Wandering St Mawes

A quick guide to the villages' highlights

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Hayley Bisofsky Pope
Cornwall dweller, lifestyle blogger and founder of The Little Naturalists Club
3 June 2022

St Mawes is a small fishing village on the opposite side of the River Fal to Falmouth. In 1540, Henry VIII built St Mawes Castle to protect the River Fal from the threat of French and Spanish invasion.

A tale of two castles

Pendennis Castle was built on the Falmouth side and between the two castles they had the entire entrance to the Fal Estuary within canon range. The castle is clover leaf shaped, elaborately decorated and offers spectacular panoramic views of the crystal clear waters below.

The castle has retained much of its original Tudor design and is surrounded by beautiful landscaped grounds and gardens.

That Mediterranean feeling

A three minute walk up the road from the castle you will find yourself at one of Cornwall’s Great Gardens. Lamorran Gardens is a beautiful terraced garden inspired by the owners’ travels to the gardens of La Montella on the Italian island of Ischia. Go there on a sunny day and you will struggle to believe that you’re not on the Italian coast.

The garden has a noteworthy collection of tree ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons and an impressive amount of newts and tadpoles as we discovered on our visit. The winding paths offer occasional ‘reveals’ of the sea below with the most stunning viewing spot looking out towards St Antony’s Lighthouse.

Village life

The village of St Mawes is charming and idyllic. It mostly caters to the tourism trade and there’s a small selection of high end restaurants, a couple of pubs, a tiny fish and chip shop that serves out of a hatch and a deli that warrants a trip to St Mawes for that alone.

Mr Scorse Deli is tucked away in the corner of the arcade and is known for its crab sandwiches, impressive selection of wines, small batch spirits, craft beers, cheeses, curated range of pastas and other fine things that will have you drooling.

Make a night of it

If you wanted to spend the night or possibly the weekend or longer there’s no shortage of Airbnb’s but the village also has some exceptional bed and breakfasts and hotels.


From the slipway in the harbour you can hire kayaks and paddleboards and on a calm day you can go round the bend in the entry and venture further up the creeks. The birdlife on the estuary is remarkable and it is a great swimming and fishing spot. At the harbour you will see the beautiful blue ferry coming and going. This ferry takes you over to Falmouth where you could spend an afternoon or simply go there and back on the ferry to see the coastline from the water.

St Just in Roseland

Just north of St Mawes is the little village of St Just in Roseland which is known for its picturesque 13th Century Church set in magnificent subtropical gardens luxuriantly planted with semitropical shrubs and trees. The church is often referred to as one of the most beautiful in England and is perched on the edge of a tidal creek.

There are numerous paths leading from the churchyard onto the coastal footpath which continues around the headland, through National Trust lands to St Mawes.