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Famous for its pirates, well the singing variety anyway, Penzance is both historic port and busy commercial centre on the south facing shores of Mount’s Bay and has one of the mildest climates in the UK. One of the striking things about the town is the abundance of palm trees and gardens full of sub-tropical plants, a sure sign that you have arrived somewhere unique made even more special by the sight of St Michael’s Mount out to sea that seems to hover magically over the water. Wander the town’s streets and you’ll come across the fabulously decorated Egyptian House, the statue of local hero Sir Humphry Davy pioneer of mine safety and art galleries, book sellers and new age shops which add a slightly bohemian feel to the town while down at the harbour, boat trips, sea safaris and fishing excursions provide some great seaborne activities.
Things to do in Penzance
The Penlee House Museum gives an introduction to the artistic side of Cornwall through its well-known collection of paintings by the Newlyn School of Artists as well as interesting displays of local antiquities and artefacts. On site there’s a pretty good cafe renowned for its gorgeous cakes.
If the tide’s out walk across the causeway, or take a boat over to St Michael’s Mount home to a fairytale castle, tropical gardens with oversized plants and enough magical mystery to fill a Harry Potter book. www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/
Have a wander around Morrab Gardens near the seafront. Landscaped in Victorian times and turned into a municipal park in 1889, it’s full of many subtropical plant species.
Take a stroll along Chapel Street, home to a number of characteristic pubs and antique shops. Amongst the row of 18th century houses, look out for number 25 where Maria Branwell, mother of Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte once lived and have a drink at the ancient Admiral Benbow Inn, which features in the first few pages of the famous seafaring novel Treasure Island.
See cutting edge, contemporary art at The Exchange Gallery. Opened in 2007, the large exhibition space features national and international works, alongside the best of those produced in the local area.
For a quintessential Cornish moment, take a walk along the promenade, grab some fish and chips from the Captain Fish Bar, sit on the seafront and enjoy the spectacular view out across the bay.
Have a plunge in the art deco jubilee swimming pool located on the only promenade in Cornwall which looks out Mount’s Bay. Constructed in the 1930s, the nostalgic design harks back to more gracious times. Open 10.30am-6pm from May to September. www.jubileepool.co.uk/
Showing some of the best independent films from the UK and around the world, the Penwith Film Society screens non blockbuster movies at Penzance’s Savoy Cinema, believed to be England’s longest running cinema.
Penzance - Welcome to West Cornwall Centre
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