Gateway to all the far west of Cornwall offers, Penzance is a characterful harbour town steeped in history. Its full of great restaurants, shops and galleries and is close to some of Cornwalls best beaches.
PROPERTIES IN, OR CLOSE TO PENZANCE
*Elegant Georgian townhouse
*Sleeps 6 plus 2 in 4 bedrooms
*A short stroll to the sea front
*Three bath/shower rooms
*Parking with EV charging point
*Spectacular sea views
*Stylishly decorated penthouse
*Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms
*'Just for two' discounts
*Short breaks out of season
*Private parking space
*Secluded & unique cabin
*Wonderful gardens & outside bath
*Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom
*Short breaks out of season
*Private parking space
*Dog friendly except in July/August
MORE ABOUT PENZANCE
300 miles south west of London, Penzance is the end of the train line, and boarding point for the Scillonian Ferry to the Scilly Isles. The name Penzance comes from the Cornish Pen Sans, which means holy headland as a chapel once stood on the point to the west of the harbour more than a millennium ago. The town received various Royal Charters from 1512 onwards and has long been the commercial centre for the Land’s End Peninsula.
Penzance began as a small fishing village and grew to a town in the 14th century. It was a given a charter, a document granting the inhabitants certain rights, in 1332 and Penzance was allowed a weekly market and an annual fair which would last for 7 days. People would come from all over Cornwall to buy and sell at a Penzance fair and in 1404 Medieval Penzance was allowed 2 weekly markets and 3 annual fairs, a sign of its growing importance. However, like all Tudor towns, Penzance suffered from an outbreak of plague. An epidemic hit the town in 1578 and 1647 and then in 1595 the Spanish sacked and burned Penzance, the town took years to recover before the port of Penzance continued to bloom.Beyond the main streets there are some hidden gems in Penzance. Look for the Egyptian House on Chapel Street, and the English Heritage listed Jewish Cemetery, the finest outside London. If great food is high on your list there are plenty of the freshest seafood restaurants to get a taste of one of the many things Penzance is praised for!
PENZANCE - We don't tend to think of Penzance as a beach, but under the promenade wall there's a beach during much of the day, and its darker sand means that the sea often feels a touch warmer. There's good swimming off Battery Rocks behind the lido, and people meet there early every morning to swim to decorated markers out in the bay.
WHERRYTOWN BEACH - a large pebble beach between Penzance and Newlyn. Clean, safe swimming and easy access from the promenade, great for a morning run or dog walking.
MOUSEHOLE - The small patch of sand at the western end of the idyllic Mousehole harbour is not an obvious beach destination, but it can be a great family spot when it's not too busy. The town and harbour wall shelters you from the wind, while the sea in the harbour is safe to swim in and warmer than beyond the wall.
MARAZION - There's plenty of activities available to keep the whole family entertained at Marazion beach. The sandy beach is very safe and there are rock pools to explore around Chapel Rock and Marazion Harbour as well as sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding.
THINGS TO DO...
CHAPEL STREET - Dating back to the mid-18th century Chapel Street is one of the oldest parts of Penzance. Extending up from the Quay, Chapel Street is rich in history and offers an eclectic mix of buildings, pubs and independent shops.
The Turks Head is one of the oldest pubs in the town, dating back to 1233 and steeped in history it was once the family home of Thomas Holloway who went on to become an incredibly rich pill and ointment maker. Have a drink or meal here and you’ll be stepping back in history, enjoying the same public house as pirates and smugglers did some 750 years ago. Competing for the title of the most colourful building on Chapel Street is the Admiral Benbow pub. Named after the 17th century Admiral John Benbow the pub is also famed for being in the opening scene of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The inn was converted from cottages which explains the low ceilings and small paned windows. Inside there is a nautical feel with loads of interesting artefacts form dives such as cannons and bits of ships.
