Penzance sits in Mount Bay, with small coastal Cornish villages within a short drive that are popular with visitors in the summer.
Penzance is the most westerly town in England, and the mildest, creating ideal conditions for sub-tropical plants as evident in the lovely gardens such as town's Morab Gardens, next to Georgian and Regency terraces. You could also visit St Anthonys Gardens that has an art-deco Open Air Bathing Pool nearby which opened in 1935.
There is a large harbour at Penzance together with a busy shipyard and dry dock. It's very much a working harbour with ships and fishing boats as well as pleasure craft.
A ferry links Penzance to the Isles Of Scilly. You used to be able to take a helicopter from Penzance Heliport, but this was closed and the site sold for a supermarket. The nearest flights to the Isles Of Scilly are from Newquay Airport and Exeter Airport, or you can go to Lands End Airport, about 10 miles away, for the Skybus Airline Service. There is a bus service from Penzance railway station to Lands End Airport. The Isles of Scilly are well worth the trip, even if you just go for the day, it takes just over 2 hours by sea to travel the 28 miles.
Penzance is an old market town, getting a Royal Charter in 1592, and it has grown into a regional centre for this part of Cornwall. Penzance has close links to the Cornish mining industry, and once had the largest tin smelter in Cornwall.
The main growth came with the arrival of the railway in 1852. Direct trains from London started in 1867, bringing with it tourists keen to take advantage of the mild climate.
If you are wandering around the town when you visit, Chapel Street has historical houses including the Egyptian House as well as the Turks Head Inn, which maybe the oldest pub in Penzance. Most of the shops are nearby in Market Jew Street, where there are small local shops as well as the larger retail chains, and you can also visit the Wharfside Shopping Centre. A statue of the town's famous son, Humphrey Davey, the miner's safety lamp inventor, stands near the The Market House, now a bank.
The town has a Promenade along the coast and you can walk along it to visit Newlyn, about a mile away westwards.
The Bay sweeps around to St Michaels Mount, possibly part of King Arthurs lost land of Lyonesse. The Mount itself has a 11th century monastery and 15th century fort. A similar Mount can be found across the English Channel in France. Local beaches can be found in Mount Bay just east of the harbour. The sands extend all the way down to Marazion.
For evening entertainment there are a number of night clubs, a 3-screen cinema, and performances at the Acorn Theatre.
There's plenty to see and do if you come to Penzance on a holiday or on a short break,and you have most of the coastline to explore, it's only a short journey north to the north Cornish coast.
Trengwainton Gardens A lovely garden with exotic plants.
District Museum & Art Gallery Local museum and art gallery.
Newlyn Art Gallery Holds a range of exhibitions
The Egyptian House A flamboyant Regency house
St Michael's Mount Visit this famous castle on the island.
National Lighthouse Centre Discover all about lighthouses.
Chysauster Ancient Village 2.8 miles The remains of a 2,000 year old settlement.
Lanyon Quoit 3.4 miles A Neolithic tomb.
Lamora Pottery 3.7 miles A local Cornish Pottery.
Merry Maidens 4.5 miles A Cornish stone circle.
Carn Euny Site of a 1st century village.
Chun Castle 4.8 miles See the Iron Age fort.
Towns Near Penzance To Visit - straight line distance:Newlyn (1.14 miles) Mousehole (2.52 miles) St Just (6.46 miles) St Ives (6.76 miles)