Kannur district derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town.The old name Cannanore is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. According to one belief, Kannur is a derivation from Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur Municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the deities of the Hinduism, a compound of two words, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and Ur (place) meaning the place of Lord Krishna.
Fort St. Angelos: Fort St. Angelos is in the west of Kannur town. It was built in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francisco De Almeida, with the permission of the Kolathiris, on a promontory jutting into the Lakshadweep sea. The Dutch captured the fort in 1663 and sold it to the Ali Raja of Kannur in 1772 and in 1790 it came into the possession of the British. The British rebuilt it and made it their most important station in Malabar . This fort is in a fairly good state of preservation, though parts of it have collapsed. A few obsolete guns areseeh at the place. The fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
Thalassery Fort: The British arrived in Thalassery in 1683 and errected a goods shed there. They shifted their ommercial capital to Thalassery from Kozhikkode, following obstruction from the Dutch. In 1700, the British built the Thalassery Fort on a small hill called Tiruvellapadkunnu and in 1708, it was strengthened by increasing its height and with bastions. The fort is square structure built of laterite and is distinguished by its massiv ventilated walls and strong flanking bastions. It was here that Raider' captain was imprisoned.The famous St. John's Anglican church is behind this fort.
Muzhappilangad Beach (15.K.M from Kannur and 8 K.M from Thalasseri): Black rocks protect this long ,clean beach from the currents of the deep, making it shallows waters a swimmer's paradise.Perhaps this is Keralas only drive- in beach. Where you can drive entire length of 4 K.m .
Payyambalam Beach Resort: The Payyambalam beach is one of the beautiful beaches in this State and is an ideal place to spend evenings, irrespepcti ve of seasons. It is very near Kannur town. ,The mortal remains or' Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pilla, A.K. Gopalan, K.P. Gopalan, Pamban Madhavan and K.G. Marar are laid to rest near this resort.
Ezhimala: Ezhimala, the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings, is considered to be an ancient historical site. It is a onspicuous,isolated cluster of hills, forming a promontory, 38 kms. north of Kannur.
A flouriIshing sea port and centre of trade in ancient Kerala, it was one of the major battle fields of the Chola-Chera war of the II th century .I It is believed that Lord Budha had visited Ezhimala. An old mosque, believed to contain the mortal remains of Shaikh Abdul Latif, a Muslim retormlst, is also located here. The hill is noted for rare medicinal herbs. Bordered by sea on three sides, Ezhimala is set to occupy a prominent place in the naval history of the country, consequent to the proposal for ommissioning the N.aval Academy here.
Malayalakalagramam (29 K.M from Kannur): This renowned centre for arts and culture at New Mahe conduct courses in painting, sclpture,music, dance and pottery
Pazhassi Dam (37K.M. east of kannur): An ideal retreat for rourists ,the damsite is famous for its scenic beauty. The D.T.P.C provides pleasure boating faciliaties at the reservoir. Accommodation is available at the Project Inspection Bungalow and its dormitories.
Pythal Mala (65 km from Kannur Town): This enchanting hill station ,situated 4,500 ft. above sea level near the Kerala - Karnataka border ,is rich in flora and fauna. It is a 6 km trek to the top of the hills.
Gundert Bungalow (20.K.M.from Kannur, near Thalasseri twon on the national high way at Illikunnu): Dr. Herman Gundert, the revered German Missionary, scholar,lexicographer lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839.It was here that one of the first malayalam dictionaries and the first malayalam newspaper Rajyasamacharam took shape.
Snake Park at Parassinikkadavu: The Snake Park at Parassinikkadavu is situated 18 kms. Away from Kannur town. It Is one of the known snake parks in the country . The park is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of snakes, most of which are becoming extinct gradually. There is a large collection of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.
Moppila Bay: Moppila Bay is a natural fishing harbour, lying near Fort St. Angelos. A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water. The bay was famous during the Kolathiris' regime as a commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Lakshadweep and foreign countriea, in imports. Today , Mopilla bay has turned into a modernised fishing harbour,
developed under the Indo-Norwegian Pact.