St Mawes Castle: opening times 10:00 to 16:00
The twin and junior Castle to Falmouth's Pendennis. It was built between 1539 and 1545, it briefly saw action in the English Civil War when it was surrendered by the Loyalists to the Parliamentarians after a seige of just 1 hour. It is not well defended from the Land and was thus considered indefensible. It has a collection of cannons on display and features are the gunner's rest room and the "oubliette" where prisonners were held. There are stunning sea views from its battlements and it is just a short 5 minute walk from the centre of St Mawes.
St Mawes has 3 beaches. The harbour beach allows dogs year round and is great for rockpooling but not really swimming as Gary Cairns the harbourmaster frowns on it. Tavern beach is halfway along the walk from the centre to the castle and is very sheltered in Northerly winds and a favourite for families and swimmers and often local windsurfers if the wind is blowing strongly from the west. Summers beach is the biggest of the 3 beaches and is also a favourite with families/rockpoolers and swimmers.
St Mawes has a well deserved reputation for being an upmarket village and has 2 very smart hotels with excellent restaurants. The Hotel Tresanton has a reputation as one of Cornwall's top seaside hotels, it is owned by Olga Polizzi, award winning hotelier and daughter of Lord Forte, it's restaurant serves top local produce in a simple style. It's summer Sunday lunch bbqs served on their magnificent terrace overlooking St Mawes harbour are legendary. The Idle Rocks Hotel, recently bought and completely renovated by the motorsport entrepreneur David Richards, has a wonderful terrace overlooking the harbour and the restaurant boasts a great chef who is making an excellent name for himself.
Sailing is very popular in St Mawes and the local sailing club holds races, that start just off the town quay, on a Thursday evening and Sunday morning throughout the summer. There is also a very active gig club rowing 6 oared pilot boats, this is one of Cornwall's top sports and is taken very seriously. There is an annual world championship every May in the Isles of Scily.
Operating from St Mawes harbour is St Mawes Kayaks, kayaks can be hired out and also trips can be booked in a high speed water taxi.
Day walks from St Mawes area:
Circular walk to St Just, (about a 5 mile round trip). There is a 13th Century church surrounded by a semi tropical garden located beside a tidal pool at St Just. In my view this is one of Britain's most picturesque churches (maybe I am biased as we were married there!). There is also a lovely tea room (Mrs V's Cornish Cream Teas) that is just at the top end of the church garden where you can great tea and cakes and soups. Walk to St Just all the coast and come back on the footpath beside the road (this gives you great views across Carrick Roads).
Circular walk to Porthscatho (between 5 and 7 miles), take the Place Ferry from St Mawes harbour to Place then follow the coastal path around St Anthony headland and along the coast to Porthscatho, you can get refreshments either in Porthscatho at the Flume and Feathers pub, or the local shop, or continue another half mile to the now famous "Hidden Hut" cafe above Porthcurnick Beach. On the walk back take the road out of Porthscatho up the hill to Gerrans and then turn left onto Treloan Lane (opposite the Church). This comes out at Towan beach, from here take the path north to cross the peninsula and when you reach the coast turn left and walk back to the ferry crossing. The Place ferry runs from Easter to the end of October.