There are so many great places to eat in Falmouth that you may well find yourself spoilt for choice.

De Wynns


  • Members of the Tea Guild of Britain
  • De Wynns is still a family-run business
  • A very Cornish experience– known in these parts as Thunder and Lightning.

But I am a great lover of afternoon tea and a firm believer that no holiday in Cornwall is complete without one – and so I have chosen to introduce you to a true Falmouth institution. It’s a place that can be described in the almost-words of Cole-Porter's song De-Lovely: ‘It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s De Wynns’.

De Wynns dates back beyond Cole-Porter and has a proud history as one of Falmouth’s original 19th century tea and coffee houses. Recently refurbished, the interior incorporates many period features, offering a refined tearoom experience upstairs and a louche, book-lined, leather-sofa’d coffee shop downstairs in the basement (dogs friendly). The walls are adorned with local posters of yesteryear. Historical documents boast of Falmouth’s proud naval history, as well as its status as a centre of trade and wealth, with notices of auctions taking place in the town’s large hotels alongside various warnings and rewards.

On the subject of warnings – Cole-Porter’s words may be from his musical Anything Goes, but do remember that’s not the case when you have a scone in Cornwall. Whatever you do, make sure you put the jam on before the cream, or else incur the wrath of the Cornish and risk being banished back whence you came to Devon. The menu at De Wynns even has a handy little reminder of the Cornish way printed in it.

De Wynns is still a family-run business and the team bake, make, and produce many traditional English and Cornish dishes on the premises. There’s a full breakfast and lunch menu on offer when we arrive at 2pm (breakfast dishes are served until 3pm). The soup was a hearty beef and onion broth and the specials menu included Faggots and gravy. Coffee is from local specialty roasters Origin and tea is from the nearby Tregothnan tea estate (the only tea growers in Britain).

Members of the Tea Guild of Britain, a prestigious organisation that represents and encourages places dedicated to serving tea of the highest standard, De Wynns has been the recipient of the Excellence award on a number of occasions – and it’s not hard to see why.

My husband plumps for the devilled Cornish crab, made with sherry, brandy, Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, chili, paprika and a splash of double cream. It’s served as an open sandwich on a doorstep slice of fresh bread made by local boy Baker Tom (who has a bakery in Redruth and a shop right across the road from De Wynns, too). Nicely accompanied by homemade lemonade.

replacing the jam with syrup or treacle for a very Cornish experience– known in these parts as Thunder and Lightning.

I can't resist the De Wynns traditional afternoon tea, which includes a smoked salmon sandwich, a scone (baked daily on the premises), and the crème-de-la-crème of clotted creams – Rodda's. I am delighted at having to make four different choices to hone my final selection. I opt for: granary bread; Assam tea; a plain scone; jam and cream. What else would you have with your scone, you might well ask? And the answer is, replacing the jam with syrup or treacle for a very Cornish experience– known in these parts as Thunder and Lightning.

My research has revealed little more detail about the origins or naming of Thunder and Lightning, so why not come up with your own story? What we do know for sure is that in his history of the Tate & Lyle Syrup Company, Sir Oliver Lyle mused upon why more syrup was sold per person in Cornwall than in the rest of the country. In 1998 syrup consumption in the southwest was still 60 percent above the national average. Perhaps the Thunder and Lighting tradition has something to do with this surprising statistic.

Purists say this dish, and indeed the Cornish cream tea itself, should really be served on a Cornish sweet white bread roll called a split, but the scones at De Wynns are so fresh and scrumptious you won’t mind a bit. Enjoy.

Website | 55 Church Street, Falmouth, TR11 3DS | 01326 319 259 

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