VISITOR'S GUIDE TO PENZANCE
Famed for its pirates, its artists and an Art Deco lido - all topped by an ancient castle, here’s a few reasons to head to Penzance for a day to remember...
Go for a swim
The Jubilee Pool reopened in 2016 after a six-figure revamp needed to repair severe storm damage. This stunning sea pool - which oriingally opened in May 1935 (the year of King George V’s Silver Jubilee) is set to reopen for the summer season in late May.
Discover an island paradise
Wander along the slip to the ancient tidal island of St Michael’s Mount. This iconic landmark in Mount’s Bay is now open – wander along medieval pathways, and its famous sub-tropical gardens, and explore the castle’s history from medieval priory to fort, iconic castle to family home of the St Aubyn family for 300 years.
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If you like a bit of architecture – and history – tour the town with a copy of the newly published Penzance in 50 Buildings.
Local author and historian Michael Sagar-Fenton looks at the history of the town - from the granting of Burgh status by King James I in 1614, its growth and development as a fashionable seaside resort through a selection of its greatest architectural treasures. From the eccentric early nineteenth-century Egyptian House to the cutting edge Exchange Gallery, opened in 2007, this unique study celebrates the town’s architectural heritage in a new and accessible way.
Try out The Shore Restaurant on Alverton Street, where owner and head chef Bruce Rennie offers a small but impeccable menu crafted using the best ingredients available on a daily basis.
The Bakehouse describes itself as a steakhouse (by candlelight), but the menu also has vegetarian and seafood on offer. Sit back and view local artworks while you wait for your food in this atmospheric restaurant on Chapel Street.
For the perfect Cornish cream tea (jam first, of course) head to Trengwainton Tea Rooms in Madron. This café sits outside the pay barrier of the famous National Trust-owned gardens and has won numerous awards for its menu which is likely to include at least some of the produce grown in the surrounding kitchen garden. We recommend the savoury cream tea which features cheese scones, chutneys and cheese out on the enclosed gently sloping lawn.
Get all literary with this annual celebration of the written word. Penzance LitFest (5-9 July) promises a line-up of local and national authors including Patrick Gale and The Unmumsy Mum Sarah Turner. There are workshops for aspiring writers in all genres, talks, quizzes, performances and literary tours of Penzance. The Litfest’s 2017 theme Uncharted Waters has inspired a programme that embraces exploration of landscapes, seascapes, war zones, political intrigue, rare manuscripts and undiscovered worlds.
With more big names still to be confirmed, the Friendliest Litfest in the West’ promises to maintain its lively reputation for page-turning entertainment and intrigue.
Celebrate English Wine Week at Polgoon
English Wine Week runs from 27 May-4 June celebrating England’s growing number of wine producers and you can celebrate at Penzance’s very own vineyard, Polgoon, with tours, tastings, shopping, lunch and special events all set within its 13,000 vines overlooking Mount’s Bay.
Penwith Film Society
Join the world cinema buffs at Penwith Film Society for an impressive array of the best in classic and new films from the UK and around the world shown at Penzance’s century-old Savoy Cinema in the town’s centre.
Join their mailing list and never miss a movie.
EXPLORE THE ART
Penlee House Gallery and Museum
This incredible space offers up some seriously good art. It is home to much of the work by the famed Newlyn School, which includes Norman Garstin, Elizabeth Forbes, Stanhope Forbes and Walter Langley. Not all paintings are on display at any one time – but if you contact the gallery ahead of time they can arrange for you to view particular works of interest. There’s also a changing programme of exhibitions to showcase different elements of their permanent collection – this month Stanhope Forbes: Father of the Newlyn School opens to explore the one of the greats of the Newlyn School artists’ colony which flourished from the 1880s onwards. After you’ve refreshed your soul with the art, head to the Orangery Café.
Tremenheere Sculpture Park sits at the top of Penzance near Gulval and boasts sculpture by some of the best contemporary sculptors including Royal Academician David Nash and Turner Prize-winning Richard Long alongside Cornish artists – all set within mature tropical planting. There’s also a new indoor gallery and the Tremenheere Kitchen café which has a huge local fanbase for its menu of locally-sourced produce.
This gallery has a reputation for showing the best of today’s Cornish art. This month will see Philip Lyons and David Mankin on show.