyngdune features a great family play area that hosts summer activities.
Or, The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, this venue in Church Street is home to a variety of music, film, theatre, dance and comedy performances.
Sea Shanty Festival; June: The traditional music and performances of Cornwall's coastline are brought to a wide audience at a number of venues in early summer.
Falmouth Week Festival; August: A sailing regatta and carnival, this is a fun-packed family event that attracts big crowds; book hotels early to avoid disappointment.
Falmouth Oyster Festival; October: Tuck into a local delicacy at the start of the harvest. The event also features cookery demonstrations and a range of performances.