You may have heard of this beautiful seaside town from the famed comedy-opera, The Pirates of Penzance, yet there’s more to this place than its long history of smuggling and piracy. The glistening beaches, the crystal-clear waters, and the fun attractions all impress visitors and, after you take a well-deserved break to Cornwall’s southern shores, Penzance will leave you relaxed and with wonderful holiday memories to take home.
About the town
Protected by the Penwith Coastline to the west and the Lizard Coast to the east, Penzance sits in the crook of Cornwall and is close to the best that West Cornwall has to offer. Incredibly, it’s just a 10-mile drive from this southern coastal town to Cornwall’s rugged North Coast so any holiday trippers can discover a whole range of attractions without travelling far from their Penzance base.
In Penzance itself, there are a couple of galleries and boutiques, and even the Wharfside Shopping Centre where you could get your retail fix while away. It has a cinema, supermarkets and even a couple of open-air theatres, so despite having travelled to the very edge of the UK, you are never too far from civilisation and its amenities.
Right in the heart of the Penzance seafront sits an Art Deco open-air lido. It’s not a beach, but it is a fantastic spot for swimming on warm summer days (or chilly winter ones if you’re feeling intrepid!). It's also a great seafront spot to walk to if you’re staying in town.
Just 2 miles east of Penzance is the wide, flat and beautiful Long Rock Beach, ideal for bucket ‘n’ spade days by the sea. You can walk the entire stretch of this pretty bay, eventually reaching Marazion, where you can walk across to the island of St Michael’s Mount if the tides are low enough to reveal the causeway.
Meanwhile, the coastal town of Newlyn, just 2 miles south of Penzance has three beaches for you to choose from. The first is a small sand and pebble beach in the centre of town that’s dog-friendly all year, the second is an extension of Penzance Promenade - a shingle beach which is great for rock pooling when the tide is out, and the third is Roskilly, another small pet-friendly beach with great views and a real hidden gem for dog walkers.
The pretty towns and villages
Newlyn itself is a quaint coastal town with an extensive harbour for you to wander and places to eat serving locally-caught fish. The Fish Market takes place every morning so get up early and head down to grab hake or mackerel for a true Cornish dinner – and seafood connoisseurs may wish to a book their trip around the annual Newlyn Fish Festival!
The quaint village of Mousehole is 4 miles from Penzance. It’s quiet but has a lovely harbour and is connected to Penzance via the South West Coast Path that connects the entire South West coastline. Follow this trail, booking a table at one of the pubs in advance, so you can enjoy a well-deserved Sunday roast or big lunch after your 4-mile seaside stroll.
You might be surprised by how close everything is in this part of the world, it’s just an 8-mile drive from southern Penzance to St Ives on the north coast of Cornwall. As it’s an artsy hub, it’s a great choice for a day out. Visit the museums and galleries throughout town and don’t stop there - you could head out on a boat trip to see the colony of Atlantic grey seals living at Seal Island or enjoy a day on one of the sandy St Ives beaches.
The iconic Land’s End is a bucket-list destination, take the 10-mile trip to stand at the edge of the world on this westerly headland, see the legendary signpost, and enjoy a cream tea beside the sea – the Cornish way, of course!
Another one of West Cornwall’s big attractions is St Michael’s Mount. Head over to this beautiful island for a day exploring the castle, gardens and small harbour. Walking across the causeway is the real draw for visitors so plan to go when the tide is low so you can walk across from Marazion to the island, then you can enjoy a boat ride back to the mainland when you’re done.
There are two beautiful gardens to visit: Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is 2 miles from Penzance and offers artwork and gardens to peruse, while the National Trust’s Trengwainton Garden provides delightful grounds to explore and a tea room for a coffee and cake afterwards.
Historians may like to visit the archaeological site of Carn Euny Ancient Village or Chysauster Ancient Village, both of which are less than 7 miles away, welcome dogs on leads and make for beautiful walking territory. For a little mining history of the area, head to Geevor Mine and Levant Mine both 8 miles away from Penzance and set near to each other in Pendeen.
In Penzance itself, you’ll find Eureka Escape Cornwall, a fun place to head for if you enjoy escape rooms – great for something a little bit different during your holiday.
We’ve already mentioned the fantastic South West Coast Path, which is a great way to see the coastal villages and towns of the South West. Visit Mousehole (4 miles away) or continue your walk further south to Porthcurno for a 12-mile trek.
A popular destination for walkers, families and surfers, National Trusts’ Godrevy is made up of sandy beach, headland and coves. You could follow this clifftop walking trail, part of the Coast Path, that leads around the headland to Hell’s Mouth.
The food and drink
While in Cornwall, it’s essential that you enjoy a traditional Cornish pasty down by the waterfront. Grab a pasty at The Cornish Oven then walk across to the pretty harbour for the sea views and watch the boats sailing about as you enjoy.
If you fancy an elegant evening dining out during your stay, take a look at The Shore Restaurant, an eatery priding itself on local produce from farmers and fishermen, see The Bakehouse, where seafood and steak are on the menu, or book into Blacks of Chapel Street where you can stay for a cocktail afterwards.
For good and hearty pub grub, Penzance has plenty of warm and welcoming taverns for you to drop by for a drink or full Sunday roast; The Turks Head, The Dolphin Tavern and The Crown are just a few.
And if you are exploring this coastal town and want to pop into a café or tearoom for a light bite to eat, there are plenty of those as well! Stop by The Front Room, Terrace Café or Orangery Café when you get peckish to enjoy a delightful tea and cake.
Cornwall is always a popular holiday destination, whether you're staying in the scorching summer months or when the Christmas festivities occur throughout the county, and Penzance is an unforgettable choice for a staycation.
What are you looking for? From cosy cottages with wood burners to glass-fronted coastal retreats, luxury self-catering accommodation for families to romantic boltholes for two, we have plenty of charming holiday homes dotted throughout scenic Cornwall. Dogs are welcome in many of our Cornwall properties and there are always great trails and walks to take your canine companion on while away.
Holiday cottages in Penzance
Here are a few of our favourite cottages in Penzance, start planning your holiday by browsing these warm and welcoming retreats near the coast.
🏠 Boskennal Cottage | sleeps 6
🏠 Burnt Toast Cottage | sleeps 5
🏠 The Top Shelter | sleeps 2
We have a fantastic range of cottages and holiday homes in Penzance and along Cornwall’s beautiful western coastline so don’t stop here. Take a look through our collection and you’ll soon find a coastal cottage in Cornwall to suit you and your guests.