Fal­mouth, Corn­wall

This work­ing har­bour town also has a cre­ative buzz thanks to its thriv­ing art school. The re­sult is a win­ning blend of beach life, bohemian bars and great seafood

The Guardian - Travel - - Local’S Guide - By Wyl Men­muir, nov­el­ist

To un­der­stand Fal­mouth (and ar­guably the rest of our is­land na­tion) you need to un­der­stand its re­la­tion­ship with the sea. The cav­ernous Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum Corn­wall, a beau­ti­ful build­ing in it­self, con­tains sev­eral floors of ex­hi­bi­tions that ex­plore the chang­ing in­flu­ence of the sea on our lives – sto­ries of dis­cov­ery, sur­vival and tragedy – and an ac­tive tra­di­tional boat work­shop. High­lights in­clude the un­der­sea gallery in which vis­i­tors can watch fish swim­ming in the har­bour from the sea bed, and the 30-me­tre look­out tower from which they can track the com­ings and go­ings of naval ships, su­pery­achts, dinghies and cruise lin­ers.

The mu­seum is pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies who come for the per­for­mances, sto­ry­telling and trea­sure trails dur­ing the hol­i­days, and war­rants mul­ti­ple vis­its, which is handy, es­pe­cially when the weather turns.

Cel­e­brat­ing its 15th birth­day in 2018, the mu­seum was cen­tral to the re­gen­er­a­tion of Dis­cov­ery Quay, now the fo­cus for the town’s many fes­ti­vals. The mu­seum’s ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion, Ti­tanic Sto­ries ex­plores the con­tro­ver­sies, myths and sto­ries that sur­round the best-known sink­ing of the 20th cen­tury.

• Adult £13.50, child £6 (pay once, get in all year), open daily, nmmc.co.uk

Two of Fal­mouth’s best bars are tucked away in Old Brew­ery Yard, which is also home to a gallery space, one of Fal­mouth’s most stylish restaurants, The Kitchen, and sev­eral small in­de­pen­dent craft shops. HAND bar and bot­tle shop (on Face­book) of­fers over 200 craft beers, and on a warm even­ing drinkers spill out into the yard. The Chintz (thech­intzbar. com, pic­tured) is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter en­tirely. The small, Alice in Won­der­landthemed bar is gaudily kit­ted out in ro­coco style and of­fers wine, cheese and char­cu­terie.

3 Vinyl and caffeine

Fal­mouth has no lack of cof­fee shops, and while the cafe scene is dom­i­nated by Es­pressini, which has two out­lets in town, it’s easy to over­look smaller cafes such as Jam Records, with its two cracked leather so­fas and a se­lec­tion of new and used vinyl. Vis­i­tors should ex­pect eclec­tic mu­sic with their cuppa, shabby chic and a charm­ing, if un­ex­pected, dis­play of type­writ­ers, TV mon­i­tors and an­cient Mac­in­tosh com­put­ers – which is some­what in­dica­tive of how Fal­mouth rolls.

• 32 High Street, jam­records.co.uk

4 Gas­tro pub with rooms

Once a spit-and-saw­dust pub that served the crews of the Fal­mouth Work­ing Boats, the Star and Garter, which opened

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