TRURO Cornwall TR3 6LQ
On the south-west coast of Cornwall is the seaside town of Penzance, one of the most westerly major towns of the county and the last stop on the Great Western train line. The town has been a thriving port over the years, and the access by train has made it into a popular tourist destination. The town is a great place to spend a day out when staying at our luxury Cornish cottages. There are lots of fun things to see and do, and the town has a decent artistic community, shown in the number of galleries. Read on to see how you can spend your day here and make the most of your time.
Have an early breakfast at The Valley before heading to Penzance to wander the streets and pop into some of the art galleries. One street to not miss is Chapel Street, running from the centre of town to the harbour. The most historic street in Penzance, Chapel Street has a mix of shops, cafes and pubs to window shop at, with a highlight being the unusual Egyptian House. The colourful Egyptian style on its facade has made the building a landmark of the town. Other places of note on Chapel Street include the Wesleyan Chapel, the Turks Head pub, Admiral Benbow pub and the Rotterdam Buildings.
After admiring the historic buildings, why not take a look at some stunning work from local and international artists at one of Penzance’s many galleries? Around the corner to Chapel Street is The Exchange, a major contemporary art gallery featuring both Cornish and international artists in its innovative space. Also, close by is Penlee House Gallery and Museum at Penlee Park. The gallery specialises in artists from the nearby Newlyn School, and the museum focuses on local history. Other galleries to see include the Lighthouse Gallery, PZ Gallery and Cornwall Contemporary.
After exploring the town and maybe getting some artwork to take home, a hearty meal is in order. Penzance is home to many fantastic eateries you will be spoilt for choice on what’s available. Popular cafes include The Quirky Bird, The Terrace and The Front Room, all located on Market Jew Street. You’ll find the independent, and small cafes in Penzance are proud to serve locally sourced food, some of them even offering the fresh catches of the day.
Penzance takes pride in its maritime heritage, as the harbour has been the lifeblood of the town for hundreds of years. Along with Newlyn, Penzance is the first secure harbour and anchorage on the coast of the English Channel when entering from the Atlantic Ocean. Though the harbour doesn’t see numbers like it did in its heyday, it still operates daily fishing crafts and passenger services to the Isles of Scilly. You can wander around the harbour, spotting the colourful boats which anchor there, and along to the quay and dry dock, where ship come in to get repairs and service.
In between the seafront and town centre is Morrab Gardens; three acres of sub-tropical gardens home to various plants and trees which thrive in the mild climate of the town. Some plants have been grown in the gardens for over a century, including magnolias, camellias, palm trees and banana plants. If the afternoon is warm and sunny, there are other gardens in and around the town to visit too, including Penlee Park, a wooded park with a children’s play area, Victorian pond and sensory garden. Two miles north of Penzance is Trengwainton Gardens which is owned and managed by the National Trust. There are exotic plants from across the world, alongside the spectacular displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Being a coastal town, having a dinner where you sample the best of the local seafood is a must for a visit to Penzance. The town has several popular options such as the Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, The Shore Restaurant and Blacks of Chapel Street. Of course, if you just fancy fish and chips to eat at the quay, there are plenty of choice for that too, and in the summer months, there is nothing better than tucking into some delicious and fresh fish and chips watching the sunset over the harbour!
Do you have any must-dos when visiting Penzance? We’d love to hear about them! In the meantime, take a look at our recent blog posts, from facts about the traditional Cornish pasty to a guide on Cornwall’s castles.