My day out: Fal River boat trip

I drive a lot for both business and pleasure, so it is always nice for someone else to do the driving and I can soak up the scenery on what was a glorious sunny day. My Mum lives in Falmouth and we fancied a trip into Truro for lunch and a little retail therapy. I’d seen quite a lot of advertising for the Fal River boat links recently, so I thought it would be nice to go by water rather than road for a change.

Leaving the car at home for the day, we took an Enterprise Boat up the Fal River from Falmouth to Truro. Leaving from the Prince of Wales pier, the boat called at the National Trust’s Trelissick Gardens en route to the cathedral city of Truro (although we had to disembark at Malpas due to low tide and the final leg was by scenic double decker bus).

Known to be a picturesque route with wooded valleys on both sides of the riverbank, the scenery was ever changing with a wide selection of birds and wildlife, and an abundance of marine activity ranging from canoes to full size shipping tankers.

We sailed past ‘Smugglers Cottage’ on our way; an unobtrusive small Grade II listed cottage which was used as the assembly point for American troops before the D-Day landings, and General Eisenhower stayed at the cottage during preparations for the landing.

It was a smooth boat trip with stunning scenery from both decks, wading birds relaxing on the water’s edge and comical Cornish commentary bringing a smile to all faces with their real life stories. The boat offers light refreshments on board but really you’re too busy looking at the view. Having explored the shops of Truro we headed to The Cloisters; a recommended lunch stop tucked away in a cobbled alley where you are spoilt for choice of delicious homemade cooking (next time we may share a toasted sandwich and slice of cake as the portions are large).

I would definitely take the boat trip again, but next time I will study the timetable in advance to give more time; we didn’t get the opportunity to visit Truro Cathedral or the Shelterbox Visitors Centre in the city. We might also try one of their other boat routes next time to St Mawes or Flushing.

Top tips for taking a boat trip on the Fal River:

  • If driving to Falmouth, use the park and float facility on the outskirts of town at Ponsharden.
  • You ideally need a minimum of six hours for the Falmouth to Truro boat trip, but add on another couple of hours if you want to hop-on/hop-off at Trelissick Gardens as well.
  • All Enterprise Boats are accessed via steps; there are also hills to access the ferries at Trelissick and Malpas. If you can manage these then everyone is welcome.
  • To cover all eventualities make sure you take sunglasses, sun lotion, binoculars, a camera and a raincoat.
  • An adult day return ticket costs £18.50, or unlimited travel for one day is £21. You can receive a 10% discount if booked online in advance.
  • The Fal Mussel Card Visitor allows you unlimited travel for a fixed period on ferries, buses and trains around the Fal River Links Network, including car parking. You can get this even cheaper online.
  • Boats operate daily from the beginning of April until the end of October, subject to exceptional weather conditions.

About the author: Ali is a holiday home specialist, and enjoyed a boat trip on the Fal River in May 2019.