This was an impromptu trip that took off as a way to kill upwards of six hours while the rest of my family was engaged in the state Karate Tournament at Sreepuram School in Kannur proper. As it turned out, the detour turned out to be entirely satisfying, although the hot sun drained me out by the end of the day.
About 3.5KM from the beach area via normal city streets gets you to the Stadium Complex, the mecca of shopping. There are tons of street vendors selling all kinds of stuff from the Railway Station Bridge onwards. The stadium building and the adjacent areas also host a number of retail outlets including Khadi & Handloom shops. Another 2.5KM on the main road (NH17) got me back to Sreepuram School. Overall, it took 7 hours including all the stops. A not-to-be missed attraction that is not in this itinerary is Muzhappilangad Drive-in-beach, supposedly the only one in South India. It is about 15KM South from the downtown area followed by a small detour. Thalassery Fort and Bekkal Fort are other attractions in the vicinity - the former is around 1 hour on the way back to Ernakulam while Bekkal Fort is 1.5 hours North of Kannur - of the two, Bekkal is the more famous one.
Last Updated: 08/2014.
For the first leg to Fort St. Angelo (aka Kannur Kotta, Entrance is Free, Open 8AM to 6PM all days) I opted to take a city bus as all the people I inquired with suggested that as the best way. One could either get down at the State Bank stop or the next one (New Private Bus Stand). The area around Fort St. Angelo is very well maintained and is very walkable as most of it is under the control of Cannore Cantonment (Indian Army). The walk from the bus stop is around 3KM. The last 2KM is pretty nice as there is lot of greenery around you. The fort itself is also very well maintained and there is plenty of well-groomed space inside. One spot that can be easily missed inside the fort area is the underground cell. There are no markings and for the casual observer, it just looks like a pothole. The location is to the seaside, opposite the restrooms just below the third “wind” tree. On a bright day, you can see the inside of the cell pretty clearly. Other places of interest inside the fort include the horse barracks, the cannons, and a church (entry inside is prohibited). You can access the seashore from several spots and one can easily spot crayfish as the waves hit the rocks and retreat. The prawn hatchery run by Matsyafed and the old pier are next to the fort as well. Food can be a problem as there are no good restaurants in the vicinity. There is a small shack run by Matsyafed in the compound - they have fish meals as the only lunch option and it is fairly basic.
Arakkal Museum (nominal entrance fee, 8AM to 6PM all days) is around 1.5KM from the fort. Most of that walk is also fairly pleasant although the last half kilometer can be smelly as you have to go past the fish market. The museum itself is on a heritage house and showcases the possessions of the only Muslim royal family in Kerala. Baby Beach is located around 2.5KM from Arakkal Museum and the name really is a misnomer as it is just a rocky seashore with a good view - the nice thing for walkers is that the wind can really help you cool down. The walk again is very pleasant as you are crossing through the cantonment - the area has several attractions that showcases the army such as battle-tanks and such.
Payyambalam Beach is a 3KM walk from Baby Beach and it is through some of the nicest residential areas in Kannur. The last half kilometer is again a drag as the area close to the beach is not well-maintained. The main beach access is cordoned-off by a garden and there is a nominal fee for entry into the garden. There is a pretty rundown horse-riding school within the premises as well. Also, a restaurant building is also present although they have very modest offerings: light snacks and coffee/tea, etc. The garden or the beach are good areas to hang-out.
Last Updated: 08/2014.