West Cornwall's capital town
Penzance is located to the western side of mounts bay, which runs from the Lizard (the most southerly point of mainland Britain) to Land's End.
With its sub-tropical gardens, busy working port, fishing industry, superb promenade and charming shopping streets, Penzance has enormous appeal. Easy reached by road and rail and with helicopter and ferry links to the Isles of Scilly, Penzance is the ideal centre for touring the area.
For hundreds of years Penzance has been the trading centre for West Cornwall, with a rich variety of shops and services plus strong links with communities in the area.
In 1595 reports came in that the Spanish were landing at Newlyn and Mousehole which were soon followed by attacks on Penzance itself. They were eventually repelled by a small group of determined Cornishmen under the command of Sir Francis Godolphin, but not before they had burned down most of the town.
In 1663, Charles II made Penzance a new coinage town for the tin mining industry, removing this privilege from Bodmin and Lostwithiel at the same time and thus marking the westward movement of mining activity.
Look behind the high street signs and you will still find a town with an exciting and unique character. Many unusual shops are hidden in backstreets and arcades, with items that are often hard to find anywhere else.
The town has many historic buildings to loiter over, particularly the picturesque chapel street, with its antique shops and the gleaming colours of the National Trust owned Egyptian House. A plaque at No. 25 marks the home of the mother of the Bronte sisters, Maria Branwell. The street leads down to the sea and memories of pirates and bygone centuries still linger with the Admiral Benbow, the old Turk's Head pub and the rich display of the lighthouse museum.
There are charming Regency squares and terraces as well as charming Victorian buildings including the Market House and St. John's Hall, which houses the Cornwall Geological Museum. Penzance boasts the only promenade in Cornwall on which the Victorian Jubilee Open Air Bathing Pool is to be found.
The church of St. Mary was built to the design of Charles Hutchins of St. Buryan in 1836.
Birthplace of Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the miners safety lamp, whose statue stands outside Market House.
The modern Golowan festival in Penzance started in 1990 as an attempt to revive many of the traditions stated above and has grown into one of the UK's most distinctive festivals. The core of the modern festival is 3 days in late June known as Mazey Eve, Mazey Day and Quay Fair Day. Mazey Eve takes place around the harbour area of Penzance and includes a popular election of the 'Mayor of Quay' and a large firework display. The following day - Mazey Day is a large community and arts celebration. Artists, Schools and members of the public take part in a series of processions that include music, giant sculptures and variety of other artistic activities.
Due to its latitude, Penzance offers a warmer climate than the rest of Britain. Palm trees and sub-tropical plants are not uncommon in the many gardens and hotels.
Penzance is the terminus of the main railway line which runs from London Paddington via Plymouth, with regular services.
The town's Tourist Information Centre is at Station Road, Tel: (01736) 362207.
The Turks Head Inn in Chapel Street is the oldest pub and restaurant in Penzance and was much used by pirates and smugglers in years gone by.
Marazion Newlyn Penzance Youth Hostel St. Michael's Mount Polgoon Vineyard
National Lighthouse Museum Sir Humphry Davy Trengwainton Garden Trewidden Garden Cornwall's Ferrys
Chysauster Ancient Village Penlee House Art Gallery & Museum The Coastal Footpath