St Mawes is the companion of Pndennis Castle on the eastern side of Carrick Roads
Like its partner it was built to defend Carrick roads, however it is sited much lower, which is good for targeting shipping, but not so defensible from landward attack. When attacked during the civil war it surrendered quickly, whereas Pendennis held out for 6 months.
St Mawes is one of the finest examples of Tudor military architecture (especially as unlike Pendennis is has not changed markedly since Tudor times) and is much smaller than Pendennis, being built on a clover leaf pattern. It is also quite decorative with some fine carved stone.
Excellent site for a picnic, there is a small shop
There is not so much to do as at Pendennis so make it a day trip. Take the ferry from Falmouth and visit the castle, then the village of St Mawes. If you have a boat this is a good opportunity to explore the Percuil River
The village is a typically Cornish village with some nice pubs (esp The Victory), gift shops, two south-facing beaches on either side of the harbour.
Beware of seagulls - don't feed them! Your kids will get divebombed if they walk around the streets with food in their hands near people feeding them
Other short trips by ferry to St Anthony's Head lighthouse, Lamorra Gardens (bautiful sub-tropical), and also a good base for coastal walks
St Just in Roseland
A wonderful subtropical garden surrounds a 13th century church in this Cornish hamlet set off a tidal creek on the Percuil river. There are camellias and rhododendrons, together with a rich variety of rare tropical plants
Can be very romantic, good for couples or a Mum and Dad day out, perhaps not so good for kids - although they will enjoy the walk and exploring the churchyard
The path from the road to the Church is lined with granite blocks carved with quotations and verses taken from the Bible and is very steep so you are actualy looking down at the Church
Visiting a castle can seem a bit worthy and dull, but it is surprisingly good fun, even for quite small children
Pendennis Castle commands the entrance into Carrick Roads - the 3rd largest natural harbour in the world. It dates back to Tudor times, with the main fortifications being built by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. However, this being SW Britain there have been periodic invasion threats ever since and the site was expanded and amended in Napoleonic times and WW1/2
Interestingly, although originally built to defend against invasion, the only time the Castle was attacked was during the civil war when it was a royalist stronghold (in fact only one place held out longer for Charles I,and the seige lasted over 6 months). This is in part why everything is in such excellent condition - no war damage!
There is a good Discovery centre which follows the whole history of the castle (the WW2 info is particulary interesting), there are turrents and ramparts to explore in the keep (steps very steep for small children), and stunning views from the top. There are often renactments in the keep, and displays in the grounds (for example military vehicles on D Day anniversary weekend). On the curtain walls there are cannons to climb on and the WW2 gun emplacements, complete with plotting room and ammuntion stores.
A good site for a picnic on a sunny day (it is always windy though, so be prepared to wrap up smaller children) and the cafe is quite reasonable
A nice break from the beach - ideal for a dull morning before (as often seems to happen) the sun breaks through in the afternoon and you can hit the beach
The Museum is open seven days a week. Closed Christmas day & Boxing day.
Opening hours are from 10 - 5pm
From 19 February 2003, the following admission prices apply:
Adults ? 5.90
Seniors (persons 60 or over) ? 3.90
Students (valid NUS,ISU card) ? 3.90
Children (5 - 15 yrs) ? 3.90
If you are lucky when you visit this museum, you may come when volunteers are overhauling small boats that they have salvaged around Cornwall. There is detailed and interesting history about where the boats came from and pictures that show the original state that they found in.
Children Under 5 free free
Family - 2 Adults and up to 3 children (5 ? 15yrs) ? 15.50
We actually ended up here for 5 hours. The problem was that the car park in the immediate vacinity of the museum is only a short term carpark, maximum waiting time of 3 hours (cost ?2.10). You can leave the museum and then return, just make surre that you get your ticket stamped on the way out.
We were told that there is a long term car park but that it was a walk between it and the museum.
The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
The National Maritime Museum sits on Falmouth harbour front. It contains the history of small boats and Cornish maritime history. Do not expect large ships to be here, just boats, canoes and sailing yachts, yet what a wealth of information can be found at this place.
The museum also has a viewing tower. I took the picture of Falmouth Harbour from the top of it but there is something just as interesting at its base.
The base of the tower is built into the seabed and has windows through which you can watch any sealife that happens to amble by.
We saw lots of small fish, one large fish, a crab and alongside the edges of the window, we spotted some shrimp.
The windows are triangular in shape due to the fact that the base of the window has to withstand a pressure of 5 tonnes per m2. Higher up the window, the pressure is less, so the window can be wider. The window is made up of 4 layers of glass, bonded together to form a thickness of 80mm.
The gallery is designed to be fully underwater at high spring tide and completely out of the water at low spring tide. If you are here long enough, you can actually see the water rise or lower, depending upon the tide at the time of your visit.
The museum does not just contain static displays of boats. There are many interactive displays that show how the weather is formed, how a river can affect a boat as it travels across the flow and many other things that will entertain kids and adults alike.
This is the first display that you will encounter when you visit the museum. It looks complicated until you realise that each boat on view is a replica of a true sailing ship and that you can access information about each individaul boat, giving details of who built it and when. It must have taken absolute hours building these models, something that I would never have the patience to do..
It is a nice town to walk around and do a bit of shopping. In the harbour you can take a ferry to the island St. Mawes. I don't recommend it when the weather is bad but otherwise it is a nice trip. It is a small island, not that much to do but just nice to have a look around.