We’d like to imagine that the chief reason for planning a trip to St Mawes, or one of the chief reasons anyway, is our wonderful art gallery in this wonderful village. We would like to imagine that, so we’ll go on imagining it! But while doing so we will reflect on a few of the innumerable other attractions that make this a magical place for visitors and locals alike...
Our beautiful home of St Mawes (Lannvowsedh in Cornish) in southern Cornwall lies almost directly opposite Falmouth, at the tip of the Roseland Peninsula where mouth of the Percuil River meets the great estuary of the river Fal, ‘the Carrick Roads’, just as these waters enter the English Channel.
The name 'St Mawes' comes from Saint Maudez, a Breton saint, whose chapel and holy well were documented as still in use in 1427. The chapel seems to have disappeared during the reign of Elizabeth I, but this stunning location still blesses us with a number of spectacularly attractive features. The Roseland Peninsula’s warm temperatures span from spring through to autumn (apart from that brief spell earlier this year - but who did escape The Beast from the East?!). The great and ever changing vista of sky and sea which you can enjoy from two stunning beaches in St Mawes as well as many an enchanting walk in a hinterland of green and rolling countryside and coastal paths. St Mawes also offers easy access to many of Cornwall’s other attractions with the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Falmouth, the Roseland Heritage Coast and Truro all on its doorstep while St Ives and Penzance are within driving distance for a day trip, making this the ideal place to stay for holiday-makers.
St Mawes was once important for reasons other than its undeniable beauty and plethora attractions. Because of its situation and large harbour, it was a busy port until the 19th century and fortified in the reign of Henry VIII, who had the coastal fortress of St Mawes Castle built to protect the port – and England - from the French. Today the Castle is the best preserved example of his coastal forts, with its fabulous 16th century sea serpents and gargoyles still intact and well worth a visit.
Nowadays, St Mawes is known as an exceptional English holiday destination, rather than a trading port or fortification, but it is described as ‘the principal village on the Roseland Peninsula’ and the picturesque harbour still boasts a small fishing fleet.
St Mawes is also a thriving centre for water-sports, nature and of course, art lovers. Artists at work, art galleries and exhibitions of all kinds are to be found here and once you've worked up an appetite taking it all in, you'll be pleased to hear that St Mawes is rapidly, becoming a foodie ‘hotspot’ with its many outstanding eateries, bars and cafes.
Places of historic, literary and even filmmaking interest are right on our doorstep too. The Agatha Christie film ‘Murder Ahoy’ was filmed here, as well as the 1964 film, ‘Crooks in Cloisters’ and in more recent television, you'll find many Poldark shooting locations nearby. Take a look at some of our favourite Poldark spots here.
In short, while your main reason for paying a visit to St Mawes will surely be to visit our incomparable gallery, we thought you should know that there are some outstanding incentives to come to this part of the world for its own sake. And there is a near certainty that you will have a wonderful time and see and do and enjoy wonderful things while you are not visiting our gallery!