Updated: Sep 12, 2021
At Falmouth Uncovered we’re mainly focused on guiding visitors through historical Falmouth, but we rather like the modern town too! That’s partly down to the stonking array of high-quality cafés, coffee bars and tearooms — here are a few of our favourites:
Crow’s Nest Cafe at Trago
Trago is a well-known feature of Falmouth — its anarchic, somewhat tatty retail offering has charm in a world of ever-increasing efficiency, and where else can you buy cumin seeds, a guitar and a wardrobe all in one go?
Well, you may not realise that there’s also a café on the top floor, which has an unrivalled view of Falmouth’s inner harbour. It's an easy place to love: an unpretentious cafe that offers an escape from Falmouth’s summertime mania, with a cheerful offering of cake and jacket potatoes. It’s a café from a time long passed, when we didn’t expect everything to be new, improved or ‘artisan’. And sometimes, that’s a very good thing.
Best for? An unpretentious cuppa.
Where? The top floor of Trago Mills, on Arwenack Street.
If you’re on the search for something to eat beyond a slice of cake then Good Vibes can be relied upon — it’s a cheery spot with a focus on providing quality, locally sourced grub. If you’ve woken up thinking ‘life’s been tough recently — I deserve a full English breakfast’, then a trip to Good Vibes will sort you out.
Best for? Good food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Where? 28 Killigrew Street, on the Moor.
Speaking of good food, The Pier is somewhere that definitely deserves a visit. Given its prime position on the Princes of Wales Pier you’d be forgiven for assuming that it’s a tourist trap, but that’s just not the case — prices are reasonable, the food is pretty special, and you get the general feeling that everyone there is committed to giving customers an enjoyable visit. And, of course, the view across the harbour is rather special.
Best for? Lunch with a view.
Where? The (Prince of Wales) Pier, obviously.
What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘radical bookshop and cafe’? A grubby room in north London populated by scowling revolutionaries flicking through battered copies of Das Kapital?
If so, Rubicund will take you by surprise — the owners are lovely, the coffee & cake are next level, and the atmosphere is always very relaxed. The ‘radical’ aspect is mostly provided by the bookshop and lending library, which are made up of titles asking big questions about politics, gender and the environment. Not for everyone, but if you appreciate businesses with values at their heart then Rubicund deserves your love.
Best for? Progressive politics and ethical tastiness.
Where? St George’s Arcade, on the left.
If coffee — the best, and only the best — is your thing, then you’re spoiled for choice in Falmouth. In our opinion though, Beacon Coffee should be your first port of call: the owners are total coffee-nerds, which comes across in the cup, and they're also well placed to talk blends, roasteries and all that fun stuff if you're so inclined. One thing to bear in mind though: they’re only open for takeaways this summer.
Best for? Hot drinks made from coffee beans.
Where? The High Street, not far from Prince of Wales Pier.
The beach cafes
Falmouth has three beaches, and, consequently, three beach cafes — Gylly, Swanpool and Castle. If you visit Falmouth you’ll likely come across one or all of them, but we thought they deserved a mention here since they’re actually pretty damn wonderful.
Gylly is a slick operation that manages to meet massive demand for food without dropping standards, Swanpool is known for its luxurious, topping-laden ice creams and hot chocolates (depending on the season), and Castle Beach is owned by Fiona, one of the most lovely humans ever — after she was robbed at knifepoint in June she responded by saying, "I am sad that he [the robber] did not know he could simply ask for help.”
Each of these cafés deserves your custom, but we doubt you’ll need any encouragement — a dip in the sea can do a lot to encourage the appetite.
Best for? Enhancing your time by the sea.
Where? By the sea, funnily enough.
Now, we know there's a chance that you're thinking 'But how could you not mention ______!?' We agree entirely; there are loads of cracking places in Falmouth that also deserve to be included here. Maybe next time.
Where ever you choose to visit in Falmouth this summer, do bear in mind the challenges the hospitality industry is facing currently — their staff have all been working flat-out in tough conditions, so give them the benefit of the doubt if things take a little longer than usual.
And, if you’re interested in properly exploring the Falmouth of centuries past, why not come on one of our walking tours? We run them throughout the week and have a perfect 5* Tripadvisor rating, so you know you’re in for some special storytelling. Tickets are available here.