Sunset at St-Mawes in Cronwall.

St Mawes In Cornwall – It’s Fantastic!

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Last Updated on 28/03/2024 by Claire Coney

Why Do I Love Visiting St Mawes?  

I love visiting St Mawes because it is one of the most picturesque villages in Cornwall. This pretty village nestles by the Percuil River mouth on the Roseland Peninsular. I relish exploring this wonderful part of Cornwall and returning time and again. I also enjoy the peaceful and relaxing pace of life here that seems to belong to times gone by.  

Most people head to the busy and easy-to-access north coast of Cornwall for their holidays. Whereas, St Mawes is less accessible having narrow and winding roads to navigate. This means that the average tourist is not likely to venture to the end of the peninsular. But for those of us who love to explore, the area has plenty of treasures to offer. The attractions include quaint Cornish villages, castles, a lighthouse and art galleries. Also, there are rivers and woodland walks, beaches, boat rides and much more.  

St Mawes in Cornwal
The pretty port St Mawes in Cornwall.

So What is St Mawes like?  

St Mawes is stunning! It is just like a picture-postcard scene. The village is lined with pastel and whitewashed houses along narrow winding streets. The houses rise from the water’s edge and climb up the hillside. It also has an impressive view across the estuary.  

The natural harbour was created after the Ice Age. Water flooded the valley creating the third-largest natural harbour in the world. The village was once a busy fishing port but trade declined during the 20th century. But now the port serves as a popular tourist destination. 

You will find many different boats and yachts anchored in the sheltered harbour.  St Mawes is popular for boating and yachting. It has three boatyards with numerous moorings in the area. Local sailing clubs organise racing events and functions such as boat shows. These events are open for everyone to enjoy. In addition, much of the local coastline was used during the filming of the Poldark TV series.  

St Mawes shops are bustling and include boutiques, gift shops, bakeries and the Co-Op. There are also many cafés, restaurants, and pubs. Holiday accommodation includes hotels, guest houses and holiday cottages. You will be able to sit in one of the refreshment facilities with a glass of wine and watch the world go by.  All of this makes it one of my favourite short break destinations. 

St Mawes was named after a Celtic Saint, Maudez. He founded the village in the 5th century and lived a solitary life looking out over the calm waters. A church and holy well were built to honour his time in the village.  

The Port of St Mawes
St Mawes Harbour.

St Mawes Castle  

You will find St Mawes Castle on a hill to the west of the village. It sits across the harbour from the Pendennis Fortress in Falmouth. These two coastal forts were built in the Tudor times. They protected the harbour from the French and Spanish invaders. St Mawes Castle is one of the best-preserved artillery fortresses of Henry VIII’s coastal defences. It is also the most elaborately decorated. The views across Falmouth harbour from here are breathtaking. The castle is open to the public every day. You can visit the castle’s ‘oubliette’. This is where the prisoners were kept. Then you might like to wander around the beautiful gardens where several cannons can be found.  

Castle at St Mawes
St Mawes Castle – Cornwall

Our St Mawes Getaway Weekend – Day One…  

…I was excited to be setting off for St Mawes with my husband and Cairn Terrier. It’s fabulous to have some time away from my busy everyday life. I was also looking forward to a fantastic weekend exploring the area with Austin and Abigail.  

Our journey began late on Saturday afternoon. We left late in the day as we wanted to avoid the bank holiday traffic. It was a good decision and we had a smooth journey arriving at our destination without any delays.  

Me and Abbie - Evening Stroll
Sunset walk with Abbie.

Our Evening in St Mawes…  

…started with a stroll. It was a beautiful sunny evening and the sun was blazing. Abigail was excited to be out of the mini camper van. Austin and I set off along the coastal path with Abigail. We left the castle behind us. The footpath followed a small private road. Large expensive-looking houses lay to the right. The gardens were immaculate and full of colourful flowers in bloom. on the opposite side of the lane, cliffs rose above sandy coves separated by rocky outcrops.

The crystal-clear waters glistened in the glowing sunlight. The lane ended and the footpath passed through a gateway into a field. It continued along the river Fal. We stood in the field for a while to take in the breathtaking view over to Falmouth. Abigail happily sniffed in the grass and bushes while she waited for us. The sun was now low in the sky so we retraced our steps to our mini camper van.  

It was time for us to set up our little camping kitchen. Out came the picnic tables and the gas stove. I filled the kettle from our water containers and put the kettle on the stove to boil. Next came the camp cooking pots that were neatly stored inside each other like Russian dolls. Then our cooking implements for Austin to prepare our pasta and salad. Not forgetting Abigail’s dog food, biscuits, water and bowls.  

Mini Camper Van
Austin is unpacking our little van.

Our little van is like a ‘Tardis’ and cleverly packed to hold everything we need for our trips away. We like to be self-sufficient as much as possible when we are on our adventures.  

As we ate our food, we watched an amazing sunset across Falmouth Bay. And Abigail lay stretched out in her dog bed next to us with her eyes half-closed. She was enjoying the warmth of the evening sun. It was a perfect evening. Dusk was closing in around us and the daylight was fading quickly. It was time to pull out our bed and set it up. I made it cosy with our sleeping bags and travel pillows ready for bedtime. With the window blinds in place, we climbed in bed for a restful sleep ready for the next day’s adventures…  

… Good night, I will see you again tomorrow… 

Have you been to St Mawes?  

What did you like about it? 

What would you recommend that I try the next time that I visit St Mawes? 

Do you have any questions about travel for me? 

If you are looking for a good dog-friendly walk you might like St Anthony’s Head.

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