The Market House Penzance.

Penzance is the most south-westerly town in Cornwall. Famous for its association with the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Pirates of Penzance, the town is an ideal base for exploring the Penwith area of Cornwall. It is increasingly attracting those interested in cultural tourism due to its long association with the arts.

Penzance is also the home of a major link to and from the Isles of Scilly via the spring and summer-only ferry.

Get in

Penzance is a 5-6 hour drive from London via the M4, M5, and A30 (including the new piece of dual carriageway by the Newquay turn which should alleviate traffic jams in the summer).

Trains run daily from London Paddington (8 daily, 5 hours, £105 return) and Plymouth (15 daily, 2 hours), also via Bristol (4 hours), Birmingham (5 hours) and onwards to the north of the UK (Crewe, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh (1 daily, 16 hours) and Glasgow (2 daily, 16 hours)).

There is also an overnight sleeper train, the The Night Riviera. This excellent service is arguably the most relaxing way to Penzance. It runs Su-F nights to/from London Paddington. (Have a night out in the West End of London, before jumping in a taxi to Paddington, get the 23:50 sleeper train to Penzance, wake up at 08:00 as the train pulls into Penzance and the sea air will quickly get rid of any hangover from late night boozing in the train bar!)

National Express or Megabus Coach services from London Victoria (8–9 hours). Tedious, but can be a cheap option (National Express have fun fares from £1 and Megabus fares start from £1 (+50p booking fee)).

Get around

Statue of Sir Humphry Davy, Market Jew St

Penzance and the surrounding area are well served by local bus services. Most bus services leave from the Bus Station, which can be found next to the Railway Station. Information is available from First Bus Cornwall. Sunday services can be quite limited. Routes catering to tourists often run only in the summer months.


The Egyptian House, Chapel St

Throughout the town there are numerous examples of Regency and Georgian Architecture.

Penzance is home to a lengthy promenade built in the 1840s. Admire the cool white art deco Jubilee Pool and see the "ballet of the waves" as they crash into the sea wall (particularly spectacular opposite the handsome Queen's Hotel which is worth visiting for its splendid paintings from Newlyn School artists.)

Penzance has an array of interesting buildings including the Egyptian House, built in an Egyptian-style and the Market House, described as one of the finest examples of regional architecture in the UK. The walk down Chapel Street towards St Mary's Church and the harbour is a delight! Look for the quaint Turk's Head Inn and the pirate on the roof of the Admiral Benbow pub!



Penzance is home to many ancient folk customs and festivals. They can be a colourful spectacle, with costumed participants processing through the town, often accompanied by musicians.


Penzance harbour and church

Penzance has a reasonable selection of shops including national retail chains and small independent outlets.


For those seeking to eat a Cornish pasty, Lavenders and Pellows are excellent choices. Countless other bakeries, shops and cafés also sell them, hot and cold. (Tip: it is correct to eat pasties from the end, not in the middle!)


Penzance and the surrounding area have a large number of pubs. Particularly good is the Turk's Head in Chapel Street, Penzance's oldest pub. Live music happens at the Acorn Theatre, and there's an excellent monthly comedy night there as well. Late night drinking is normally confined to a handful of night clubs which are normally open until 3-4AM at weekends.


Various B&Bs all over the town, the best are in Regent Terrace facing the sea and some in Alexandra Road. Penzance Tourist Information Centre (TIC) +44 1736 335530 can check availability for you.


There are no longer any dedicated internet cafés in Penzance, however most cafés and even some pubs offer free wifi. Some computer shops offer a few computers for public use, as do many of the bed and breakfast establishments.

Go next

Good base for trips to Hayle, St Ives, Marazion, Porthleven, Helston, Truro, Redruth, and Camborne.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.