Penzance, Cornwall

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Penzance is a lively seaside town on the western tip of Cornwall made famous by pirates (not the Caribbean kind, but Penzance’s very own).

Things to do in Penzance

For any trip to the area, there is only one place to start: St Michael’s Mount. Located round the bay from Penzance, this iconic island is connected to the mainland by a cobbled causeway and houses a historic castle, garden and island community.  The views from the top will be worth the walk and you’ll get to see Penzance from a completely different perspective.  

If you are keen to discover all that Penzance has to offer, take a leisurely stroll round the local Penzance Town Trail, which covers the key landmarks including Grade II listed St John’s Hall, the statue of renowned chemist and inventor Humphry Davy, the Egyptian House, Jubilee Pool (an Art Deco seawater lido) and sub-tropical Morrab Gardens.

One of the highlights of any trip to Penzance is a visit to the Penlee House Gallery and Museum, a lovely day out during all weathers. There are regular exhibitions where you can learn about the history and culture of west Cornwall , buy some lovely gifts from the shop, and round off the day with a traditional Cornish Cream Tea in the Orangery Café.

I find I am always on the lookout for local artistic talent, searching for those ‘one of a kind’ pretty but unique gifts that bring joy to my nearest and dearest. Penzance’s hidden treasures can be found if you know where to look; Cornwall Contemporary, St Justin and Number 36 to name a few.

Probably the most unique time of year to visit Penzance is on 21 December when the town holds its annual Montol Festival. This event celebrates traditional Cornish midwinter and Christmas customs, where you’ll see guise dancing, the Lord of Misrule leading processions in the streets, and lighting the yule log.

Places to eat and drink

f you’ve worked up an appetite after all that walking, you can find some good local food at the Cork & Fork, which serves up fresh local produce accompanied by a nice glass of vino. Alternatively, for something to enjoy while on the move, there is Fraser’s Fish & Chips which serves up all your traditional fishy delights.

Aside from being a seafood lover, if you also enjoy a sweet treat, head to Willy Wallers Ice Cream Factory serves up homemade Cornish ice cream – what more could you ask for?! 

There are plenty of good watering holes, y to choose from: the Turks Head, the oldest pub in Penzance. Not only does it offer local craft drinks but also fresh, seasonal food which is a ‘win win’ in my book. Another old pub is The Dolphin Tavern dating back to 1585 where it served as John Hawkin’s HQ, recruiting Cornishmen to fight in the Armada: history and a pint all rolled into one, cheers!

Penzance caters for every type of traveller, from ocean lovers who enjoy surfing and fishing to art enthusiasts, foodies, history lovers and those who are happy to breeze along the seafront taking in their surroundings. It really is a beautiful part of the country that you’d love to return to again and again. Time to go pack, happy holidays!

Check out more things to do in Cornwall

Image credit: Tony Armstrong-Sly via Flickr