Penzance, the last stop on the Great Western Railway from London. The furtherest west you can go in England, Cornwall is coastal town magic.
Wild coastline, beautiful beaches and abundant local customs, it’s the British seaside at its best. Where land meets sea, Cornwall is oft referred to as one of England’s best kept secrets.
And, hailed as Cornwall’s coolest seaside town, Penzance is the perfect place for a long weekend getaway, and in my case, introduction to Penzance.
Heading to Penzance for the first time? 8 things to do on your first visit:
- Wander Chapel Street: Lined with art galleries and treasure filled vintage shops, it’s a great way to get a feel for the culture of Penzance. In particular, I enjoyed Steckfensters
- Watch the sun set with a cocktail at the Jubilee Pool: Sure, you can swim at the pool during the day, one of Europe’s last remaining saltwater lidos, but the real magic happens at sundown when you can take a seat on the upper deck, sip a drink and watch the sun sink low behind the sea and cliffs
- Hop on a bus to see quaint Mousehole: A short 15-20 minute bus ride from Penzance (good news, the buses take contactless payment!), and you’ll be in a very small, yet adorable, inlet town. I wandered Mousehole for an hour or so before heading back towards Penzance, but loved seeing boats bobbing in the harbour at high tide, and walking the cobbled back streets
- Savour seafood at Makarel Sky Seafood Bar in Newlyn: Very cute, insanely fresh seafood, local brews and ciders on offer. The crab nachos were ace, as was the fish and chips. In need of dessert? Head next door to S. Jelbert for some of England’s best ice cream
- Pick up local treats at the Cornish Hen deli: Must try items- Moomaid of Zenor’s ice cream, Roskilly’s clotted-cream fudge and Helford Creek apple juice. Check out their daily bakes as well, divine
- Kick back with a pint: Plenty of pubs in Penzance, take your pick. Wherever you are, you’ll be surrounded by locals and seaside chill. A couple of favourites: The Dolphin Tavern and Boatshed
- Visit a fairy tale reality at St. Michaels Mount: A castle on an island situated out in sea? Few things sound dreamier. Stepped in fairy tale, the mount is a place that’ll wow just about anyone. If it’s low tide when you visit, you can walk straight out to the base of the island. High tide? Not to worry, there are boats that run out to the island every 15 or so minutes
- Welcome happy hour with a spritz in the garden: I didn’t stay at the Artist Residence’s location in Cornwall, but still popped over for a few happy hour drinks in their back gardens. Complete and total relaxation
- Bonus: Explore tropical paradise in St. Ives: So many times in St. Ives, I caught myself thinking, am I in England or the Mediterranean? If ever in Cornwall again, I’d go back to St. Ives in a heartbeat. The Mediterranean atmosphere and winding cobbled streets with great restaurants and cafes make for a beach destination worthy of any holiday
Have you ever been to Cornwall? Which town was your favourite to visit?