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Welcome to Penzance

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Holidays in Penzance

On a sunny day, St. Michael’s Mount, Mount's Bay and Penzance seafront might be mistaken for the Mediterranean making holidays in Penzance a jet-set-style holiday you can enjoy without climbing on a plane.

 

Sitting in the corner of a sheltered and attractive bay, the UK’s most westerly town has been a popular resort since the Napoleonic wars when the wealthier English people were cut off from the continent and searched closer to home for fresh air and the newly discovered benefits of sea-bathing. The temperature in Penzance is always a little warmer than elsewhere meaning sub-tropical plants grow well in Morrab Gardens and in the gardens on St. Michael’s Mount. It also means balmy days on one of the nearby beaches are always calling.

Penzance is great for short breaks out of season and there are many boating trips from the harbour that will take you to explore the West Coast from the sea. Due to its excellent road and rail links, Penzance holidays offer something for everyone with lots to see and do. It’s also within a stone’s throw of some of the prettiest places to visit in Cornwall, which are always worth exploring during your stay.

Penzance has secret treats too if you take the time to explore. For a start, the very best way to see Penzance is by the alleys and walkways, the through-lanes from here to there. Take a day to discover the town this way and you will uncover its beautiful parks as well as its Regency and Georgian architecture. 

Penzance also benefits from a wonderful community and comes alive throughout the year with different events and traditions that add waves of colour and music to the seaside town.

Did you know...

Penzance has one of the mildest climates in the UK!

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Beaches in and near Penzance

With Mount’s Bay providing a beautiful alcove of beaches and the surrounding Penwith coast showing off exactly what west Cornwall has to offer, beach days in Penzance are always on the agenda.

Longrock Beach – Nestled halfway between Marazion and Penzance, this long stretch of sand is great for families. The water remains quite shallow, making it ideal for those who aren’t confident swimmers as well as windsurfers.

Marazion Beach – There are few views from the beach as impressive as Marazion where your beach day benefits from the impressive St Michael’s Mount standing guard over the bay. Stroll across the causeway at low tide, explore the rockpools or tuck into a fish and chips on the rocks.

Perranuthnoe Beach – With a beach café that serves delicious homemade cakes and ice creams, and a ramp for easy access, Peranuthnoe is popular with locals and visitors alike. The expanse of sand, which is second to none for sandcastles, means there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Places to visit near Penzance

Stay in a self catering cottage in Penzance and you’re perfectly situated to explore the surrounding towns and villages, each with their own individual characters and charm. Literally minutes from Penzance is the fishing port of Newlyn while a little further on you’ll find the quaint village of Mousehole with its harbourside bistro, community atmosphere and famous Christmas lights. Take a stroll along the coast to Marazion beach or venture in the opposite direction to the beautiful Lamorna Cove. For more ideas, check out our blog post on days out around Penzance.

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Events

Montol Festival

Each year, the people of Penzance celebrate the Winter Solstice with a festival of Cornish tradition, torch processions, and dancing through the streets. It's a truly wonderful celebration. 

21st December 2022

Find out more >

Penzance Literary Festival

Popular with visitors and locals alike, this exciting festival celebrates everything literary, including spoken, written, recited and sung word. Take part in the reading and writing discussions and activities and enjoy the many performances.

6th - 9th July 2022

Find out more >

Golowan Festival - Penzance

Golowan Festival is an annual arts event that celebrates local culture and community. This year the theme will be 'Back to the Future!

17th - 25th June 2022

Find out more >

Things to do in Penzance

Jubilee Pool

This beautiful art-deco open-air bathing pool is the UK’s largest seawater lido. There is also an excellent café and a delightfully warm geothermal pool. The pool opens from the end of May until September.  Even in winter, some hardy year-round swimmers use battery rocks (just north of Jubilee Pool) for their daily dip!

Parks and gardens

Morrab Garden is a sub-tropical garden in the heart of Penzance with Victorian fountains and a bandstand, which still plays host to concerts in the summer. The Morrab Library sits in the gardens and is an absolute joy with its wonderful photographic archives and collections. Full of trees and squirrels, Penlee Park has a specific dog-free and child-friendly play area making it ideal for families.

Art galleries

Penlee House Art Gallery & Museum (with an excellent cafe) sits opposite the Penlee open-air theatre and is home to a large collection of Newlyn School paintings as well as more contemporary works. Along the various streets and alleys lie many other superb galleries featuring a mix of local and national artists. Further afield, you have the renowned Newlyn Exchange and the wondrous Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, which is home to many incredible sculptures throughout its grounds. Or, if you want to create your own art, why not embark on one of Penwith’s popular painting holidays to really make the most of Cornish scenery.

