“ Penzance (Cornish: Pensans) is a civil parish and port town in the Penwith district of Cornwall, England, UK. Granted various Royal Charters from 1512 onwards and incorporated in 1614, it has a population of 21,168 people and is currently Penwith's principal town. Situated in the shelter of Mount's Bay, the town faces southeast onto the English Channel, is bordered to the west by the fishing port of Newlyn and stretches towards the small town of Marazion in the east. The town's location gives it a temperate climate that makes it warmer than most of the rest of Britain. „
When we decided to spend a few days in Cornwall, we didn't make a conscious decision to stay in Penzance. We wanted a reasonably priced guest house that had parking on site or nearby, and about four months prior to our departure I found four places that fitted the bill. My son's partner picked two of them, one in St Ives and one in Penzance, but when I returned to their websites the St Ives guest house no longer had vacancies. I booked the guest house in Penzance, and as it turned out we were very pleased that we stayed there.
Penzance is a town situated on the south coast of Cornwall; it's not as trendy or fashionable as St Ives, retaining something of a traditional air. Whether you travel by road or rail, you are likely to approach it from the east and will catch sight of one of the area's major attractions, St Michael's Mount, just before you reach Penzance. The road passes through the eastern outskirts of the town where, fortunately, the supermarkets and fast food outlets appear to be situated. Our guest house, like many others, was on Alexandra Road, and to get to it we had to pass through the town centre with its imposing domed building that houses Lloyd's bank and its nucleus filled with small shops and eateries.
The proprietress of the Dunedin Guest House where we stayed explained to us on our arrival that we could take a shortcut through Penlee Gardens to get to the town centre; it was only a few minutes' walk and proved to be a very pleasant one. Penlee Gardens has tennis courts, a garden of remembrance and even a small outdoor theatre as well as an expanse of grass with plenty of trees and flowers to admire. We then turned away from the shops and in less than five minutes were on the promenade with its screaming seagulls. To the west we could see the fishing port of Newlyn, and to the east we were able to feast our eyes again on St Michael's Mount. Penzance has an outdoor pool on the beach that seemed to be popular with families, and a notice announced that kayaking was a new attraction there too.
Penzance proved to be an ideal base from which to explore the south-western tip of Cornwall. It is only three miles along the coastal road to Marazion, a small market town from whose beach there is access along a causeway to St Michael's Mount. We drove there late on our first afternoon and found a large car park by the shore. Unfortunately we were just too late to walk out to the Mount, as the tide was just turning and the causeway would soon be submerged. We went to have a bite to eat on the terrace of the Godolphin Arms, from where there is a superb view of the Mount. On our last morning we toyed with the idea of taking the boat trip out to the Mount as the tide was high, but sadly there was a strong wind and no boats were sailing that day. At low tide, however, Marazion beach is an ideal place for children to build sandcastles and have space to run around on the sand.
Our second day saw us heading off to Porthcurno Bay and the Minack Theatre, which are only about eight miles from Penzance and well worth a visit. From there we continued to Land's End, and it was only about half an hour's drive back to our guest house. The third day we set off to St Ives which is on the northern coast but again only about half an hour by road. Seeing how difficult it was to drive around the narrow streets of St Ives and find a place to park made us particularly glad that we were staying in Penzance. After visiting Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, I wandered down to the harbour and considered going for a drink in a cafe, but it was so crowded everywhere that I made a beeline back to Penzance. The two major galleries in St Ives left a lasting impression on me, but I also spent a delightful hour one afternoon at the Penlee House Gallery and Museum in Penzance, which had an exhibition of Dame Laura Knight's paintings at the time. After returning home I was disappointed to discover that there is another gallery in Penzance, the Exchange on Princes Street, that I hadn't found during my stay. It exhibits contemporary art and is linked to Newlyn Art Gallery. Entry to the Exchange is free, and it is free to Penlee House on Saturdays.
