2. Falmouth, Cornwall
Politicians and entrepreneurs, pirates and outlaws, Falmouth’s founding family, the Killigrews, lurched over the centuries between respectability and infamy. And though they’re long gone, Falmouth retains something of the Killigrews’ dual nature. From the town’s three beautiful beaches the dirty smudge of tankers can be seen on the horizon. Commercial ships in the harbour tower over the sails of picturesque Falmouth working boats.
The best views are from the water, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the sheltered Carrick Roads (the Fal estuary) by kayak, paddleboard, dinghy or on the small ferry that links Falmouth with St Mawes. Landlubbers can watch the boats from the back windows of the Star and Garter on the High Street and enjoy excellent nose-to-tail dishes from the kitchen’s wood-fired oven.