Penzance, located in picturesque Cornwall, is in Mounts Bay, in the far south of England. In the ancient Cornish language, its name meant “Holy Headland.” While the meaning was derived from the chapel located on the western side of the harbor over 1,000 years ago, it is not hard to imagine this being a place of holy beauty when visiting present day Cornwall.  With a population reaching 20,000, temperate Penzance ( is neither small, nor quaint, but it is picturesque with numerous lovely parks to pass the time, including Morrab Gardens — three acres of renowned sub-tropical plantings home to a surprising variety of greenery, shrubs and trees that thrive in the mild coastal climate. Some of the plants now growing over a century there include magnolias, camellias, tree ferns, palm trees, and banana plants. Near Morrab is Penlee Memorial Park with over 15 acres where you can wander or sit quietly reading and watching the world itself stroll by.

There is also a wonderfully attractive promenade along its sea front, along which the coastal trail passes. Perhaps not surprisingly, Penzance is home to many artists. As a result, there is a large array of galleries with fantastic art.

HITT Tip: There is a direct rail link from Paddington Station in London, making Penzance quite easy to get to. When visiting Penzance, no need to worry about a car. From the Tourist Information Center right outside the main train station, there are buses to take you to Lands End as well as Marazion, St. Just, St. Ives, Sennen Cove and beyond. While there are numerous small inns and B&Bs, we’d recommend Treventon Guest House, since it is supremely central, has wonderful rooms (albeit a bit noisy if you have a room on the busy street), very wonderful hosts (Steve and Diane) and sumptuous breakfasts.

Two must-see places when based in Penzance are St. Michael’s Mount (, a three-mile walk along the coastal path to the east to a stunning medieval castle with sub-tropical gardens, and Mousehole –pronounced “Mow’-zel” –, a 2.5-mile walk to the west along the same coastal path to a picturesque fishing village that has been dubbed “the loveliest village in England.” We agree, but you can decide for yourself.

Visit Cornwall crossing the causeway to St Michael's Mount is a highlight in pictureque Cornwall.

Crossing the causeway on foot during low tide to St. Michael’s Mount near Penzance, in picturesque Cornwall.

For dinner, there are plenty of pubs and eating spots, but do plan on one night (make a reservation) at the Navy Inn, a pub and restaurant owned by chef, Keir Meikle, winner of numerous food honors. He only sources local fish and produce and the food is absolutely delicious. Need to slake your thirst? Head to the Bath Inn, a proper local pub that serves only drinks, no food. The garden out back is wonderful. For local beer, order a pint of Tribute, though we prefer a nice local cider, and would recommend ordering a pint of Thatchers.

Picturesque Cornwall doesn't get much better than Mousehole.

Picturesque Cornwall is on full display at Mousehole harbor.

Heads up! This information on Picturesque Cornwall was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.

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