Penzance Penzance
Cornwall TR18
 
 

Cornwall occupies the western tip of south-west Britain and many visitors believe it only consists of Land’s End.  There is much more to Cornwall than this well known landmark but it is true that the county only covers an area of 1,376 square miles (3,563 km2).  However, most tourists have heard of Penzance although Truro is the main administrative centre. 
 
Cornwall is proud of its Celtic history and there is a strong push to revive the Cornish language.  Many names are Celtic in origin and the Cornish word for Penzance was 'Pensans', or 'Penzans', meaning ‘holy headland’.  The town lies on the western side of Mount’s Bay, facing south-east and overlooking St Michael's Mount just off the coast at Marazion.  It is sheltered from the Atlantic storms and its warm temperate climate makes it a popular seaside resort. 
 
The town is 300 miles (500 km) west-southwest of London and is accessible by major roads and rail.  It is the departure point for visitors wishing to stay on the beautiful tranquil Scilly Isles.  The islands are serviced by helicopter and ferries.
 
Barbary Pirates, other Invaders and Smugglers
Penzance is ideally situated for visiting the rugged and remote Cornish peninsula.  Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera The Pirates of Penzance has done much to encourage the idea that Penzance was the haunt of pirates and smugglers.  Sadly, they were having a joke at the town’s expense because Penzance was, and still is, a popular peaceful resort town, so the very idea of it being overrun by pirates was amusing. 
 
Remoteness can be an advantage and also a curse.  The peninsular was rich in tin and copper, ideal for making bronze.  It was a long way from the rest of inhabited Britain so was an ideal habitat for prehistoric man.  It was also sparsely populated and a perfect place for foreign invaders to make landfall unnoticed.  Barbary Pirates would raid and set fire to the settlements before sailing away with their spoils – this is where the pirate connection comes from.  Many other invaders, including the Spanish, raided the coast and caused havoc. 
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:    External Link
 
A quiet place to explore
Cornishmen grew up as fearless, tough, independent individuals used to looking after themselves and resisting any attempts to subjugate them.  In return, Cornwall has missed out on a modern motorway access route, so travel by road during the summer months can be a slow affair.  The upside is that Cornwall remains undeveloped and a reasonably quiet place to explore. 
 
The region is dotted with prehistoric structures including the astonishingly well-preserved ancient Iron-age village of Chysauster (Chysauster Ancient Village) near Penzance. Here, stone-walled homesteads known as 'courtyard houses', line a 'village street'. 
 
Cliff Edge Tin Mines
Later the industrial revolution exploited the tin resources by sinking mines on the edge of the cliffs and tunnelling out under the sea.  It is an exciting experience to visit one of these mines such as the National Trust Levant Mine & Beam Engine near St Just. 
 
Sir Humphry Davy 
During the 18/19th centuries Cornwall was the forefront of mining technology, establishing Mining Schools and inventing new safety devices.  Penzance is the birthplace of the brilliant scientist Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the Miners’ Safety Lamp.  There is a statue of the celebrated man at the top of Market Jew Street, near the house in which he was born. 
 
Penzance Today
Market charters and rights to levy harbour dues allowed the town to prosper while mining and fishing was viable.  The town’s economy is now mainly tourism based with visitors enjoying the exceptionally mild climate and seaside facilities.  Cornish traditions are enthusiastically celebrated with a number of festivals. 
 
Clean sandy coves, soaring cliffs, quaint villages and Artists' Colonies
The Cornish coast is blessed with clean sandy coves, soaring rugged cliffs and quaint villages.  Artists’ colonies have grown up particularly at St Ives where there is a museum featuring the work of famous sculptor, Barbara Hepworth.  There is an abundance of art galleries in Penzance, particularly in the adjoining town of Newlyn. 
 
An interesting museum in the area at Pendean is the  Web:   Geevor Tin Mine Museum    External Link
It is just 7 miles (11 km) from Penzance.
 
Film Locations
The beautiful coastline around St Just and Pendeen has recently been used for filming the Poldark mini-series.
 
Plan Your Visit 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:   External Link
 
Public Transport around Cornwall
There is an excellent bus network servicing West and Mid Cornwall run by First Devon and Cornwall.  These buses run regularly connecting Penzance with coastal villages in the peninsular.  Check out Web:  First Bus Group    External Link
 
During the summer months, the Cornwall Explorer Open Top service visits the seaside resorts of Penzance, Land's End, St Just, St Ives and Marazion. For more information, go to Web:  First Group/UK Bus/Devon - Cornwall    External Link
 
Contact & Further Information
To discover more about Cornwall and all it has to offer including accommodation, go to the excellent  Web:  Cornwall Online   External Link
 
Getting There
- By Car
Penzance is approximately 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the end of the A30 highway and 286 miles (460 km) or 5 hours by car from London, depending on traffic volume.
 
- By Rail from London
Penzance railway station is the southernmost station on the UK mainland rail network. It is the western terminus of the Cornish Main Line which runs above the beach to Marazion, affording passengers good views of St. Michael's Mount and Mount's Bay. The station is located at the bottom of Market Jew Street, Penzance and close to the harbour.

Most services are operated by First Great Western.
 
For timetables, seat availability and ticketing go to  Web: National Rail Enquiries   External Link
The journey time to Plymouth is about 2 hours whilst journey time to Bristol is about 4½ hours (change at Exeter).
 
- By Rail from the North
A small number of rail services run from northern points including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Birmingham via Bristol to Penzance. Journey time is around 11 hours for the Edinburgh services. Again go to Web:   National Rail Enquiries    External Link
 
Google Map - Penzance