25007920 West Cornwall Penzance 19 April2017 1 Matt Jessop

Penzance - England

This ancient Cornish market town is a haven for art galleries, boutiques and some of the best food and drink in the South West – and not a pirate in sight, says Gabrielle Sander

Travel Time 2hrs 10min

Why go?

Think of Penzance and Gilbert and Sullivan’s piratic comedy opera likely springs to mind. Though pay a visit to this Cornish seaside town and you’ll discover far more charming characters, a bohemian treasure trove of independent shops, art galleries and boutique hotels, breathtaking scenery and fine cuisine. The area benefits from a unique microclimate, which in addition to an award- winning vineyard, fuels a diverse network of farmers and producers, picture-postcard palm trees and sub-tropical flora. July, when the town is in full bloom, is a prime time to visit.

What to do

Explore Penzance’s warren of cobbled streets on foot, stopping to peruse the eclectic shops. On Causewayhead you’ll find the longest continually running cinema in Britain, the Savoy, while on Alverton Street, the farmers’ market (Fridays only) rolls out an artisanal array. Inside Chapel Street’s characterful buildings, such as the Grade I-listed Egyptian House, you’ll discover vintage curiosities, furniture, local pottery and the like. Near the tail end, look out for the red-brick former home of Maria Branwell, mother to the Brontë sisters. The Victorian promenade, with its views across Mount’s Bay to the mighty St Michael’s Mount, provides picture-postcard vistas. Here also sprawls the town’s art deco Jubilee Pool. The UK’s largest seawater lido, it is bathwater-warm in July. For more coastal antics, Eastern Green and Long Rock beaches are walkably close. A magnet for artists, Penzance offers galleries galore to explore, from the 19th-century Newlyn School collective at Penlee House penleehouse.org.uk to Penzance Exchange’s newlynartgallery.co.uk contemporary exhibitions. On the edge of town is Polgoon Vineyard 01736 333946, polgoon.com which is open for tours and tastings. Sail Cornish waters on a boat run by Mermaid Pleasure Trips cornwallboattrips.co.uk or go to Penlee Park Open Air Theatre penleeparktheatre.com to see a play. Hop on the bus at nearby Greenmarket and visit the place poet Dylan Thomas described as ‘quite the prettiest village in England’, Mousehole.

Where to stay

Former arts club Chapel House 01736 362024, chapelhousepz.co.uk is a six-bedroom townhouse boasting sun- soaked rooms, Georgian features and views across to the harbour. On the same strip, Artist Residence Cornwall 01736 365664, artistresidence.co.uk is all roll-top baths, bare brick walls and flea market-foraged accessories. B&B Venton Vean 01736 351294, ventonvean.co.uk is a Victorian terrace opposite Penlee Park, where rich Farrow and Ball walls mingle with Jessica Albarn prints, and home-made jams are rolled out at breakfast. For self-catering in luxury, book The Abbey 01244 356666, theabbeyonline.co.uk – a seven-bedroom, 17th-century abode available for private hire.

Where to eat and drink

The fish in Penzance – landed a mile down the road in Newlyn – is as good as you’d expect. It takes centre stage at The Shore 01736 362444, theshorerestaurant.uk where chef Bruce Rennie’s creations, such as mackerel with kimchi and peanut dressing, will delight. For cocktails and romance, try The Cornish Barn 01736 339414, thecornishbarn.co.uk where highlights include the whole roasted sea bass with smoked butter. MasterChef semi-finalist Lee Groves is at the helm in Penzance’s oldest pub, The Turks Head 01736 363093, turksheadpenzance.co.uk with its local beers on tap and traditional fare. Vegans flock to Archie Brown’s 01736 362828, archiebrowns.co.uk where slabs of quiche and homity pie come with a rainbow of delicious salads. Grab a coffee from The Tube, the converted 1970s Citroën HY parked at the tip of Bread Street, or settle in at Mr Billy’s 01736 367497, mrbillys.com for a clotted cream tea and pot of Tregothnan Earl Grey (grown nearby, in England’s only tea plantation). Finish the day with a visit to the Admiral Benbow 01736 363448, a colourful inn referenced in Treasure Island.

Time running out?

Explore the 3.5km section of the South West Coast Path, which runs from Penzance train station to Marazion.


Travel Information

Travel Information

Getting There

Flybe provides daily flights from London Gatwick to Newquay, which is just under an hour’s drive from Penzance. flybe.com

Great Western Railway runs a daily train service between London Paddington and Penzance (just under 6 hours), as well as a Night Riviera Sleeper service. gwr.com

National Express has a daily service from London Heathrow to Penzance (around 7.5 hours). nationalexpress.com


Love Penzance is the local tourist board and their website is packed full of ideas and handy information. lovepenzance.co.uk

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

Min Temp3346811131311864
Max Temp881012141719191714119

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