Penzance is a charming market and port town with an interesting history and art heritage. Made famous worldwide by the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Pirates of Penzance, the town has a quaint harbor area as well as picturesque beaches that face the English Channel. Stroll through the town center to admire the Regency and Georgian houses.
The town also has several notable art galleries, among them Penlee House Gallery and Museum. Study works from the Newlyn School art colony, who took inspiration from the daily lives of local fishermen. Head for the harbor that inspired some of the Newlyn School’s art and observe the array of bobbing boats. Continue south along the promenade and connecting walking trail for about 30 minutes to reach Newlyn Art Gallery, which showcases contemporary art.
Learn about the distant past at the Chysauster Ancient Village. This Iron Age settlement comprises the stone remnants of old homes as well as a mysterious underground passage. Imagine what daily life was like more than 2,000 years ago as you explore.
Find the headland of Land’s End, the most southwesterly point on the island of Great Britain, just 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of town. In the Land’s End visitor center ask about activities. Spot seals and dolphins off the coast.
A short drive east from Land’s End is the extraordinary Minack Theatre, an outdoor theater complex carved into cliffs overlooking the sea. Watch a performance from the terrace or visit outside of performance times to see the backstage areas and even walk on the famous stage.
Penzance has a mild year-round climate, with warm, sunny summers and wet winters that are perfect for storm-watching. The town is located in the Penwith area of Cornwall. Drive for about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from London or about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Plymouth to get here. Ride the Cornish Main Line train from Plymouth to Penzance.
With its pirate connotations and historical and cultural attractions, Penzance is a great destination for a coastal getaway.
Scenery, Adventure and Ports
Hike along cliff-top trails above the Atlantic and visit interactive, family-friendly attractions at this charming area on the southwestern edge of the country.
Find a spot on the grassy terraces and enjoy unobstructed views of the stage and sea in this remarkable outdoor theater carved into Cornwall’s rugged coastline.
Stroll along this spectacular bay and admire its turquoise waters, white sand and intriguing rock formations, including a precariously balanced stone.
Find remnants from an old industrial age scattered along the coastal nature paths of this scenic patch of headland.
Peruse the ruins of a 2,000-year-old settlement and ponder the purpose of an ancient and mysterious underground channel.
Examine artists’ depictions of fishermen and harbor life in the 19th and 20th centuries in this stately house set in a stunning park.