Tourism in Penzance & West Cornwall

The Penzance Experience

Sunset at St Michael's Mount

Located on the shores of Mount's Bay - a body of water dominated by the grandeur of St. Michael's Mount - Penzance is Cornwall's largest and most westerly borough. Only 10 miles from Land's End, the town is surrounded by an area of Celtic culture and outstanding natural beauty. Majestic cliffs, rocky coves, pristine sandy beaches and crystal clear seas vie with the heather and gorse of the moors and early Christian and Bronze Age sites to form a landscape that is the heritage of a proud culture, and a source of inspiration for artists, writers and poets.

Ancient fishing villages, cliff-top walks, sub-tropical vegetation and a wealth of industrial and maritime heritage combine with early Christian history and Celtic legend to make the district surrounding Penzance a fascinating area. The coastline of coves and caves, the area's history of smugglers and wreckers and its long tradition of music and song, inspired Gilbert and Sullivan to name one of the most famous of their productions "The Pirates of Penzance".

Porthcurno Beach

Combining coastline and countryside, West Cornwall features an incomparable variety of wide sandy beaches, steep rocky cliffs and hidden little coves together with remote moors on granite headlands along with numerous small villages and towns, each with its own individual character. The Lands End Peninsula is justly famous for the welcome given to visitors both by its people and its environment.

All around the West Cornwall coastline, the sea is clean and clear and its beaches regularly receive awards for both their facilities and their cleanliness. Many of the beaches are ideal for families and children, with wide-open sand gently shelving into inviting water, and lifeguards patrol most of these popular venues during the summer. For watersports enthusiasts, there are excellent opportunities for surfing and wind-surfing, while sailing is popular in Mounts Bay with regular Championships being held for a wide variety of classes of boats.

Men-an-TolBoth the cliffs and the moorland provide plenty of opportunity to "escape the crowds" with well marked footpaths all along the cliff-tops while the inland area is criss-crossed with footpaths and bridle-ways. Scattered over the Peninsula are many pre-historic sites where stone circles, standing stones and settlement sites can be found. As symbols of the heritage of the people of West Cornwall, there are numerous stark granite-built towers rising above the remote moorland and cliff-tops to be seen. These were the engine houses of the tin mines which once formed the life-blood of the Cornish economy.

The "jewel in the crown" of Mounts Bay is the island castle of St Michael's Mount while, further around the coast, lies the Minack Theatre set dramatically in the cliffs above the sea. In addition to these "must see" sites, there is a great variety of attractions open to the visitor including the Lands End Experience as well as the Tate Gallery in St Ives, Paradise Park bird sanctuary in Hayle and others just a little further afield such as Flambards Theme Park at Helston and the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek. Added to numerous museums, galleries and other attractions in, and around, Penzance, plus the best Cornish food, drink and entertainment in a great range of bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs, there will never be a shortage of "things to do".

Welcome to West Cornwall, the best of the West