Penzance is the most westerly town of significance in the UK, just 10 miles from Land's End. This lively town is famous for its old port, market, characterful pubs and for the majestic St Michaels Mount which stands in Mounts Bay.
Here are our 5 worthwhile reasons to visit Penzance:
- Even in the far reaches of Cornwall you can find a little taste of Egypt! The Egyptian House in Chapel Street, Penzance was built in 1836 when the craze for Egyptian treasures was at its zenith. The house was designed by Plymouth architect, John Foulson, and said to be modelled on the Temple of Hat-hor at Dendra in Egypt. The ornate faÃ§ade has intricate windows, lotus columns and stylized cornices. Look for the royal coat of arms set into a sphinx!
- Catch the ferry to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance Harbour, or take the speedier route and fly by helicopter from Penzance Heliport. Tresco makes a memorable day trip from Penzance with the abbey gardens and Valhalla Museum.
- Step back in time by visiting the ancient village of Chysauster just outside Penzance. This pre-historic settlement was occupied by the Dumonii tribe from 100BC to 400AD. The ruined remains of the courtyard dwellings clearly show the early village street lined with simple oval houses that were 28 meters long.
- Sample real Cornish fare with a hot Cornish pasty for lunch from Rowe's Bakery. They make some of the best “oggies” in Cornwall along with authentic saffron buns. Continue the regional culinary experience with a famous Cornish cream tea in the garden at Trelew Farm and finish off your Cornish sampling at the Waterside Meadery pub which serves potent mead wine in a variety of fruit flavours.
- No visit to Penzance is complete without walking across the tidal causeway to St Michaels Mount. The mediaeval castle dates back over 1000 years and is crammed with family history and treasures as the island developed from priory to turreted private home.
5 fun facts about Penzance
- The word Penzance comes from the Cornish “pen sans” which means “holy headland”. Over a thousand years ago a chapel stood on the headland west of the harbour, giving the town its name.
- The town's most famous resident was chemist Sir Humphry Davy whose statue can be seen at the top of Market Jew Street. He invented the miner's safety lamp (Davy lamp) among many other achievements.
- Penzance hosts the unique Golowan Festival and Mazey Day celebrations each June. This pagan Celtic festival celebrates midsummer with bonfires and a highly unusual parade of colourful giants!
- The Dolphin Inn, Penzance is thought to be the first place in Britain where tobacco was smoked. The inn accommodated Sir John Hawkins who first brought tobacco to England in 1564.
- The Morrab Library is one of the few remaining independent libraries in the UK. Established in 1818, the 40,000 books are housed in a beautiful Georgian house and are available for research.
What attracts you to make the journey to Penzance, England's most southwesterly town? Do you know of any other fun facts or things to do that make Penzance such a unique place to visit? We'd love you to contribute your local knowledge.