The Packet Walk
The Packet Walk
An easy walk through Falmouth, passing many points of interest related to Falmouth’s maritime heritage.
This walk follows the route of the Packet Walkway, a trail of plaques in the pavement that takes you to key vantage points around the town.
Start the walk at The Greenbank Hotel – famous for its association with the Packet Service and Wind in the Willows – and walk past some of the old sea captains’ houses before exploring the centre of town and interesting buildings in the terraces above. Return to the town centre via Jacob’s Ladder steps before retracing your steps to finish back at The Greenbank.
Detailed walk information
The walk’s start point The Greenbank Hotel is famous for its association with the Falmouth Packet Service and with Kenneth Grahame's book Wind in the Willows. From the hotel’s main door, turn left and head along Dunstanville Terrace, an impressive row of large houses, many of them originally built by Packet Captains.
The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club occupying the waterside building next to the Gardens, was founded in 1874 and is the most prestigious of five such organisations around Falmouth's magnificent harbour. On the seaward side at the southern end of the Terrace is the site of the old Falmouth Prison.
From the top of the High Street – once known as Ludgate Hill – you’ll find the Old Town Hall. Originally a congregational chapel, it was also used as the Court House and was the scene of a famous trial in 1884 when two sailors were acquitted on a charge of cannibalism, having eaten the cabin boy while adrift in the Atlantic after their ship had sunk.
As you continue down the hill, look out for Barracks's Ope, through which the famous clipper Cutty Sark was framed when she lay at anchor in the harbour as a Training Ship.
At the bottom of the High Street, turn right along Webber Street until you reach The Moor. Notable buildings here include the Municipal Offices and Library, built in 1894 and which also houses the Falmouth Art Gallery.
Carefully cross the road to have a look at The Packet Memorial dating from November 1898, when a public subscription raised nearly £300 for a permanent reminder of the service which operated from Falmouth between 1688 and 1850.
Now make your way back towards the water where you come to Market Strand and Prince of Wales Pier, named when the Prince - who later became King George V - laid its foundation stone in 1903. It was at this Pier that the few survivors of the successful raid on the dock at St Nazaire returned to the port, five days after the small flotilla had left Falmouth in March, 1942.
Now walk the entire length of Falmouth’s main shopping street Market Street, which becomes Church Street. Look out for the signs and information points for the history of some of the interesting buildings. The current parish church of King Charles the Martyr dated from 1898 and is worth a short detour to look inside.
Now continue down Arwenack Street until you reach Custom House Quay. The red brick chimney which stands beside the main entrance to the Quay is the King's Pipe which was used to burn confiscated contraband tobacco by Customs Officers.
Further along in Grove Place is Arwenack House, build by the Killigrew family in 1567, it is the oldest house in Falmouth. Turn right into Avenue Road and then right again into Arwenack Avenue. Originally the entrance to Arwenack House, it later became a rope walk. Walk along Arwenack Avenue and when you reach the end of the street, cross over into New Street. Continue along here until you reach Well Lane and some steps to your right. Go up the steps to reach Gylling Street. Stop here for a minute to savour the view over the bay.
At the top of the steps, turn right and soon you will see a red painted building, this is the Falmouth’s former synagogue, now a private home.
Carry on walking to Chapel Terrace and you’ll see the former Primitive Methodist Chapel, build in 1832.
Further on is the Jacob’s Ladder Inn and directly opposite are the Jacob’s Ladder Steps. The one hundred and eleven steps were installed by Jacob Hamblen, builder, tallow chandler and property owner, to facilitate access between his business - at the bottom - and some of his property - at the top. Go down the steps and you’ll arrive back at The Moor.
From here retrace your steps back to The Greenbank Hotel for a drink, afternoon tea or dinner.
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