Penzance is a seaside town and popular holiday destination for anyone hoping for access to the sea, attractive walks, and quaint fishing villages steeped in myth and history. The town is accessible by railway, as the final stop on the Western train service from London, and is the most Westerly major town on the English mainland, in the South West of the country. From it, the St. Mary’s Ferry provides access to the stunning Isles of Scilly nearby. A clear day on a coastal walk might also yield views of the area’s other isles too, such as St. Michael’s Mount, a small island accessible by foot at low tide, or at high tide by boat, which is home to a medieval church and castle as well as many photo opportunities at the so-called Giant’s Well.
Odyssey Traveller spends a number of nights in Penzance as part of our tour of Devon and Cornwall. Beginning in the city of Bristol, our tour delves into the history and mythology of this most Celtic of English regions, visiting Tintagel Castle on the north Cornish coast, held in the legends of King Arthur to be the birthplace of the mythical king, and the famous Glastonbury Tor, associated with Celtic mythology.
We also use Penzance as a departure point for a trip to the Isles of Scilly, the southern and westernmost point in England, and the home of the fascinating subtropical Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Odyssey Traveller has been serving world travellers since 1983. Every Odyssey group tour is designed by an expert travel director, and led by local guides chosen for their in-depth knowledge, so that you have a truly educational and informed experience of your chosen destination. We travel in small groups, ranging from 6 to 12, giving you the chance to find like-minded people in the other guests.
Our tour price includes accommodation, travel in a comfortable modern bus, attractions, and a number of meals. For more information, click here.
Penzance is a popular holiday destination much loved by native and foreign holiday makers alike, for its wealth of nearby seaside villages, access to the coast and beautiful landscape, which includes sea views and walks along cliffs. The larger parish of Penzance includes sites such as Mousehole, a charming fishing village, from which you can look out across the sea to the magical St. Clements Isle, famed for its mythic hermit inhabitant. Mousehole also boasts a sheltered beach, the perfect location for families.
The area is rich in legend and history, and Mousehole in particular has been central to this. In 1595, the village was burned by a fleet of Spanish ships. The area was decimated except for a local inn, the Keigwin Arms. The attack was thought to have been prophesied by the wizard Merlin, legendary teacher of King Arthur, and near the quay, still visible, stands Merlin’s Rock. There is an old saying; ‘There shall land on the Rock of Merlin Those who shall burn Paul, Penzance and Newlyn.’
Another of Merlin’s prophesies, regarding the headland at Rame, remains unfulfilled. It was said that ‘…when the Rame Head and Dodman meet, Man and woman will have cause to greet (cry).’ Dodman remains 40 miles from Rame Head. Nevertheless Penzance boasts other popular myths, including tales of pirates (such as in the popular Pirates of Penzance). The earliest signs of settlement in Penzance are Bronze Age so it’s possible that the oral history of the area spans the Roman, Saxon and Celtic eras.
The area’s acres of land offer not just coastal or walks along cliffs, and visitors can also enjoy an illuminating stroll through Chapel Street, Penzance’s main high street, which has a number of notable points of interest, including the Egyptian House, the Union Hotel (including a Georgian theatre which is no longer in use) and Branwell House, where the mother and aunt of the famous Brontë sisters once lived.
Penzance is also renowned in the contemporary art world; the Newlyn Art Gallery presents contemporary art work in all media by regional, national and international artists, as it has done for 120 years. For outdoor art lovers, nearby Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens offers an opportunity to experience thoughtful and evocative work by internationally renowned artists, all from dramatically landscaped gardens.
Articles published by Odyssey Traveller to assist you on your visit to Britain
The following list of articles published by Odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Britain when visiting:
- Why Join a Small Group Tour?
- Ten Things We Never Knew About London
- Exploring Newcastle upon Tyne
- Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England
- Life in the Medieval British Village
- Victorian England Rural Life
- Queen Victoria’s Britain
- New Discoveries About Britain’s Stone Circles
- Dry Stone Walls: An Alternative History of the British Isles
- British Village Icons: Pubs and Cottages
- Roman Roads in Britain
Click here to see our other articles of the British Isles.
External Articles to assist you on your visit to Britain
- Getting Around Devon
- Travel Devon
- 10 Must Visit Beaches in Devon
- Visiting the Beautiful Cornwall Region of England
- 48 hours in. . . Cornwall, an insider guide to England’s wild west
- Ten books about Walking in Britain from the Guardian
- UNESCO World Heritage sites of Britain
- Neolithic Britain (British Museum)
- Guide to Neolithic Britain (Country File)
- History: Middle Ages (BBC)
- An Introduction to Medieval England (English Heritage)
- The top 9 UK countryside breaks for 2018 (Country Living)
- 21 Most Beautiful Villages in the UK (Travel Away)
- These are the top 10 most picturesque towns, villages and cities in England (House Beautiful)
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