In order to get a taste for the real Cornwall and its decidedly shady history as a mecca for smugglers and untoward seadogs, Falmouth is the place to go. Not only is the town itself dripping with old-world charm and a sense of history you can almost taste in the air, but the National Maritime Museum paints a delightfully vivid picture of how things used to be and there is also Falmouth Lifeboat Station which is conversely ultra modern,
Falmouth harbour is the place to go for leisure cruises, fishing expeditions and general seafaring merriment, while the nearby cobbled alleyways play host to scores of quaint shops that really do redefine what it is to be traditional. Further up the coast, adrenaline junkies can catch some of the best waves in the UK at Fistral Beach, the surfing capital of the country.
Cornwall's capital Truro which is a gem for tourists is located a few moments away. Visitors are never more than a stone's-throw away from throbbing tourist heavens such as Newquay, where hedonism comes first and rational thought (sometimes) follows later! Falmouth University is an important institution and underlies
If you want a brief on local things to do there is Pendennis Castle which I'm told is an excellent day out or a slightly more energetic experience you could try a round at Falmouth Golf Club.
The docks are still key to Falmouth's economy, although a recent serious fire on the pier put the future of the location in jeopardy. However, Falmouth continues to be a stopping off point for cruises and liners, thanks to the third deepest harbour in the world. The result is a thriving economy focussed around tourism, making it a fascinating location for a short stay or a longer break.