Lots to see and do, good shopping, excellent transportation facilities to take you all over West Cornwall.
Crowded in summer,
The "real" Cornwall for sure
If you're in west Cornwall, give coasteering a go with Kernow Coasteering, who are based in Penzance. This exhilarating activity will allow you to get up close and personal with the stunning cliffs in the Lands End area. You'll don a wetsuit,helmet and buoyancy aid to help you explore the cliffs by swimming, scrambling and jumping your way along....more
Regent Square was built from local granite in 1839 specifically to house the local 'gentry' (upper-middle-class wealthy residents).The square is absolutely lovely, with the buildings beautifully maintained. The house prices reflect its ongoing exclusivity!The surrounding streets were also built around the same time, so it really is worth a small...more
St Mary's stands on a hillock near the sea, a prominent landmark for those out on the water.There has been a place of worship on the site since at least the 1200s, when a small chapel (from which the street gets its name) stood there. This building was enlarged over the centuries but the church you see now dates only from 1834, when the structure...more
I had never associated Penzance with the Brontes at all. Charlotte ('Jane Eyre'), Emily ('Wuthering Heights', Anne ('The Tenant of Wildfell Hall') and their rather sad drug-addict brother Branwell (there were two other siblings) are so strongly tied to Yorkshire , and to Haworth in particular, that I doubt many people realise there are links...more
I've looked at a lot of buildings in a lot of English cities, towns and villages over the years and have never seen anything like this oddity.All things Egyptian were hugely in fashion at the start of the 1800s. The Egyptian House was built around 1835 and its whole frontage is decorated with everything and anything Egyptian.It is not certain who...more
Chapel Street leads off Market Square and has some of the oldest buildings in Penzance.It also has the rather magnificent Egyptian House (see separate tip).You'll find more Georgian four-square buildings, 'The Turk's Head' pub (supposedly dating from the 1200s, though the existing building dates from at least the 1600s), tiny stone fisherman's...more
The Beachfield Hotel is a cosy white Victorian style building facing the Penzance promenade. Located...more
First of all...this is *not* a hotel. So don't expect an elevator, a bar, evening meals, porters....more
The Abbey is a rare gem, a hotel that refuses to enter the modern world, choosing instead to linger...more
There are J.D. Wetherspoon's pubs all over England. Their beer is good and reasonably-priced, and their food menus are also reasonably-priced (and edible). Although a chain, each pub is different (most were in existence as pubs before Wetherspoons took them over).A combination of tiredness, lack of money and rain meant I decided to eat in the...more
The Admiral Benbow is a short distance away from The Turk's Head, still on Chapel Street.It's an old building, originally cottages, and has an entirely unique interior, crammed with marine-related ephemera (quite a lot has, apparently, been discovered by local divers in the many local wrecks). There are two eating rooms upstairs (which I did not...more
The Turk's Head is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall, with a secret passage to the harbour to assist in smuggling exploits and 'priests' holes' for hiding Catholic priests during anti-Catholic times. The pub is supposed to date back to 1233, when Penzance was invaded by Turks, and is said to be the first of its name in the UK.The existing building...more
By the sea side, with a garden cafe as well as indoors for the rainy day!!! Lovely elegant style, a place with home made food and a very friendly atmosphere!!! Delicious food and excellent value for money!!! CORNISH PASTIES of course!!! And pastries and lovely Indian teas as well!!!more
More aesthetic on the outside than on the inside, this moderately sized restaurant lured me through its doorway. Not quite the pirate atmosphere as I was expecting ... i found a family restaurant with a friendly staff running around with sports/games on the television. Disenchanted that I wasn't greeted by pirates ... I took my seat for some grub -...more
This is Pub grub but a cut above with the additions of a great wine selection and fresh fish fixed simply. The days have been drizzly so crowds large but the wait staff fast. My salmon was done to perfection, great salad and fries thick, hot and tasty. Thought I would further test the menu with dessert...excellent summer berry tart with hot...more
very small end-of-the rail station of Great Western, I found it friendly and efficient; even if the hours of operation are tied directly to operating hours. The staff is friendly and the station decor is artistic. The bus station is essentially attached on the outside with a tourist information center. Panoramic views of the coast are just a...more
So many people visiting Cornwall miss out on the Scilly Islands. A great pity - but so much the better for the rest of us!A great sea trip is on the RMS Scillonian III which sails from Penzance harbour to the island of St Mary's in the Islands. She sails 6 days a week (except Sundays) and returns the next day, except at Easter and in August when...more
You can get to Penzance on the A30 or A38 motorways, in your own vehicle or on a coach. There are coach services at the station downtown. The train also terminates at Penzance station, right beside the bus station. Helicopters and ferries are available for transport to and from places like the Isles of Scilly. Once you're here just use your feet -...more
"Books" of Chapel Street is one of the best shops in Cornwall for antique & collectable books. The whole of Chapel Street is perfect for those who love the old and interesting. Vintage shop. several antique shops, vintage clothes. Books about old Cornwall, Retro clothes and design items, old glass etc etc barter !more
The Wharfside Shopping Centre bills itself as "The shopping centre with the best views in the whole country" and they might just be right!It's right alongside the harbour and a short spit from the railway station and the buses. The ground floor is devoted to the "Farmers Market" on Saturdays, with fresh and usually organic foods, including meat and...more
291 Reviews and Opinions
The Feast of St John is celebrated in Penzance with the Golowan Festival. There is a ten day programme of street acts, story telling, films, guided walks, fireworks, market stalls. There are classes in making the famous flags which are on display in the streets. Each year has a particular theme.
