With a fascinating history stretching back centuries, Penzance has plenty of stories to tell, including tales of both pirates and smugglers!
Smuggling was prevalent during the 18th and 19th centuries as the Cornish rallied against heavy taxes, with smugglers tunnels running under the Turks Head and Admiral Benbow pubs. And as for Pirates, they really did exist in Cornwall! Pirates resided on Penzance’s shores in the 18th century, eventually leaving in the 19th century, when the USA and UK teamed up to put a stop to piracy.
What to do
Penzance has a certain charm and authenticity which makes it a great choice for your Cornwall holiday, as well as being a lovely base for exploring the surrounding area and Penzance itself. Explore the town and discover its history, go for a stroll or cycle along the promenade, wander the cobbled streets for a spot of shopping and admire the views of St Michael’s Mount just across the bay. If you fancy a dip, go for a swim in the Jubilee Pool, an art deco lido filled with sea water which first opened in 1935.
Other places to visit include Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and Penlee House Gallery and Museum, home to many paintings of local artists from Newlyn Art School. Walk over the causeway during low tide to St Michael’s Mount to explore the castle, gardens and see village life on the island in action. Pay a visit to the golden sands of Marazion for a spot of kayaking or relaxing in the sunshine, before visiting the town itself, perfect for picking up a gift for a friend from an independent shop.
What to eat
With a lovely selection of cafes for coffee, cake or a spot of lunch, plus a choice of pubs for a traditional meal, there are plenty of places to eat. Try out The Turks Head Inn or The Cornish Barn for some delicious locally sourced food and The Waterside Meadery for to get a glimpse of pirate life. Walk along the promenade to Jelbert’s Ice Cream which offers just one flavour, vanilla, and what a gorgeous flavour it is! Add a dollop of clotted cream and a flake on top if you’re feeling fancy. Made locally just up the hill from the harbour, many say Jelbert’s has the best ice cream in Cornwall…
Where to go
The nearby fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole are well worth a visit. Mousehole is a wonderful spot for enjoying a cream tea overlooking the coast and wandering through the charming streets. Newlyn is well known for its artistic heritage and has some great choices for delicious meals, fresh fish and locally made arts and crafts.
For an evening out, head to the Minack Theatre for entertainment and those breath-taking views you’ve seen in photos. If you’re looking for the infamous white sand beaches, head to Porthcurno or Sennen, no more than a thirty-minute drive away. Stop off at Polgoon Vineyard on your way back for a vineyard tour and wine tasting, and don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine (or two!) to take home with you!
Where to stay
From romantic getaways for the two of you to cottages with sea views for the whole family, take your pick from a lovely choice of self-catering accommodation in Penzance here.
Take a look at our Penzance webcam to admire the views…on a clear day you can even spot St Michael’s Mount!