For year round relaxation and recreation, Falmouth has a tradition of genuine hospitality founded on its centuries old port and superb location at the southern end of the Fal Estuary - arguably Britain's most beautiful network of creeks and rivers. Blessed with excellent sandy bathing beaches and a vibrant town, Falmouth can offer you contrasts, convenience and choice in making the most of your holiday. Falmouth has an impressive record of excellence in tourism. Generations of investment, from the first custom built tourist hotel in 1865, to the imposing Ships & Castles Leisure Pool of today, makes Falmouth proud to welcome you! With one of the world's deepest natural harbours, today's Falmouth is fast developing its international reputation as one of the great sailing and watersports centres of the world. Every year new accolades are added to its impressive list of international sailing events. With marina facilities for the yachtsman and quays for visiting cruise liners, Falmouth is never short of interest and spectacle for the visitor. The Fal Estuary's deep water and sheltered anchorage have been of strategic importance to the defence of Britain since Tudor times. Any enemy securing the Estuary could easily land an army and bring in fresh supplies of food, weapons and soldiers. Henry VIII recognised this threat and built Pendennis and St Mawes Castles on opposite sides of the Estuary to protect the anchorage. Thus began one of the most fascinating stories of British Coastal defence spanning 450 years. Pendennis Castle is a showpiece of British History and one of Falmouth's gems. Built in the mid-sixteenth century, Pendennis overlooks the mile-wide mouth of the River Fal, at the most westerly point where it was possible to anchor safely. It is difficult to imagine today, when visiting this popular holiday area of Cornwall, how wild and remote this beautiful part of the coast used to be. But the massive walls, rambling rooms and stone staircases of Pendennis make it easy to imagine the scenes of bloody conflict 350 years ago. An exhibition in the old gun room helps you experience almost at first hand the sights and sounds of a Tudor battle. And there are artefacts from the Second World War, when Pendennis was again called into action. In Victorian times, Falmouth's world-wide links across the sea led to the development of public gardens containing wonderful collections of exotic plants. Owing to a year-round mild climate, plants such as Citrus, Daturas, Dracaena palms, Camellias, Abutious, Azaleas, Rohododendrons and many unusual species of Bamboo, still thrive today. At Fox Rosehill Gardens for example, Banana trees grow in the open! In addition to Falmouth's four main gardens of Gyllyndune, Kinberley Park, Fox Rosehill and Queen Mary, the vast gardens of Trelissick, Glendurgan and Trebah are all within easy reach of the town. Falmouth's town centre contains many of the expected high street shopping names, alongside restaurants and specialist shops with great maritime charm. Laced with many notable and unusual listed buildings (like the King's Pipe which was used to burn contraband tobacco in the days of old style smuggling), the town has a reassuring warmth and contains a surprising range of opportunities. The Falmouth Arts Centre, The Cornwall Maritime Museum (where the story of the famous Falmouth Packet shops is explained), and the Falmouth Art Gallery (with its renowned collection of Tuke paintings), complimented by the Princess Pavillion, together providing a comprehensive programme of exhibitions, concerts and theatrical events throughout the year. Touring groups, local, national and international performers and artists will all be found at Falmouth. Falmouth has four superb beaches: Gyllynvase, Castle, Swanpool and Maenporth. Each offers well managed facilities catering for both the active and the not so active beach afficionado. Alternatively, why not step aboard one of the many excellent pleasure boats plying the local waters of Falmouth and fully experience the maritime charm of this most beautiful part of Cornwall.