UK Travel | Guide to Penzance

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

The final instalment of my Penzance Travel Series on Miranda’s Notebook.

This is my final blog post about Penzance, featuring a general guide to the area that I hope you’ll find a useful reference for if ever you visit the area. Apologies it’s taken me awhile to write, but I’ve just finished a crazy week, where everything seemed to go wrong all at once. Happily, though, I’ve just started half term, and I’m looking forward to having more time to concentrate on blogging.

I hope you enjoy this guide to Penzance. I have included the places I loved best from my visit, as well as some I would love to visit next time.

Shop

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

Chapel Street is a shopper’s delight. It’s full of intriguing antique shops, second-hand books and beautiful homeware supplies. Here are some of the shops I loved the most:

Number 56. This lifestyle shop’s focus is on beautiful as well as functional design. Full of handcrafted goods, attractive stationery and gorgeous perfumes, it’s easy to spend hours browsing. I picked up a pretty notebook, handmade soap, a wooden butter knife and plate and an enamel teapot. It was hard to restrain myself to only those purchases, and I’ll definitely be checking out the online shop regularly.

Newlyn Books and Endpaper (both situated in Captain Cutters House). A mix of secondhand books and lovely stationery, these are two more shops in which to enjoy a lovely browse. I admired the impressive collection of orange penguin books, and I was happy to discover the fabulous artist Liekeland, picking up a few of her characterful cards to bring back to London.

& Living. Scandi-inspired homeware, full of cute cushions and brightly coloured ceramics.

Pure Nuff Stuff. For natural, handmade skincare products. I love their Dream Cream, which was part of a toiletries gift box I received when staying at Chapel House. All Pure Nuff Stuff products are made in small batches, so you can even get some custom made according to your personal preferences.

Fishboy. Quirky clothing and accessories, featuring many designs that are screen-printed in house. Pick up a Penzance-themed t-shirt for the man in your life.

There are also some fantastic shops to discover near to Chapel Street:

Barton Books. This bookshop is an utter delight, offering a small but exceptionally well curated stock. I discovered the charming Do Book Company books here, which I mentioned in this recent Tea & Tattle episode, and there were many more books that I wished I could have carried back in my suitcase.

Curios. Crammed full of vintage china, this shop is a treasure trove for those – like me– who love to collect old-fashioned teacups. I bought a dainty rose-patterned cup that has featured in many of my Instagram photos since and serves as a lovely reminder of my Cornwall holiday.

Bohemia. Specialising in local ceramics and craft, this is a great shop to pick up a unique piece. Everything is thoughtfully displayed, and the owner is very helpful, filling you in on the details of local artists and ceramicists whose work she features. I bought a beautiful handcrafted mug that serves a striking ornament, as well as functional piece.

Seasalt. This women’s clothing and homeware shop is the perfect place to pick up a striped jersey top. They come in all different colours (pink, green, light blue, dark blue, yellow etc stripes) and several styles, so you can find the perfect Breton look for you.

Make Industries. I loved this small deli, which stocked a good range of local specialties. I picked up several bars of beautifully packaged chocolate the Cornish company Kernow Chocolate.

Explore

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange. This contemporary art gallery offers small, but well chosen exhibitions in an attractive space. I had the pleasure of seeing a Joy Gregory photography show whilst in Penzance, which was a real delight.

Jubilee Pool. Sadly closed when I was in Penzance, this stunning Art Deco pool was recently restored to its former glory and is definitely a must-visit during the warmer months in Penzance.

St Michael’s Mount. This enchanting castle on a tiny, rocky island has a fairytale quality to it that is bound to captivate. Read my full blog post about the castle and gardens here.

Penlee House. I loved exploring this art gallery and museum, housed in a beautiful historic home. Paintings displayed are by the Newlyn School artists from 1880-1940, and a highlight for me was seeing some sketches by Laura Knight. There were also some fascinating textiles and clothing to admire.

Polgoon Vineyard. I’ve definitely got this vineyard on my list to visit whenever I’m next in Penzance. Their wine tastings sound a lot of fun, and I always appreciate the chance to try some British wines.

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens. Especially dazzling in the springtime, when bluebells carpet the ground of the woods, it’s worth the short drive from Penzance to enjoy this beautiful valley garden. Read more of my visit here.

Morrab Library. Located in the pretty Morrab Gardens, this library promises ‘floor to ceiling shelves in the rambling rooms of a delightful Victorian building’, and is on my list for a return visit.

Eat

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

The Shore. For a truly special experience, nothing beats Bruce Rennie’s fantastic seafood restaurant. Read my full review of it here.

Newlyn Art Gallery cafe. A real highlight of the Newlyn Art Gallery is their gorgeous cafe, which is light and spacious, has a sweet reading corner for children, and is great for a cup of tea, cake or a light lunch.

The Front Room. A charming spot for breakfast, brunch and light lunches. You can read my full review here.

The Cornish Hen. Their Cornish pasties are meant to be brilliant.

The Honey Pot. Several people recommended cake at the Honey Pot to us, and it did not disappoint! We were served generous slabs of warm apple cake, served with a lavish helping of Cornish clotted cream. Delicious! It’s a good idea to book a table in advance here, though (even for just tea and cake), as it gets extremely busy.

Fraser’s Fish & Chips. Order fish & chips to go and enjoy munching them as you stroll along the promenade.

Sleep

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

Chy-An-Mor. A charming, family-run B&B with pretty, comfortable rooms, fantastic breakfasts and views of the sea. Read my review here.

Chapel House. Gorgeous interiors, spacious, well-designed rooms and delicious, home-cooked food. This would also be an ideal wedding venue. Read my full review here.

Artist Residence Hotel. Also situated on Chapel Street, this hotel offers attractive rooms and a well-respected restaurant.

Myrtle House Penzance. A beautiful Georgian house that can we rented for a minimum of 3 nights. Perfect for a self-catering holiday with friends or family.

The Egyptian House. Part of the Landmark Trust, it’s possible to rent apartments for short stays in this extraordinary building on Chapel Street.

Read

Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read

I always find that reading books set in the area in which I’m holidaying adds a great deal to my enjoyment and appreciation of an area. Here’s a suggested Cornwall reading list for you:

Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, Frenchman’s Creek and Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier.

Poldark Series by Winston Graham

A Gull on the Roof by Derek Tangye

The Shell-Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (set in Scotland, but the lighthouse that provided inspiration for Woolf is in Cornwall.)

The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley

The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey

Have you ever been to Penzance? Do let me know if you have any recommendations for places I’ve missed!

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Guide to Penzance: What to Shop, Eat, Explore, Sleep and Read