Arriving at the coastal town of Penzance, Cornwall, can feel like arriving at the end of the line. Actually, it is the end of the First Great Western train line, where trains run all the way from London Paddington. It certainly is a fair old way, albeit a beautiful journey, however you travel there.
So, it’s perhaps not surprising that people often greet talk of trips to the very west of our country with, ‘Cornwall? Lovely! Such a long way to travel though…’ However, it took us just five-and-a-half hours, door-to-door and by car, from southeast London to our hotel in Penzance. The A30, completed as recently as 2007, means that Cornwall is more accessible than ever. It’s pretty much one road in and out. Or, you can always catch that train, which takes a beautifully scenic route through countryside and sea views. You can even fly on down to Newquay.
Sunset on Penzance promenade
Let’s shake this idea that Cornwall, and it’s westerly town of Penzance, is ‘oh so far way’. When the weather isn’t great, it is wide open to the powerful elements, dramatic in shades of grey and at the same time, ethereal. When the sun shines, it is akin to any rugged, golden coast of Australia, with beaches stretching for miles and sea the colour of sparkling turquoise gemstones.
I like to think of Penzance as like a gateway to west Cornwall. The chocolate-box harbour village of St Ives, the striking silhouette of St Michael’s Mount, the surfing bays of Sennen Cove and the wonderous Minack Theatre are all within sight or around a 15-minute drive.
Penzance hotel reviews:
Artist Residence Cornwall, Penzance
What to see in Penzance:
The town, houses and public gardens
It’s not a huge place, but it is pretty hilly. I’d say, ditch the map and take a wander. We came across lots of fun houses, with palm trees planted all over, and pretty public parks and sub-tropical gardens, like the Morrab Gardens or Penlee Park, this way. The main shopping street is a little bit tired and, dare I say, dingy, but is pretty typical of British seaside towns. There are some gems, like the old Savoy movie theatre. Just don’t get taken in by the chain pasty shops – head to the Cornish Hen delicatessen, for fresh locally produced fodder, (chorizo scotch eggs!), instead!
Parks in Penzance are plentiful!
The promenade and Jubilee Pool
Stroll down the promenade in Penzance, from the harbour, past the art deco Jubilee lido and you can walk all the way to the village of newly (where I hear the best ice cream shop is!). The promenade is the longest in Cornwall, finished in 1893. There are a few good play parks and some ‘restaurants’ along the way. I would recommend getting fish and chips from new chippy, Fraser’s. Surely you wouldn’t consider eating anything else when strolling along the prom?
Fraser’s fish and chips – try the hake and pea fritters!
Don’t be shy of the promenade arcade. There is a bowling alley in there!
What to see near Penzance:
This long stretch of beach, part of the South West Coast path, which the railway runs alongside, separates St Michael’s Mount from Penzance, meaning it is within walking distance. You’ll have earned that cream tea when you get there! Or, it’s around a five minute drive. The Mount is a National Trust island, which you can walk over to in low tide, or catch a boat to at high tide. There’s a medieval castle, and sub-tropical gardens to explore.
Places within a 15 minute drive…
Photo taken on my 33rd birthday! You can have your photo taken with the sign, and the message can be personalised, but it will cost you £10…
Barbara Hepworth studio and gardens, Tate St Ives
Food, glorious food!
Cornish clotted cream teas, pasties, fish and chips, local veg, meat and fish, ice cream… the list goes on!
READ MORE TRAVEL ARTICLES:
Love Cornwall? Read…
CHAPEL HOUSE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL [REVIEW + PHOTOS]
ARTIST RESIDENCE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL [REVIEW + PHOTOS]
CHAPEL HOUSE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL [HOTEL VIDEOS]
ARTIST RESIDENCE, PENZANCE, CORNWALL [ROOM TOUR VIDEO]
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