Shopping in Penzance

Not all town centres have the beautiful granite terrace and arcade steps, the iron railings; or retain the architecture of previous generations above the modern shop frontages that Penzance enjoys. There are many Georgian and early Victorian facades just above eye-level in Penzance giving a really unique backdrop to your shopping. By way of shops, you’ll find everything from boutiques to big names as well as delis and food shops that are jam-packed with tempting, locally sourced treats.

Walks

Penzance, with its recently resurfaced prom and surrounding coastline, is perfectly placed to enjoy some stunning Cornish walks. The further to the west you go, the more rugged and captivating the coastline – although be warned, in Penwith, the more beautiful the view, the steeper the trek to reach it! Our favourite stretch has to be between Mousehole all the way along to the Minack Theatre, which provides days upon days of incredible coastal walks. During your treks, make sure to keep an eye out for some of Cornwall’s ancient sites, which can be found scattered around the wild landscape.

Eating out

Penzance self-catering holidays are perfect; Chapel Street leads up from the harbour to the town centre where you will find a range of restaurants and pubs as well as independent shops and houses of historic interest and importance. Lavenders Deli on Alverton Street is ideal for stocking up on treats for your holiday cottage. Check out our blog on places to eat in Penzance for ideas on where to refuel.

Dog-friendly Penzance

With the sights and smells of the nearby beaches and plenty of dog-friendly pubs (Admiral Benbow is particularly popular with dogs and people alike), Penzance is a wonderful place for a dog-friendly holiday in Cornwall. There are also some great dog-friendly beaches nearby so you can enjoy a proper romp in the sand with your furry best friend.

Wish you were here?

Transport yourself to the seaside with our Penzance webcam, which overlooks the Promenade and Mount's Bay.

Events in Penzance

Golowan Festival – Happening every year towards the end of June, Penzance’s Golowan Festival (also known as Mazey Day) is a bright and cheerful celebration of midsummer and promises an array of colour, music and festivities. Watch the parade of intricate puppets that dance through the streets, cheer on the Morris dancers and browse your way through the collection of stalls that sell everything from jewellery to mouth-watering foods.

Penzance Literary Festival - One for all the bookworms out there, the Penzance Literary Festival in July celebrates words in all forms from written to spoken to sung! Come along and catch the many performances, take part in literary discussions and even try your hand at creating your own stuff with the many workshops that take place.

Christmas in Penzance – With Christmas lights turning the whole stretch of coast between St Michael’s Mount and Mousehole into a glittering display, a jovial walk (or drive) is always a great way to get in the festive spirit. In town, you’ll find shop windows awash with intricate displays that tie in with a chosen theme as businesses from all over the town take part in an annual Christmas competition to dazzle shoppers. Santa never misses Penzance when doing the rounds, as you can always find him sitting happily in his grotto during the light switch on. Fairs, processions, and costumed antics take place throughout December, so you’re always in for a spectacle or two when you visit at Christmas.

 

Stay in Penzance

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Caradoc

Caradoc, Penzance

From £398 - £970
Sleeps 4 + cot

Joy

Joy, Penzance

From £789 - £1716
Sleeps 6 + cot

Sirens

Sirens, Penzance

From £386 - £1314
Sleeps 6 + cot

Kitts Court

Kitts Court, Penzance

From £438 - £845
Sleeps 3 + cot

Fairings Cottage

Fairings Cottage, Penzance

From £452 - £1262
Sleeps 4 + cot

Ocean Tide

Ocean Tide, Penzance

From £398 - £1009
Sleeps 4 + cot

The Chapel Gallery

The Chapel Gallery, Penzance

From £1071 - £1485
Sleeps 4

Lido at The Carlton

Lido at The Carlton, Penzance

From £471 - £1361
Sleeps 4 + cot

Chy an Gath

Chy an Gath, Penzance

From £441 - £1360
Sleeps 7 + cot

Top Flat

Top Flat, Penzance

From £367 - £708
Sleeps 2

The Crows Nest

The Crows Nest, Penzance

From £367 - £708
Sleeps 2 + cot

Rosevean

Rosevean, Penzance

From £368 - £780
Sleeps 4 + cot

Getting around

Literally at the end of the line, Penzance is well-placed for holiday makers that prefer the train to a car. For those wanting to tour Mount’s Bay on foot (or on two wheels), there is a superb path that runs right the way along from Marazion to Mousehole, making excellent use of the promenade in Penzance. You can often find food vans along the prom, allowing for a quick refuel with a view during your jaunt. For those with a car, there are numerous car parks around the town as well as in the surrounding villages so you can enjoy Penwith by foot, car, bike or even boat!

Other popular destinations in Cornwall