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18 May 2015

Pass it on - Tips from the locals...

From skimming stones on secret beaches to sampling the best fish and chips around, we set off on a treasure trail of tip-offs from some discerning locals to uncover the best of what the area has to offer.

From skimming stones on secret beaches to sampling the best fish and chips around, we set off on a treasure trail of tip-offs from some discerning locals to uncover the best of what the area has to offer. 

With an imaginative eye, owner of organic skincare company Spiezia, Amanda Barlow, kickstarts our trail:  

“Whenever it’s pouring outside and I fancy a trip into Falmouth, my partner and I jump on his Harley and head to Beside the Wave Gallery on Arwenack Street.  It’s a great little spot, full of local talent and the owners really know their stuff.” 

Stepping into the serene space, where bold pieces call from the walls and cabinets bear all manner of treasures, we find gallery assistant Emily Dymond: 

“I often take friends to The Poly.  There’s always something interesting going on.  Whether it’s a silent film with a live band scoring the soundtrack, an exhibition or an independent film, The Poly champions all kinds of creativity.  And you’re bound to get an experience you just wouldn’t get elsewhere.” 

Taking people’s tickets before a bustling afternoon’s performance, we find Julia Knight-Bennett, volunteer at The Poly.  It’s the quieter corners that make Cornwall so special for her:  

“If the family are up for stretching their legs, we’ll all put on our wellies and head down to Durgan beach on the Helford River.  It’s a short drive away, but it’s really worth it for the tranquility.  And skimming a stone or two (there are heaps of perfectly smooth, flat ones there) is always a good way to keep the kids happy.” 

From the winding maze of beautiful Glendurgan gardens, reaching down to the tiny beach in the hamlet of Dorgan we ask Jon O’Donoghue, publicity officer at the gardens, to keep our trail ticking:  

“Rosemullion Head is a really unique spot.  You can walk straight down to the water’s edge, and look out across Falmouth Bay to St Anthony lighthouse on the far side.  It’s a really remote place where the Helford River meets the sea, and in the spring it’s bursting with wildflowers.  It’s strangely calming, considering it has such a history of shipwrecks and treacherous passages for seamen.”  

Rosemullion Head is a playground for all kinds of sea life – and a prime spot for spearfishing.  Thom Hunt, TV chef, forager and local spearfisher shares his local wisdom:  

“Whenever I’m in Falmouth, I always head to Beerwolf.  The craft beers are great, and it’s the kind of place you don’t have to scrape your boots off before you go inside.” 

Heavy footsteps on worn wooden steps lead up the the half pub, half bookshop.  Here we find Beerwolf’s owner Alice Sommerlad loading shelves with lovingly selected new reading fodder:  

“We don’t often get time away from the bar.  But when we do, we like to call up some friends and go kayaking down on the Helford.  It’s a real adventure, and the silent creeks and upper reaches are like going back in time.” 

Slipping into her life vest at the water’s edge, ready to paddle out, we catch Katy Spencer, keen kayaker and South West coordinator at The Wave Project: 

“When I’m not out on the water, I love learning about the water.  Friends, especially if they have little ones, are blown away when we take them to Falmouth’s Maritime Museum.  Uncovering the secrets of the sea and understanding its role in our history is just fascinating.” 

Even though he’s still getting to grips with the area, new MD of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Richard Doughty, has been busy discovering its delights: 

“I moved down a couple of months ago, so I’m still learning – but for me, kicking off the shoes and running around with the kids on Gyllngvase beach, followed by one of the best hot chocolates you’ll taste in the Gylly Beach Cafe is the perfect family day.  Topping that off with a takeaway fish and chips from Stein’s, opening the packet to a delicious mouth-watering vinegary steam as you gaze from Events Square over Falmouth’s harbour – nothing beats it.” 

Speak to our staff, follow your noses, chat to the locals – and see where the Falmouth treasure might take you…

Image credit: Visit Cornwall & Adam Gibbard