Walk - Ship and Castle Hotel - Falmouth Packet Walk

2.0 miles (3.2 km)

Custom House Quay, Falmouth Custom House Quay, Falmouth

Easy -

In 1688 Falmouth was appointed as the Royal Mail packet station, using swift and lightly-armed ships to carry mail and messages to all corners of the Empire, and the service remained based in the town until 1850, when the reliability of the new steamships operating from London took over from the romance of the sailing vessels in England's second port. This gentle stroll around the town links some of the important landmarks around the time of the packet ships.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Falmouth Lodge

Falmouth Lodge is a simple home with two rooms available for short stays. You are welcome to prepare your own breakfast in our kitchen

Braganza B&B

Stunning views of the harbour and bay from our Regency home. The perfect base to explore locally. Ample parking, free wifi, style and elegance.

Tresooth Cottages

16 Cornish stone cottages with pool, sauna & hot tubs

Budock Vean Hotel

On a quiet bend of the Helford River, you will find the award winning 4 star Budock Vean Hotel. 49 hotel rooms, contemporary holiday homes and self catering cottages.

Trevarn B&B

Comfortable B&B. Convenient to Coast Path and excellent village amenities. A warm welcome awaits.

Cornwall Plus - Penryn Campus

Affordable University Rooms, Simple, economy, campus summer accommodation for groups, couples and individual travellers in the heart of Cornwall. On-site bus stops.

Come-to-Good Farm

Luxury shepherd's hut, campsite and ensuite barn available to rent on our idyllic sheep farm in between Truro and Falmouth. Pub within walking distance.

On the Helford River B&B

Comfortable, stylish accommodation close to the Path with beautiful views & garden, breakfast and nearby local pub.. Email [email protected]

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Flapjackery Falmouth

Stop off and treat yourself or stock up for your trip along the Path with these delicious, award winning, gluten free flapjacks in a variety of flavours.

The Boathouse

Licenced cafe in the centre of Portscatho, serving locally sourced home cooked food.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Fal River Visitor Information Centre

Find all the information you need to enjoy the beautiful Fal river section of the SW Coast Path and buy boat tickets tickets t

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Nestled by Falmouth’s deep-water harbour discover National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Across 15 galleries, explore the overwhelming influence of the sea on our history and culture.

Glendurgan Garden, National Trust

Stroll down through the peaceful, exotic and playful valley to a sheltered beach at the bottom. This distinctive garden was created by Alfred and Sarah Fox in the 1820s.

Koru Kayaking - Helford River and creeks

2 hour Stunning Guided Kayak and Paddleboard Adventures along the Helford River and Frenchman's Creek from the Budock Vean Hotel foreshore. All equipment provided.

Helford River Boats

Cross Helford Passage on this 1,000 year old ferry trip. Boat/Kayak hire also available..

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

From the hotel walk along the Quay and take the St Mawes Foot Ferry to Custom House Quay, Falmouth. If the ferry timetable means that it lands instead at the Prince of Wales pier, just pick up the walk at point 10.

  1. From the Custom House Quay, turn left along Arwenack Street and continue ahead, passing Swanpool Street and then the National Maritime Museum.

Falmouth was stoutly Royalist in the English Civil War, and the Parish Church was dedicated by Charles II to his father, Charles the Martyr, in gratitude for this support. Built in 1663, the church was remodelled in 1898.

Sir Peter Killigrew built Falmouth's quays in 1670. The red brick chimney beside the entrance is the King's Pipe, used by customs officers to burn confiscated contraband tobacco.

Opposite the Maritime Museum, Grove Place was  named after a grove of elm trees, now gone, where Martin Lister Killigrew first sited his monument – the tall granite pyramid by the car park – in 1737. He left strict instructions that the monument should never bear an inscription.

Arwenack House was the home of Falmouth's founders, the Killigrew family, after they had acquired the estate through marriage in 1403. Rebuilt in 1567, it was destroyed by fire during the Civil War and reconstructed in its present form.

  1. Keep on ahead as Arwenack Street becomes Avenue Road, bearing right at the roundabout.
  2. Turn right on Arwenack Avenue, carrying on ahead at the end to go between the stone pillars and on to Swanpool Street, turning right here.

Originally Arwenack Avenue, the main access to Arwenack House, stretched further south and the Killigrews called it the 'Long Walk'. In 1737, after the family had left, the avenue was used as a ropewalk, where strands of hemp were twisted together to make ropes for the ships. To the west of the avenue, Grovehill House was built in 1789 by the prosperous Fox family, who were responsible for establishing the Quaker movement in Falmouth.

