There’s far more to this Cornish town than just its singing pirates. From shabby chic boutiques to trendy hotels and must-try restaurants, here’s how to peruse Penzance for a weekend of coastal cool
Ideal for a few days of relaxing calm, Penzance is a historic port found on the south facing shores of Mount’s Bay. Think of it as Costa del Cornwall – it boasts one of the mildest climates in the UK, as well as a plethora of palm trees and pretty gardens filled with sub-tropical plants.
There’s plenty to see, shop and savour within its winding streets – from intriguing art galleries and book stores to cute coffee shops and boutique hotels. Busy and bustling, Penzance is a place that’s perfect for those who enjoy arty getaways filled with intriguing culture.
Seek out the statue of local hero Sir Humphry Davy who pioneered mine safety, peer at fascinating artitecture and whet your appetite with Penzance’s array of foodie hotspots, which pepper the streets with different cuisines.
Where to stay
The Artist Residence
Rustic relaxation at its best, this centrally located hotel is ideal for a stay with a boutique feel. Offering 22 individually decorated bedrooms, the Artist Residence brings a dose of eccentric style to Penzance. Rooms offer comfy beds, walls lined with cool artwork and snap-worthy interiors. Book one with a tub for extra relaxation – you’ll need it after a day of strolling the streets.
Ideal for foodies, the hotel’s restaurant is popular with guests and locals alike. The Cornish Barn smokehouse rustles up a host of seasonal dishes – think locally sourced meat and fish with seasonal tasting plates.
The beetroot salad with chunks of crumbly feta and candied walnuts is especially good, as is the moreish herb-crusted hake with Béarnaise sauce. On long summer nights, don’t forget try a tipple out in the secret terrace garden.
Where to eat
1 Best for… something seasonal: The Bay
With striking views across Penzance, this airy restaurant is ideal for a British bite with European influences. Championing local produce, they specialise in local seafood with West Country meat. There’s a mere 40 covers, so book ahead to avoid missing out.
2 Best for… a vegan bite: Archie Browns
Get your veggie fix with a visit to Archie Browns, a health food shop meets chic cafe. Serving breakfast and lunch until 4pm, there’s everything from sweet potato burgers to homity pie on offer. Vegetarian options are also available – the goat’s cheese stack is a must for cheese addicts.
3 Best for… seafood: Shore
For shore one of the best seafood restaurants in town, Shore is a place where ‘the land meets the sea’ offering heavenly mouthfuls courtesy of Scottish owner Bruce Rennie (ex-head chef of Michelin-starred Restaurant Martin Wishart). Ingredients are integral here, with ethically sourced produce conjuring edible magic.
What to do
Explore the streets lined with bookshops, boutiques and art galleries for culture vulture delights. Newlyn Art Gallery offers a wide range of contemporary art to admire, whilst Chapel Street is the most historic of the Penzance thoroughfares and comes lined with fascinating buildings. Marvel at the Egyptian House, the eccentric result of a national craze for Egyptology built back in 1836.
For nature lovers, head to the nearby Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens to enjoy 22-acres of exotic and sub-tropical gardens, featuring the work of artists such as James Turrell.
Dates for the diary
The first ever Penzance Food Festival will be taking place at the end of August. Visit to eat your way between food stalls, displays and demonstrations, along with bars and entertainment for a forking good day out.
August 24-26, penzancefoodfestival.co.uk