The proprietress of our guest house recommended two restaurants in Penzance to us, and one of these was the Navy Inn. This is actually a pub that serves food and is just off the promenade on Queen Street. We went there on our last evening in Penzance, and we all agreed that the fish we had was the best we had ever tasted, unsurprisingly perhaps as it was fresh fish from Newlyn. The desserts were wonderful too. The other recommendation was for the Meadery; we thought of going there for lunch on our final day but discovered that the restaurant didn't open until 6pm. We had lunch at the Duke Street Cafe in Newlyn instead and had no regrets about our choice. On our first day we wanted something light for a late lunch and ventured into the tiny deli called The Cornish Hen in the centre of Penzance. I enjoyed my first taste of homity pie there, and their coffee is to be recommended too. Less successful was our visit to the Lavender Delicatessen, where the genuine Cornish pasties left a lot to be desired. On my return from St Ives I came across the Cappuccino Express where I resisted the temptation of a cream tea but had a delectable blueberry muffin with my cappuccino. Their sandwiches were reasonably priced and looked huge. I remembered that the only Penzance eatery mentioned in Harden's Guide was the Honeypot Cafe, but unfortunately I didn't discover its whereabouts until I was heading to catch my train home. It certainly looked to have an interesting menu.
Penzance town centre has an eclectic mix of shops where you can find anything from Tesco Express and the Co-op to pricey art and souvenir shops and tiny antique shops chock full of horse brasses and bric-a-brac. I needed a gift for my brother (as he was looking in on my cat) and found a beautiful ceramic lizard in a shop that sold handmade soap. There is a sizeable post office, at least two photographic shops, several pharmacies and even a cinema for those rainy days. The most unusual sight is the Egyptian House, which to me should have been called the Pharaonic House, with its spectacular facade.
Penzance has a railway station down by the harbour, and there is a car park nearby. Trains run to Plymouth and London Paddington as well as cities further north, and there is a branch line that runs along the picturesque coast to St Ives. The station has a cafe and a shop adjacent to a decent waiting room. The bus station is right beside it, and there are bus services to local towns and villages such as Marazion, Newlyn, Land's End and St Ives. Long-distance bus and coach services run to and from Penzance. Several companies run sightseeing and fishing boat trips from Penzance harbour. For a trip with a difference, you could go by helicopter to the Scilly Isles, and there is also a ferry service to the isles.
I would definitely recommend Penzance as a base to stay in to explore the south-western peninsula of Cornwall. If you are looking for a guest house, the Dunedin is a good choice; if you are on a tight budget, Penzance Backpackers is on the same street. Penzance may seem a little old-fashioned compared to St Ives, but it is also relatively unspoilt, less crowded and easier to drive around. With attractions such as St Michael's Mount, the Minack Theatre and Land's End just a few miles away, its location is ideal. Newlyn is within walking distance and is well worth a visit if you are looking for unspoilt towns and villages. I would happily return to Penzance if I have another opportunity to visit Cornwall.
Penzance is a medium sized town in the South West of England. The town is one of the most easterly towns in the UK and lies in the county of Cornwall. This is a coastal town and also a very well known port. Penzance has a population of around twenty two thousand people, however in the summer months the town can get very busy as this is a real hot spot for the tourism industry. Penzance has been attracting visitors from all over the country for many years and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.
If you are looking for hotels in the town then there are plenty to choose from. Whether it's large luxury accommodation or just a simple bed and breakfast you should find what you are looking for here. Some of the more well known hotels include The Hotel Penzance, Higher Faugan Parc and The Beachfield Hotel. These all have good reputations for a high standard of rooms and an excellent service. There are also plenty of privately owned holiday homes in this area, some of them are set in stunning scenery and provide really nice self catering accommodation. If you want a cheaper option there are a few good quality camp sites in the area.
As this area is so popular with tourists there is plenty to do in the town itself. There are all the practical shops you would expect but there are also lots of interesting gift shops to look round. Many of these sell local arts and crafts and some strange little souvenirs which can be ideal if you are looking for a gift for someone. The town also has a few very good fishing shops, this is a popular area for sea fishing so if you are looking for supplies you should find what you need here.