  1. Turn left onto New Street.

The Quaker Meeting House, at the top of Quay Hill, was built in 1805 on the site of an old water mill. The Quaker Burial Ground was located behind it before being removed to the outskirts of town.

  1. At the end of New Street turn left up the steps by the car park onto Gyllyng Street, turning right at the top.
  2. Fork left onto Vernon Place, and then take the long flight of steps down to Falmouth Moor, coming out beside the Methodist Church.

The former Synagogue, now a studio and private residences, was built in 1806, replacing the first synagogue erected near Fish Strand in 1776. The building opposite was the poor house until the new Poor Laws in 1830 brought the construction of a 'Union' workhouse on the western edge of the parish in 1851: an innovation bitterly opposed because it separated more than 100 children from their parents.

The 111 steps of Jacob's Ladder were built by businessman Jacob Hamblen to enable him to access some of his properties, at the top, from his business below. The Packet Memorial was built in 1898, after a public subscription raised almost £300 to commemorate the service.

  1. Turn right on Killigrew Street to return to Market Strand. EITHER turn left, and head along High Street past the Prince of Wales Pier and Victoria Quay and then along Dunster Terrace to reach the Greenbank Hotel.
  1. With your back to the Greenbank Hotel turn left down Stratton Place, carrying on ahead along Dunstanville Terrace and then the High Street into Market Street.
    OR to miss out the Greenbak Hotel, continue the walk at Point 7 by turning right along Market Street.

'Wind in the Willows' author Kenneth Grahame was staying at the Greenbank Hotel when he first started writing the book as a series of letters to his son. It is also where many sea captains stayed when they came in on the packet ships. Until the middle of the twentieth century the quay was the embarkation point for a ferry to Flushing as well as for the packet ships. The fine houses along Dunstanville Terrace were packet captains' residences, built to overlook the stretch of water known as 'The King's Road', where their ships were moored. At the end of the terrace is the old Falmouth Prison.

Greenbank Gardens was once the site of the workshops belonging to William Olver, one of Falmouth's leading builders in the Victorian era.

  1. When Beacon Street joins from the right carry on along the High Street.

In 1862 a great fire wiped out much of the High Street – the main route in for the mail coaches – and it was rebuilt ten feet wider. The Old Town Hall, near the top of the street, was originally a Congregational chapel and was presented to Falmouth in 1725 by Martin Lister Killigrew. In its additional role as the Court House its most famous trial was in 1884, when two shipwrecked sailors were accused of cannibalism after eating the cabin boy while adrift in the Atlantic.

The Cutty Sark clipper was anchored in the harbour between 1923 and 1938, when she served as a training ship, and was famously framed through Barracks Ope, built in the seventeenth century as the entrance to barracks housing Royal Marines.

Opened in 1930, the Post Office stands on the site of the old Market, moved in 1812 from its original location on Market Strand, ahead.

  1. Carry on along the High Street as it becomes Market Strand, and bear left onto Market Street beyond.

King George V laid the foundation stone for the Prince of Wales Pier in 1903. It was from here that 622 sailors and commandos set sail in March 1942 for the successful raid on St Nazaire in Operation Chariot. 168 were killed in the operation and 5 Victoria Crosses were awarded.

In Market Strand a narrow alley leads up to Bell's Court, the site of the packet agent's office. From here Christopher Saverland read the Riot Act to mutineering packet crews in 1810 after customs men confiscated their private goods intended for sale overseas.

The Midland Bank, at the end of Market Street, was once the Royal Hotel, built in 1800 for the packet captains' social activities and later the terminus for the London mail coaches.

  1. At Fish Strand Quay carry on ahead along Church Street to the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.

Fish Strand Quay was built in 1790 for the landing and selling of fish. It was near here that the news of Nelson's death and the victory at Trafalgar was brought ashore.

St George's Arcade, opened in 1912, was Falmouth's first purpose-built cinema and at the time it was the second largest in the country. Beyond, the shop with the four-pillared facade was once the Public Subscription Rooms, opened in 1826 as a place where local merchants and traders, as well as visiting ships' officers, could socialise.

Upton Slip is the last remaining ope in this part of the town with direct access to the waterfront.

Founded in 1833, the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society was the venue for an annual exhibition, where mechanical inventions and models were displayed for industrialists and mine owners. Life-saving devices first introduced here included the man engine, used to raise and lower men in a mine, and the safety fuse, devised to reduce the risk of accidental explosions. The building is now  a library and arts centre.

Beside the Society is one of Falmouth's former Post Offices, built in 1872 to handle the increasing volume of mail. It also housed the British end of a cable link with the Mediterranean, the Direct Spanish Telegraph Company.

Public transport

For ferry times and details, pick up a leaflet from the hotel, visit www.falriver.co.uk or phone 01326 741 194


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