Cornwall Life visits Penzance... Our Town

PUBLISHED: 14:07 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013

Morrab Gardens

Morrab Gardens

Lesley Double explores 'the first and last large town in England', with its modern facilities and glorious gardens, and asks some local people for their views

The first and last large town in England, Penzance, is just ten miles from Lands End. Follow the A30 from London and, so the saying goes, if you fall into the sea youve gone a little bit too far! The town is full of history, with winding lanes and alleys, old inns and houses, stories of ancient sailors and pirates, and endless tales of times gone by. There is much to see that is new and modern, such as a small shopping centre, an excellent sports centre and swimming pool, a new college and many contemporary shops and galleries.

The gardens around Penzance are truly magnificent and, thanks to the temperate climate, plants are grown here that are usually only seen in warmer countries. Penzance is the mainline railway terminus from Paddington. On leaving the station, you will see the wide sweep of Mounts Bay, with St Michaels Mount at one end and Mousehole at the other. Take a helicopter ride or the Scillonian III ferry to the Isles of Scilly, or stroll along the promenade, past the art deco Jubilee Pool and along to neighbouring Newlyn. Penzance is a delightful adventure, very much a wish you were here town!

Sarah Nicholas is the owner of Crabby Jacks, a seafood business. I feel a special affinity with Penzance as I was born here, in the Bolitho Maternity Home, which used to stand on the seafront looking out towards Newlyn. Today I live a few miles outside the town with my family but I work in Heamoor, and every Friday I have a stall at Penzance Farmers Market in St Johns Hall. Its a great market, selling all sorts of food, drink and crafts.


I feel a special affinity with Penzance
as I was born here


I sell fish cakes, crab pt and other fishy things! I love going to St Michaels Mount and Marazion, and walking through Penlee Park. Chapel Street is full of old buildings and has lots of history attached to it. Penzance has a very good community spirit. The people are very accepting.

Louis and Rebecca Thomas and their three children, Zennor, Sam and (not pictured) Rozzy, live in Sennen. Louis works for the police and Rebecca is the project manager for the Cornish Real Nappy Project. I think Penzance is a child-friendly town. I feel we can take our children in any of the cafs or restaurants here and we particularly like Archie Browns in Bread Street.


I think Penzance is a child-friendly town.
I feel we can take our children in any of the
cafs or restaurants here


We like going to Trengwainton Garden at Madron. Its run by the National Trust and has a family trail, and you can see St Michaels Mount from the garden. Some Saturday mornings we all go to the Savoy Cinema in Causewayhead for a family day out.

Becky Mitchell is a trainee teacher and lives in Hayle. I often come to Penzance. I like the restaurants and usually meet my sister in Renaissance in the Wharfside the views from there are amazing or my friends in Sukothai, the Thai restaurant in Queen Street.

Penzance is a friendly


and relaxed town


Theres usually music going on somewhere, especially at weekends. I recently went to the Rock for Rosie charity fundraising night at Club 2K. Penzance is a friendly and relaxed town.

Mel Curnow is a registrar and lives in Bone Valley, to the east of Heamoor. She is pictured with her mother, Cherry Curnow. Most weeks Ill meet up with mum in Penzance. There are some good cafs we can go to, such as the Honey Pot in Parade Street, or the Orangery in Penlee Park.


When we go into Penzance on a Saturday,
we always bump into someone we know


The Orangery is next to Penlee House Gallery and Museum and has an outside terrace for when the weather is good. I have two children; Lowenna is eleven and Ross is nine. They go to Heamoor School, and when we go into Penzance on a Saturday, we always bump into someone we know.

Jeanette and Stephen Francis are retired and live in Heamoor. Some years ago we moved away from Penzance, but after three years we moved back again. We missed it so much and missed being near to the sea. You can walk all the way from Marazion to Mousehole along the path beside the sea its really lovely. In the evening, theres nothing better than a stroll along the prom from Penzance to Newlyn.


The people of Penzance work hard to keep
the towns traditions alive


The people of Penzance work hard to keep the old traditions alive, with festivals such as St Pirans Day in March, Golowan in June and Montol at Christmas. They do a lot for the children too. The festival organisers encourage children and schools to take part and its lovely to see them all parading or dancing through the streets

Sheila Williams is retired and comes from Bedfordshire. Ive been coming down here on holiday for nearly 23 years now, sometimes coming several times a year. I really love Penzance. I think Ive probably sampled every single caf in the town in those years; theres nothing better than sitting down with a cream tea and watching the world go by!


I really love Penzance. Theres nothing better than sitting down with a cream tea and watching the world go by!


This time my daughter and granddaughter have come with me. Its quite easy to get around town with a pram, although you need muscles for some of the hills. The paths are wide and there are seats if you need to stop, slopes to the curb and even a lift in the Wharfside. The gardens around Penzance are amazing.

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