There are many places near Penzance that merit a visit. This is the closest major town to Lands End which is the most South Easterly point in the UK. This is a very popular spot with visitors and if you have never been it is well worth a visit. Another nearby place is the Minack Theatre. This is a large outdoor theatre that had been carved out of the cliff face. It truly is an amazing spectacle and if you get the chance to go and see a play here it is something you will never forget. Make sure you book tickets well in advance though as this is a very popular theatre and it's reputation is steadily growing!
This really is a beautiful part of the country. There are lots of quaint little villages and wonderful beaches in this area. The town itself has plenty to offer and this really is a great place to spend some time. Next time you are in the South West you really should go and visit Penzance.
I first went to Penzance for a visit in 1995. I went with my parents who had recently moved down here and were trying to convince me that living this far south was a good idea (we previously lived in the north east, so this was a pretty extreme move). Penzance definately did not convince me. The train journey from Truro took 45 minutes, when we got there it was raining the heavy misty sort of rain that is referred to a 'mizzle' down here. It was not a nice day. Penzance itself looked grey and grim, all concrete and tarmac. The sea looked cold and uninviting, and the jubilee pool looked like the last place anyone would want to swim. The pool reminded me of a fairly unclean caravan site's leisure facilities- they always look really good in photos, but when you get there you realise you value your health too much to use them. The day out was not a sucess. I stayed in Cornwall for a week or two, and then ended up living with relatives in Scarborough for a while. Its strange the way things go, because these days I spend loads of time in Penzance. I'm out there most weekends, from Saturday to Tuesday morning, and then I go back again on Wednesday evening, and come back to Truro on Thursday. Ok, so the reason I do this is because my boyfriend lives there, but the town has really grown on me. The journey on the train towards Penzance is a pleasant one. The scenery is amazing, especially as you travel from St Erth station along the coast. There is a stunning view of St Michael's Mount, nestled in the curve of the bay which stretches along from Marazion to Penzance itself. For those of you who surf, if you can see spray on the mount this means that there will be surf on the south coast. In the summer, the sea is a deep welcoming blue/green. In places from the train its hard to tell that there's anything between you and the sea, so it feels like the train is travelling along the beach. Penzance has recently undergone a revamp
. As soon as you leave the train station this becomes apparent. The old dirty bus stands have gone, and been replaced with as series of little white 'hats' on sticks. Just outside the station, the pavement is laid with the design of a huge map of Cornwall with all of the bays, beaches and coves laid out and named. There are Cornish flags at intervals along the side of the station, and although the design is pretty idiosyncratic, it still works. Across the road from the station, if you walk towards the town, you come across my favourite crossing in Cornwall- basically because if you press the buttons on the crossing, within five seconds the traffic signals have changed. Its a very small thing, but I like it! Penzance isn't the most decorative of places, but it does give you a good feel of a thriving fishing town. The harbour is still used, and the waiting list of boats to get moorings in there is five years long at the moment. Walking along the road by the harbour you get to a bridge which covers the space between the harbour and the wet dock. If you time your days right, you get to see the bridge rotating to let a boat out of the wet dock and into the harbour. Continuing along the road towards the main prom, you walk past another part of the harbour where the large ships and working boats are kept. If you explore this area, walking right down towards the sea, there is a lock which you can occasionally walk across depending on the tide. The town has an amazing number of pubs, many of which serve good quality Cornish ales. They are friendly places, there are a some where you get the cliched occurance of everyone going silent and looking at you when you go into them, but these are few and far between. If you are here for a while, you find that after four or five visits to one, you become a local to that pub. I recommend the Peruvian Arms, which is across the friendly crossing, and up hill from the station in a straight line. They serve a
really good pint of IPA, a light Cornish bitter which I would highly recommend. They don't serve food, but are quite happy for you to bring your own. The pub is owned by the brother of the Cornish comedian, Jethro, but the landlady, Debbie, is the real mistress of the place, and a mine of information about Penzance. The town isn't renowned for its shops, there are some good ones though, in amoung the charity shops and takeaways. Turning left after the crossing outside the station, if you walk along the road there are some really good clothes boutiques. They're quite small, but well worth a look. The main shopping center has an Iceland, MVC and a few other usual high street shops, but the jewel in the crown of the shopping center is a cafe which overlooks the harbour and the bay. The views from here are magnificent, and they do a really good hot milkshake. The main shopping street is Causeway Head. The street is pedestrianised, and paved with cobble stones, giving it an olde worlde feel. The cinema is up this street, although it only has two screen and occasional sound problems. There's a variety of quite unusual shops and galleries, including Mounts Bay Trading Company. I go in here to drool over the clothes and furniture occasionally, its way out of my price range, but they sell some really gorgeous stuff! All in all the town has a very well-lived in and well-loved feel to it. I always enjoy the time I spend here, the community is really friendly, and its easy to get to know people. If you're here as a tourist, the harbour is well worth a visit, and just outside town there is a heliport from which you can fly out to the Scillies for £80.00 return. There are ghost walks in the summer occasionally, if you'd like to learn more about local history, Cornish folklore and the smuggling profession. I'd recommend a visit to the Lighthouse museum down by the harbour too, its an informative place to visit, and like many parts of P
enzance, has its own eccentric charm.
