What To Do Near The Ship & Castle

Plenty To See And Do

With its impressive historic castle set right on the coast, St Mawes is a popular destination for walkers, photographers and foodies, as well as families looking for a central base for exploring beautiful Cornwall.

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St Mawes is a quaint coastal town where traditional sailing and fishing boats can be seen moored in the harbour, and larger boats offer short, 20-minute ferry crossings across the Fal Estuary to the fascinating heritage town of Falmouth.

Whitewashed buildings and former fisherman’s cottages line the water’s edge, rubbing shoulders with famous hotels such as The Ship & Castle, which have become part of the landscape in this charming, time-forgotten Cornish haven.

As you’d expect from a Cornish town renowned for its fishing heritage, St Mawes has more than enough food outlets to satisfy hungry holidaymakers. Homely pubs stand beside seafood restaurants, and bakeries selling freshly-made breads and traditional Cornish pasties. The town has retained a strong fishing industry, and fish shops by the quay are stocked with freshly-caught seafood from the local waters. Various providers also offer fishing trips by boat, allowing you to catch your own fish and to view scenic local surroundings.

The coastal views are breath-taking, and typically Cornish. Watch out for playful dolphins frolicking close to shore, and small boats passing beyond the horizon. No coastal destination comes close to Cornwall in sheer natural beauty, and nowhere is this more evident than St Mawes.

With a mild climate and plenty of sunshine, St Mawes is the perfect choice for year-round holidays.

Sit back and relax on the sand, pebble and shingle beaches which dot Cornwall’s wild, heritage coastline, or hire a kayak and paddle up the calm waters of the Percuil River, marvelling at the beauty of its banks. The south Cornish coast is renowned for its excellent water sports, so why not try your hand at surfing, scuba diving or coasteering?

Meanwhile, local history comes in the form of St Mawes Castle, a spectacular English Heritage Site which has become one of the most famous landmarks in Cornwall. Enjoy a guided tour of this clover-shaped fortress, once home to Henry VIII’s coastal battery. The castle grounds include subtropical gardens that stretch to the Fal Estuary, and provide the perfect place for a picnic on a sunny afternoon.

Find out more about what to see and do during a hotel stay in St Mawes below.

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Idles Beach

Idles beach is situated in an ideal location in the centre of St Mawes. You can also visit nearby local shops for an ice cream or pasty.

Cafe Chandlers

This local café is a gem in St Mawes, and is in a perfect location on the quay. They use locally-sourced goods, and will provide you with wonderful fresh coffee and cakes while you watch the world go by.

Lost Garden of Heligan

Typical of the 19th century, these gardens are full of hidden gems, such as giant statues, rope bridges, and the famous pineapple pit.

Truro Cathedral

Situated in the heart of Cornwall, this exquisite cathedral is home to some of the biggest and most elaborate examples of stained glass windows in the world. An absolute must-see for history lovers.

St. Mawes Castle

By far the most prominent attraction in St Mawes, the castle is part of the fortifications of Falmouth, once used to protect the Cornish coast from foreign invaders, pirates and smugglers.

The castle was used heavily in the English Civil War, but was actually built much earlier, and was home to Henry VIII’s southern artillery provision. It’s the sister of Pendennis Castle on the other side of the Fal Estuary, and from each you can see the other. The grounds are lovely, perfect for a summer picnic, and the audio tour is the best way to learn about the castle and its history.

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Lamorran House Gardens

The Lamorran Gardens were created in 1982, and include a stunning collection of both native and tropical plants.

Japanese and Mediterranean cultures have played a part in the development of the gardens, and you’ll see various water features and a well-stocked koi pond. The garden offers a wonderful sensory experience, with bright colours and unusual floral scents. You can see the harbour at certain points, and will be able to view a variety of statues and rock formations as you take a relaxing stroll through the site.

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St. Anthony’s Lighthouse

People born in the 1970s and 1980s will probably have seen St Anthony’s Lighthouse many times before – yet they might not know it.

The famous lighthouse, which dates from the mid-19th century, regularly featured in the children’s TV show Fraggle Rock. It’s still used today to warn fisherman of the cliffs, though it’s now fully automatic, requiring no live-in lighthouse keeper.

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National Maritime Museum

On the edge of Falmouth Harbour, the National Maritime Museum celebrates life on the sea, and the dangers fishermen have faced throughout history.

This is the world’s largest maritime museum, containing a variety of exhibits and interactive displays providing information about working on the sea, and living beside it. You can learn about lighthouses, and the important roles they’ve played throughout history, and can see galleries of art from local, national and international artists, all inspired by the world’s powerful and beautiful oceans and seas.

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The Eden Project

Once described as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the Eden Project is an internationally-renowned Cornish attraction, welcoming millions of visitors every year.

Vast glass biomes house an extensive tropical garden, with rainforest biomes and an aerial walkway allowing for majestic views across the unique site. As well as being a wonderful garden attraction, the Eden Project is popular among art enthusiasts thanks to its raft of fascinating sculptures, and its calendar of art exhibits at ‘The Core’. During a visit, thrill-seekers can ride one of the UK’s longest zip wires, which transports you over the top of the biomes. There’s also a calendar of cultural events, from music concerts to theatre productions. 

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