It culminates with the parades of "Mazey Day" with the procession which goes up Market Jew Street and down Chapel Street to the harbour, where, carrying blazing torches, they are met by the hobby horse ("Penglaz") and continue with the traditional Serpent Dance.
In 2007 the festival will take place from the 16th to the 24th June
...you may be concerned to see vapour trails in a grid pattern over this part of Cornwall.But don't panic!No, they are *not* chemtrails. They are not the secret sowing of chemicals onto an unsuspecting populace by a devious and secretive world government. This part of the UK is farthest west. The vapour trails come from the numerous planes passing...more
....but Penzance, like any other community anywhere, has its opportunistic thieves.So do use your common sense when visiting, just as you should anywhere. Keep your valuables safely, lock your car and put anything of value in the car trunk, don't kleave your phone or camera lying around on a pub table...Penzance is perfectly safe, but that doesn't...more
Luggage and bags:
Have a day pack or one strap backpack handy for days out in Penzance. There are great shops around - you're gonna buy something and you're gonna need a place to put it.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even in late May it can be really cold down by the water in Penzance, as strong winds can bring in cool air from the sea. Cornwall also gets crazy rain - sometimes it's dry for 20 minutes, pours for 5, clears up beautifully for two hours, suddenly rains for an hour, etc. Bring a waterproof jacket or a sweater and a slicker to stay warm and dry in Spring.
Photo Equipment: I certainly recommend bringing a good digital camera. The views of the mount from around the area are superb, and there is plenty else to photograph as well. We took hundreds of photos in the Penzance area on our last visit.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you're going to stay at a campground in the area bring camping pads to go under your sleeping bag. You'll be really uncomfortable and cold if you don't.
The Chûn Castle is an Iron Age hillfort on the summit of Chûn Downs holding a stronghold with secure views of the north and northwest, onwards to the Atlantic Coast and south towards Mounts Bay. it is roughly 84 meters in diameter with stone walls up to 2.7 meters high and is formed of two concentric rings of granite. There are stone gateposts...more
The Men Scryfa Standing Stone is a standing engrave stone sitting in the middle of a field not far from the infamous Men-an-Tol holey stone monument and the Nine Maidens stone circle. Its early origins is unknown just like with all the other standing stones. "Men Scryfa" translates to "Stone with Writing" as the stone bears early Christian...more
Not far from the Ding Dong Mine and Men-at-tol lies two stone circles next to one another. The one on a small hill-rise I could not determine the name of, but the one elevated a bit from the boggy areas around the shafts of Ding Dong is the "Nine Maidens" or "Boskednan". This circle is in poor condition but considered a very magical place to most...more
If you ask today where to find the Pirates of Penzance, you will be directed to the premises of the Penzance and Newlyn Rugby Football Club, aka "The Pirates".
Originally there were two clubs, in Newlyn and in Penzance, but they amalgamated in1945. Relations between the two were not always harmonious; we are told that between 1929 and 1932, fixtures between the two were cancelled by the police in the interest of public order!
They play today in perfect agreement, and the club is known as fielding a pretty good side. They have regular fixtures with such clubs as Cardiff, Guy's Hospital and the Barbarians who usually do a West Country tour, and the Pirates are not horribly outclassed.
The Mennaye Field where they play is tidily situated about half way between the two towns, and they are heartily supported by the whole of West Penwith.
The advent of the railway in the nineteenth century made the distant areas far more accessible to everybody. But it was the quality of light and the low cost of living that attracted many artists. In France, they went to Concarneau and to Pont Aven in Brittany, in Britain they camel to Newlyn.The first of the painters to settle in the town in 1882...more
Humphrey Davy was born in Penzance, on 17th December 1776. The town has a statue of him and a pub named after him. There is also a chemists, once the apothecarys where he was apprenticed after his father died and where he gained his interest in chemistry. (see above tips.)Davy went to Bristol University at the age of 19 to study science. He became...more
Penzance is a small town and the best to explore it is to wander on foot and discover all those little alleyways. It was while taking a turning off the main street that I found the little chemist where Humphrey Davy had his apprenticeship. Humphrey Davy is a town hero; there is even a pub in Penzance named after him ( the ultimate British...more