Falmouth, Watersports on the Fal River In Cornwall, England

Think of Falmouth and some of the first things that come to mind are the Tall Ships Regatta and round-the-world-voyages. But these aren’t its only claims to fame. Falmouth Harbour is the deepest in western Europe, so it’s no surprise that the Fal River is literally riddled with watersports.

Operating from Falmouth’s only Blue Flag beach is Gylly Adventures. They specialize in outdoor activities and whether novice or experienced, their range will suit both. SUP and kayaking are high on their list and with a team of well-trained and experienced instructors, you will always be in safe hands. For full details, check them out at www.gyllyadventures.co.uk.


Elemental UK are relatively unique in the world of Cornish watersports. They offer a wide choice of activity, as well as the chance to experience the ever-changing natural world. Using safe and stable sit-on canoes and kayaks, their mission is to build confidence with expert guidance among the many local rivers and creeks. With one-to-one tuition starting from £25/hour, they offer great value for money: www.elementaluk.com has more information.

Gig boat racing, while not unique to Falmouth, is an activity you will often see in the harbour. The boats are 32 feet long and powered by six oarsmen. Falmouth has its own Gig Club, established in 1985, as do several coastal towns and regions around the UK. The Gig boat’s origins date back to the 19th century when pilot crews would attempt to out-row each other to be the first to board merchant vessels sailing into port, and therefore earn payment.

St. Mawes Kayaks on the Roseland, offers sit-on kayak hire for up to three people to explore the nearby beaches and creeks at your own leisurely pace. If you have a taste for adventure – and conditions permit – it is possible to paddle to St. Anthony’s Head lighthouse on the east side of Falmouth harbour. Great Molunan beach is ideal for a stop-off: www.stmaweskayaks.co.uk has all the details. 

Falmouth Watersports Centre – as well as an ideal social venue – offers diving, rowing and canoeing clubs among its many activities. Opening in 1993, its primary aim was to become a unique and major hub for Falmouth watersports. With the slipway and dinghy park virtually on its doorstep, it couldn’t be in a better location. For full details, call 01326-211223.

A little inland from Falmouth is BF Adventure. With activities ranging from raft building, canoeing, kayaking and more, there’s something for everyone. Set in 60 acres, with Pendennis Castle and Falmouth harbour views, their deep water quarry is the setting for all their watersports. They offer two-hour “taster” sessions to learn the basics of paddling in a fun and safe environment. Wetsuits and flotation aids are supplied and the facility has separate male and female changing rooms. For more information, call 01326-340912 or visit www.bfadventure.org.

With its Blue Flag beach, its own surf school and Sea Shanty Festival, Falmouth and water have always been in complete harmony. Getting there couldn’t be easier and once you’ve had a chance to look around, you’ll wonder why you left it so long: www.visitfalmouth.com has loads more detail.

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