Falmouth is well-known for its interesting shops, cafes and restaurants, and its sandy beaches are always popular. But this maritime town also has a variety of hidden delights that will keep families coming back all year round.
Nanny Pat, Wilf and Megan often visit Falmouth. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities on offer, there’s always something to do, making it a great choice for those ‘in between’ days. Here are their top recommendations for things to do and places to visit.
Kimberley Park is one of Wilf and Megan’s favourite places to play. While it’s loved by locals, it’s rarely discovered by visitors, even though it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the town centre.
There gardens at Kimberley Park date back to the 19th century and are named after the Earl of Kimberley, who leased the parks to the Borough of Falmouth. If you’re visiting Falmouth with kids, it’s a great place to stop for a run around or a picnic when the weather’s nice. With seven acres, there’s plenty of space for everyone to play.
A new £200,000 play-space was opened in December 2012. It’s made mostly from wood and is certainly a a playground with a difference – imaginatively designed with plenty of structures for climbing, balancing, swinging, sliding and jumping.
Kimberley Park is free to visit all year round, and dogs on a lead are welcome.
Getting there: The gardens are around 5-10 minutes’ walk from the town centre, although you can usually find on-street parking in the streets nearby outside the main season.
Falmouth Art Gallery
Falmouth is renowned for its automata makers, and there’s an interesting collection housed in the Falmouth Art Gallery. Megan is fascinated by them, and often asks if she can go back and see at them. Automata are non-electronic moving machines, often designed look like humans or animals. By winding the leaver, you can make them move.
The gallery also runs free workshops, including some aimed at family groups and toddlers. There are drop-in family workshops on Saturdays from 2-3 pm. Each week there’s different activity on offer, and you download their programme of events in advance.
The gallery is open Mon – Sat, 10am-5pm, and admission is free.
Getting there: Falmouth Art Gallery is located in the centre of Falmouth in the Municipal Buildings above the Library. There are two car parks nearby plus on-street parking.
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall
While the National Maritime Museum Cornwall is well-known, what you might not know is how much they offer for families: it’s full of things for kids to see, touch, and try out. Their current main exhibition, ‘Search and Rescue’, is an interactive exploration of the role of the maritime rescue services. Wilf loved the chance to climb inside the 70ft Sea King helicopter and dress up as a pilot, while Megan tried out being a lifeguard.
Apart from the exhibitions, they also have a range of children’s activities (see the website for more details) including Museum Minnows, an hour of creative play, stories and craft activities for under-fives, and Minnows’ Tales, a half-hour session of stories, songs and rhymes every Monday morning during term-time. There’s no need to book, and the sessions are included in the admission price.
Admission: Adults £11.00, Children (0-5) Free, Children (6-15) £7.60, Seniors £9.00, Family £31.00. Your ticket is valid for a year, so you can visit as many times as you like while you’re down in Cornwall on holiday.
Getting there: You can park right outside the Maritime Musuem (postcode for Sat Navs: TR11 3QY), and it’s few minutes’ walk from the Falmouth Town train station.
Nanny Pat’s top tip: “For lunch or an afternoon snack, try Gylly Beach Café. It’s fantastic for families and is right on a sandy beach – great for running around, building sandcastles and paddling or swimming when it’s warm enough.”
For more information on things to do in and around Falmouth, maps and travel information, take a look at the excellent town website. If you find any other places in Falmouth you think families would enjoy, post a comment below or let us know and we’ll share them.