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West Cornwall's biggest settlement with spectacular views towards St Michael's Mount

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Mount Bay
Jubilee Pool
Penlee Park
Morrab Gardens
Penzance is the last major settlement in Great Britain's south-west corner. It's a long way away from anywhere, so making the journey requires a little patience. However, if you manage it, you'll find a charming town in a spectacular setting.

The streets of Penzance
Photo markpeate
The settlement clings to the curves of Mount Bay, a stretch of coastline that's renowned for its beauty. From here, the view across the clear seas and golden beaches towards the towering St Michael’s Mount is one of the most dramatic in the world. Even so, Penzance was a mere village until a few centuries ago. Eventually, the industries of tin mining and maritime trade kick-started its development. Before long it was considered to be the capital of West Cornwall.
The architecture is a mixed bag; 18th century classics stand shoulder-to-shoulder with modern creations. One of the town's most iconic structures is the Jubilee Pool, an Art Deco styled outdoor swimming bath. Its strange triangular shape sticks out boldly into the bay, offering more fantastic views of the coast. Despite being a focal point of the seafront, the pool was nearly closed in the 90s. It survived and continues to welcome visitors, over 7 decades after its opening day in 1935.

Jubilee Pool
Photo polandeze
On rainy days, when swimming doesn't seem like a great idea, you can avoid the elements by stepping into one of Penzance's art galleries. The most popular is Penlee House, just a stone's throw from the sea. Its exhibits focus particularly on works from West Cornwall, and the many artists who were inspired by its pretty scenery. Ironically, the most famous painting is called "The Rain it Raineth Every Day". It depicts the promenade on a particularly gloomy afternoon.

Penlee House and Penlee Cross
Photo Purely Penzance
Just outside the building is the Penlee Cross. This granite structure used to mark the dead centre of the town. Anything within half a mile was inside Penzance, and anything further away was not. Since then the cross has been moved several times, so it no longer holds the same significance.
Around Penlee House is a 15-acre park of the same name. Thanks to the mild climate, it's home to a variety of sub-tropical plants that are hard to find in other areas of the UK. During the summer months, this is a venue for outdoor theatre performances. Next door are the similar Morrab Gardens. Their name comes from the old Cornish words for "sea" and "shore". The exotic specimens on show here include palm and banana trees.
Many people pass through Penzance on route to Land's End, mainland Britain's most westerly point. For some, the town is a gateway to place much further away. It’s impossible to spend much time in Penzance without noticing the exciting roar of the Helicopters that regularly take off and land at the heliport here. They provide the quickest link to the Scilly Isles, about 60 kilometres away, out at sea.
Visitor Information
Penzance Visitor Information Point, Station Approach, Penzance, TR18 2NF, Tel: 0844 8889275
Penlee House is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm (reduced hours during winter). Entry costs around £4.50 for adults, children are FREE. Saturdays entry is FREE. Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4HE. Tel: 01736 363 625

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