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As a lover of Cornwall in general, it is rather hard to know why I particularly like Penzance as it certainly isn't a pretty fishing village, nor does it have huge beaches with high surf, but like it I do, for the following reasons. Firstly,Penzance has a unique character from all the other larger towns in Cornwall.It has a colourful harbour which is always full of cargo and travel vessels as well as smaller fishing boats.The harbour itself overlooks St Michael's Mount which can be approached at low tide by foot from Marazion, a small village a mile or two away from Penzance.On a fine day St Michaels Mount stands out beautifully in a clear blue calm sea and on a stormy day it is still a quite spectacular sight with the waves crashing against the sides of the rock beneath which the Monastery stands. There is a good selection of shops in Penzance, although you will find many of the larger stores are located in Truro. A new shopping arcade has recently opened however and I believe Littlewoods and W.H.Smith can now be located there.I personally find the back streets of Penzance far more appealing. These still retain the essence of the fishing village it once was with narrow roads and cobblestones. It is down these back roads that you will come across old worlde fishermen's pubs, indeed one pub I visited last year had a resident seagull who came for his dinner regularly each day. If you do ever visit this area,look out for the model pirate with his telescope looking out to sea. You will find him located on the roof of one of these small back street pubs. There are many restaurants or cheaper cafes to eat in. I would recommend you walk along the seafront to the the little teashop almost next door to the Arcade if you want a reasonable and decent cheap meal or drink. It has changed its name recently so I'm not sure what it is now called, but it is the only teashop by the arcade and the walk along the prom is very invigorating
. There are things to do in Penzance for all the family. As I've stated above, there is an arcade for all the betting machine addicts. There is even a really good bowling alley where the kids can play indoors while mum and dad have a tea or coffee overlooking the harbour....(great on a rainy day).Here you will also find games like ludo, etc., for them to play with free of charge to pass away an hour or so. On a fine day, the outdoor swimming pool is now open again, having been cleaned and maintained over the last couple of years and if you really must have a beach, there is a small one in Penzance although it certainly isn't one of Cornwall's best. For antique lovers, there are dozens, located throughout the back streets where it is often possible to pick up a bargain if you look carefully. Although I don't personally actually stay in Penzance,it is an ideal touring location as almost all of Cornwall is easily reached from here, perhaps with the exception of the far North and South. St Ives is a very short drive away, as is Hayle, Mousehole and Porthleven. Indeed the places it is possible to visit are too many for me to talk about here. It is also possible to visit the Isles of Scilly from Penzance, travelling either by ship or helicopter. Personally, I found the boat journey, long and tedious and would not recommend it for anyone with small children, especially if they are only planning to stay one day on the Isles....it just isn't worth it as the journey is about 2/3 hours. I wont keep writing, I personally feel if an opinion is too long it becomes a little boring, but take my advice if you are visiting Cornwall and go to Penzance at least for a day, it is well worth the experience.