The beautiful town of St Mawes is found within the dreamy depths of the Roseland Peninsula in South Cornwall and promises a wealth of things to do. Separated from the charming town of Falmouth by the glistening waterways of the Carrick Roads and surrounded by untouched natural beauty, it is one of the best places in the county to visit.
If you can’t wait to dive beneath the surface of this seaside gem and explore all the best attractions, we’ve got just the guide for you. Perfect for dreamy hours and days of discovery, we share some of our favourite things to do in St Mawes that’ll inspire all generations of visitors.
St Mawes Castle
The clover-shaped St Mawes Castle is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in St Mawes. One of the best-preserved of Henry VIII’s original artillery castles, it was built in the mid-16th century to defend the Cornish coast against the threat of foreign invasion. These days, this family-friendly fortress is looked after by English Heritage and provides a fascinating glimpse into the past – not to mention beautiful panoramas over the coast. Book ahead to save on the price of a ticket and look forward to admiring the views from atop the castle keep, hunting for the old ‘oubliette’ prison, and wandering the manicured grounds that sweep down towards the sea.
St Mawes Ferry
One of the best things to do in St Mawes if you’re looking to draw out your day of adventuring is a passage on the St Mawes Ferry. Start your day by strolling through the streets of St Mawes before heading down to the old-world harbour and taking the ferry across the water to the town of Falmouth. Home to the world’s third deepest natural harbour, a flourishing arts university, and a large number of quirky shops, boutiques, cafés and pubs, Falmouth is somewhere you can easily while away the hours. For ease, the passenger ferry runs seven days a week throughout the year (weather dependent) and affords glorious views across the Carrick Roads and the castles of both St Mawes and Pendennis.
Lamorran House Garden
Dubbed “one of Britain’s most exotic and exciting gardens” by Exotic Gardening Magazine, Lamorran House Garden is one of the best things to do in St Mawes for budding gardeners and tranquillity seekers alike. Sown with plant species from all over the world, this subtropical, Italianate garden resides on sun-kissed, south-facing slopes and flourishes a verdant tangle of flowers and flora. Providing a magical setting for care-free ambles, it is open from April to September each year and welcomes visitors of all ages to follow its winding pathways and savour its ocean vistas. Booking ahead isn’t necessary, but an admission fee is charged upon arrival.
St Anthony Head
For a free activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year, a walk around St Anthony Head is a must. One of the top things to do in St Mawes, this beautiful route leads you around the bottom of the Roseland Peninsula and offers gorgeous views across the Fal estuary and the sea beyond. Trace the South West Coast Path along the coastline and look out for some of the scenic and historic highlights along the way, including St Anthony’s iconic Fraggle Rock lighthouse and old military fortifications. For bird watchers, there’s also a hidden bird hide located down a footpath near the lighthouse from which you can sometimes see peregrine falcons.
Shop Independent and Visit Galleries
St Mawes has an array of independent shops, ranging from quaint cafes to boutique shops selling handmade items. Whether you're looking for a gift for someone special, or simply want to treat yourself, you'll find some unique pieces to cherish forever. Discover a range of galleries featuring the work of local artists. From painting to woodwork to ceramics, there's something for everyone.
Whether it be the sunny heights of summer or the crisp depths of winter, there’s nothing better than a trip to the beach in Cornwall. As perfect for sunshine dips in balmy waters as blustery walks along powder-fine sand, time spent on the beach has a healing quality that appeals to all generations. Needless to say, one of the best things to do in St Mawes during a dreamy retreat is to visit one of its many nearby beaches. Skirting the hem of the town, the beaches of Summers Beach, Harbour Beach and Tavern Beach are all within easy reach of St Mawes’ shops and eateries and are great choices for easy ocean hours. Slightly further afield, you will also find Porthbeor Beach, Portscatho Beach, Porthcurnick Beach and Pendower Beach which are equally as appealing for days by the waves.
Wine and Dine
What better thing to do in St Mawes than enjoying a romantic date night or creating a sense of occasion with a fine dining experience? Just a short distance from St Mawes, Driftwood’s beautiful restaurant, led by Head Chef Paul Green, offers unmissable fine dining with leisurely lunches, afternoon teas and delicious dinners. On the menu, locally sourced seafood and the freshest Cornwall produce are paired with the finest flavours around. Take a peek at some of our culinary offerings and look forward to wining and dining in a welcoming setting, served by friendly, professional staff.
If you can’t wait to discover all the many things to do in St Mawes, then why not make your adventure even more special with a stay at a boutique hotel? Located in the picturesque village of Portscatho just a stone’s throw from St Mawes, our beautiful sea-view hotel awaits with 14 comfortable rooms for you to choose from – perfect for taking the weight off tired feet after a day exploring. Dressed in soothing shades and furnished to the highest standards, each room promises the utmost rest and relaxation during your break. Book yours today.