Just up from St Mary’s Church is a small row of houses built from brick. This was usual in the late 18th century as most of the buildings in Penzance were built from granite. It is said that they were referred to as Rotterdam Buildings and built with money from Dutch prizes taken by a Penzance privateer. At the time brick was regarded as being of higher status than granite and it was in one of these houses (number 25) that Maia Branwell lived, the mother of Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell Bronte.
GARDENS - Tanglewood wild garden is four miles west of Penzance and you can see both native and exotic plant species that is nourished by Cornwall’s climate. The informal garden is designed to attract nature and home to butterflies, bees, herons and kingfishers. The brambles, nettles and thistles are left to provide a food source for the insect and the woodlands are inhabited by various species of birds. You can even bring your dog to Tanglewood Garden and enjoy a picnic on the lawn.
Trengwaiton garden is in the grounds of a county house on the edge of town and planted with exotic trees and shrubs suited to the mild climate of Cornwall. The National Trust has run the estate since 1961 and its walled gardens date back to Elizabethan times. The garden boasts species native to Cornwall and has attractive views over Mount’s Bay and across to the Lizard.
JUBILEE POOL - The Jubilee Pool is the UK’s largest sea water lido and the first sea pool to be geothermally heated. It was built during Penzance’s heyday as a fashionable seaside resort and opened in 1935. The lido is grade 2 listed, being recognised as being one of the finest surviving examples of its type. Spend a day relaxing in the sun, taking the occasional refreshing swim and warming back up with a coffee from the café.
SWIMMING - There's also good swimming off Battery Rocks behind the lido, and people meet there early every morning to swim to decorated markers out in the bay. Every year on the last Friday of August there is an annual charity race from Newlyn Green to the Jubilee Pool 1,300 meters away, entered into by several hundreds of swimmers.
PARKS - Penzance has several lovely parks, in particular look for Penlee Gardens where there are often open air performances in the summer and an excellent public art gallery, and Morrab Gardens where on a sunny day you could close your eyes and be transported to the tropics.
ARCADE - Feeling nostalgic? Penzance has it all, from bowling to air hockey and everything in between! Venture off of the tracks from The Promenade to across the road to The Grand Casino, the perfect way to end another perfect day in Cornwall. The seaside amusements has great prices available and a range of traditional games for maximum enjoyment! Don’t forget to count up your tickets in the ticket machine to leave the amusements with a wonderful prize!
GOLOWAN - On the last weekend of June Penzance hosts Golowan and Mazey Day celebrations. Golowan means the Feast of St John and since its revival in 1990 it has grown into a major event, attracting tens of thousands of visitors celebrating the midsummer. Mazey Eve takes place around the harbour area of Penzance and ends with a large firework display. On Mazey Day the roads of Penzance are closed and stalls line the pavements while local school children, entertainers and other community groups take part in a series of colourful processions. Quay Fair Day ends the weekend with a celebration that is similar in many ways to 'Midsummer Fair' described in the ancient festival with the addition of popular street entertainment.
GALLERIES - The Exchange Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that opened in 2007 in conjunction with renovations to the historic Newlyn Art Gallery. The gallery occupies a former telephone exchange with a glass façade that runs the entire length of the building. It is also used as a project space by artists and curators.
SHOPPING & EATING...
With plenty of fascinating vintage, gift and collectable shops, many hours can be filled tucked away in all of the fascinating arcades and back alleys off Chapel Street. Penzance as a wide range of independent, quirky shops whether you're shopping for a small souvenir or a big birthday. Try Circa 21 for handmade jewellery, gifts and homeware or Pure Nuff Stuff for natural skincare products in the highly unusual Egyptian House.
45 Queen Street is home to the delicious Tinkture Gin. This old industrial warehouse just off Chapel Street in Penzance is the perfect spot for delicious drinks and nibbles. Usually open Fridays and Saturdays but keep an eye on their Instagram for updated information.
Totti is a great little pizza shop where you can also pick up some Italian treats.
Tremenheere Kitchen is set within the sculpture gardens, serving breakfast and lunches in their lovely indoor space or outdoor tables overlooking Penzance and the bay. They also do a great roast on Sundays.