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48 hours in Falmouth

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Cornish surf style meets creative cool in Falmouth, with some quirky food and drink treasures thrown in, discovers Kathryn Lewis. Catch you at the harbour, shipmates!

Oliver's Falmouth

Day one:

Late arrivals 5pm

Whether you’re navigating Cornwall’s circuit of country lanes by car or arriving in the historic harbour by boat, we’d recommend rocking up on Friday afternoon so you’ve plenty of time to drink in the luscious views from your balcony at The Greenbank Hotel.

Friday feeling 7pm

Freshened up and ready to take on Falmouth, secure your sea legs with a couple of signature cocktails at the nautical chic bar before making the short stroll into town.
Savvy foodies will have a table reserved at Oliver’s, a pocket-sized restaurant where chef patron Ken Symons crafts fine dining dishes using the best of the Cornish larder. If you can’t secure one of the 28 seats, try your luck at the equally snug The Wheel House on Upton Slip. Specialising in fresh seafood cooked sans fuss, the team are big on banter while the wine offering goes as far as red or white. We like simple.

Day two:

Good vibes only 10am

Can it be considered a holiday if brunch doesn’t consist of something carby smothered in syrup? Clearly not. The BCM (bacon, cream cheese and maple syrup bagel) at Good Vibes Cafe on Killigrew Street certainly hits the spot, while the GV brekkie – Cornish sausages, smoked streaky bacon, homebrew beans, basil roasted tomatoes and free-range eggs – will keep savoury seekers sweet.

Get out of town 12pm

Escape the hubbub and make a break for nearby Gyllyngvase Beach where a spot on Gylly Beach Cafe’s sun-kissed terrace is worth fighting for. In the kitchen, head chef Dale McIntosh styles Cornish staples into Instagram stars; try the roasted mackerel and squid burger in a squid ink bun, or the slow-cooked beef brisket hash.
For more sandy vistas and lip-smacking seafood, head to Hooked on the Rocks just around the corner. Piscatorial platters and a Cornish tapas line-up thrill seafood lovers at this casual dining spot. Carry on skirting the Cornish coast and you’ll reach the quiet(er) Maenporth Beach and The Cove, where late afternoon drinks are a must – the prix fixe menu is also fabulous value.

Tipsy afternoon tea 4pm

A traditional tea room that morphs into a Twenties inspired gin bar after hours, Dolly’s Tea Room on Church Street is a culinary mash-up we could get on board with. Serving fluffy scones and stacked crab sarnies by day and shaking signature cocktails with homemade syrups by night, visit mid-afternoon for the best of both worlds. We recommend the Vicar’s Tea: all the afternoon tea greats served with a gin-laced cocktail tea pot.

Indecisive dining 7pm

Falmouth is famous for its foodie creds so you won’t be short of edible inspiration when it comes to dinner à deux. For fragrant Asian seafood curries and Stein’s signature fish and chips, saunter down to Rick Stein’s Fish next to the Maritime Museum. Or check out The Stable’s Falmouth joint for crispy sourdough pizza and a bonzer board of artisan ciders.

Nest for the night 11pm

For a real dose of Cornwall cool, book one of the Star & Garter’s two newly renovated bedrooms and spend an evening above the contemporary inn. Both boudoirs harbour unrivalled views of the water and an open plan kitchen and living space. If you’re more into classic British grandeur than Instagram goals, luxuriate in the gold standard service and high quality cooking at The Royal Duchy Hotel which overlooks the sea on Cliff Road.

Roast dinner

Day three:

Sunday ‘spros 10am

Start your final foray in Falmouth with an expertly crafted flat white – and a slice of something naughty if last night’s antics call for carbs – at Espressini on Killigrew Street. The crack team of baristas are clued up on all things speciality so don’t be afraid to grill them on the latest guest beans.

Roast rituals 1pm

Make an encore at the w Star & Garter for their epic Sunday lunch. Blushed sirloin beef, crispy duck fat roasties, monstrous Yorkshire puds, a rainbow of seasonal veg and a couple of bottles of fabulous plonk? We’ll see you there.

The beer that cried wolf 3pm

Mull over the day’s indulgences with a local craft ale and a new page-turner at Beerwolf Books on Bell Court. Part pub, part bookshop, it harbours plenty of cosy crannies in which to settle down with your favourite author.

Also try

Fistral Beach

All-day-eggs, avo and more sourdough than you can shake a bottle of Sriracha at, the brunch trend is hitting the South West, big-time

Water's Edge restaurant

Falmouth isn’t short of phenomenal vantage points, yet the views at the Water’s Edge Restaurant are arguably some of the best, observes Kathryn Lewis