The beautiful seaside village named the best in the UK worth the long journey

The coastal village of St Mawes is reputedly one of the most exclusive in Cornwall and beloved by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.

Located on the Roseland Peninsula, St Mawes was named by consumer group Which? as the best seaside town in Britain in 2020 in part because of its crab baguettes and dolphin-spotting opportunities.

Hailed by the St Mawes Cornwall website as a lovely place to visit with a strong sense of community, the village enjoys a year-round mild climate as it lies in the path of the Gulf Stream.

At the mouth of the Fal Estuary, St Mawes is also a mecca for boating and yacht enthusiasts with three boatyards and active sailing clubs not only in the village but also in Portscatho and Portloe.

But getting to St Mawes can be a trek, taking over five hours from London by train or car and almost 6 and a half hours from Manchester by road or over eight hours by rail. It is said travelling to the village is much easier by boat.

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Tourists are, however, willing to make the journey, with St Mawes’ website describing the place as an “extremely popular” holiday destination.

St Mawes has three hotels, but there are several others on the Roseland Peninsula such as the Lugger, in Portloe, The Rosevine in Portscatho and Hundred House Hotel in Ruan. There are also self-catering cottages available in the village.

Even if you don’t have your own boat, it is reportedly easy to get about on the waters off St Mawes with regular ferries to Falmouth and a small ferry to Place on the south side of the Percuil River running in the summer.

From Falmouth it is also possible to get a boat upriver to the National Trust’s Trelissick estate, a house and garden with maritime views and woodland walks.

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There are two pubs in St Mawes, The Victory Inn and the Rising Sun, located in the centre of the village near the beach and quayside.

More watering holes can be found across the Roseland Peninsula, including the Roseland Inn, Philleigh, the King’s Head, in Ruan Lanihorne and the Ship Inn, Portloe. Hotels and pubs in St Mawes have their own restaurants.

For coffee and cake, head to Cafe Chandlers and for a traditional Cornish pasty or more visit St Mawes Bakery in Marine Parade.

For boat enthusiasts, Carrick Roads – a stretch of sea between Falmouth and the Roseland Peninsula – is hailed as one of the country’s finest sailing waters.

There are also plenty of spots for shoreline angling while those who want to fish offshore but don’t have a boat can find fishing outfits in Falmouth.

Canoes, kayaks, sailing dingys, motorboats and powerboats are also available to hire in St Mawes.

A number of different types and classes of boats – including Shrimpers, Ajax’s, Marieholms, Sunbeams, lasers and Falmouth working boats – take part in races organised around St Mawes.

The Eve of St Mawes replica Scillonian cutter is also available for excursions.

Cornish Secrets says of the village: “With its cobbled narrow streets and delightful arcade collection of shops, galleries, and restaurants, it is an ideal destination to relax, enjoy the sea air, eat fabulous seafood and explore.”

The easiest route to Cornwall by car is on the M5 to Exeter. From there join either the A30 over Bodmin Moor or the A38 and B3212 via Plymouth.

Newquay is the nearest airport from where it is possible to hire a car.

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