Delight in the discovery of the region’s unique cultural heritage, centered around Penzance and Newlyn.
Did you know that Newlyn was once a gathering place for artists? In the late 19th Century, painters travelled to the small fishing town to make the most of the natural light, calling themselves the ‘Newlyn School’. So much of the town inspired their work – from the fishing boats to the tragedies at sea.
Today, this heritage continues to attract artists to the area. Immerse yourself in the story with a trail that guides you through the key galleries in Penzance, as well as carefully curated exhibitions at Penlee House.
You can mix and match from the suggested activities to create a great day out during your stay. If you were to do all the activities on this itinerary, it would take around two-three days.
Please note: You will need to contact the venue or experience provider directly to book.
Exhibitions & collections on Cornish life: Penlee House Museum & Gallery
Penlee House Gallery and Museum celebrates the history and culture of Cornwall. It’s home to a substantial collection of artworks by painters from the Newlyn School – a group of artists who helped to shape the British art world and explored the Newlyn way of life in their paintings. Visit the Penlee House website to see what the team are showcasing on their walls.
Walk the promenade, Penzance to Newlyn
Penzance Promenade is a beautiful open stretch of newly refurbished seafront. Penzance prom has been designed for all travellers to enjoy, be it on foot or by bike. Feel free to stop off and read some of the information boards, which tell you about wildlife and the history of the area. Don’t forget to pop into Jelbert’s in Newlyn (open Mid Feb – end October), for their popular clotted cream-topped ice cream.
Penzance Town Trail
Give yourself permission to duck in and out of the shops by following the Penzance Town Trail. This self-guided tour takes approximately two hours and encourages you to explore some of the town’s most interesting buildings and landmarks, including the Union Hotel (where the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson was announced) and Jubilee Pool. It’s a great way to find your bearings.
The Morrab Librarycan be found in the subtropical Morrab Gardens in Penzance. It was founded in 1818 and is one of only 50 independent libraries in the UK. Holding over 70,000 books on floor-to-ceiling shelves containing a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as archives and a rich photographic collection in the rambling rooms of a delightful Victorian building.
Newlyn Art Gallery
Newlyn Art Gallery exists because of a long history of contemporary art making in the far west of Cornwall and has celebrated contemporary art and supported the artists that produce it for more than 125 years. In 2007 the gallery reopened after a period of renovation with the addition of a new pavilion.
Turk’s Head, Penzance
If you’re looking to sip a local ale surrounded by history, then look no further than the Turk’s Head. Famously the oldest pub in Penzance, you’ll find this cosy pub on trendy Chapel Street. The Turk’s Head has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and serves pub classics, such as whitebait, fish and chips, and Sunday roasts.
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