When I was in Penzance last Spring, I managed to pack rather a lot into 3 days, taking in the delights of the town, as well as nearby Tremenheere Sculpture Park and St Michael’s Mount. This time, I returned to some familiar favourites (the Exchange Gallery, No. 56, The Front Room, Endpaper and Barton Books all high on my list), but also explored some new places. A real pleasure in visiting Penzance is that there is so much to do and see. Here are some highlights from my recent trip:
1/ The National Dahlia Collection
We seized the opportunity of a sunny morning to head to the National Dahlia Collection at Varfell Farm, just outside of Penzance. The dahlia season was just ending, but we were still in time to see some gorgeous blooms.
It felt very peaceful to wander amongst the rows of colourful flowers, with only the hum of a lawnmower disturbing the peace. Butterflies fluttered in the breeze, and, a little hazy in the distance, St Michael’s Mount could be glimpsed.
2/ Tasting Menu at The Shore
You may remember that on my last press trip to Penzance, I was invited to review The Shore restaurant. I enjoyed it so much then that, when my Dad said he wanted to take us all out for a meal to celebrate my birthday, I instantly suggested The Shore.
Since our last visit, a tasting menu (either 5 or 7 courses), as well as the regular à la carte, has been introduced. My Dad treated us to the 7 course meal, with accompanying wine flight. It was incredible! All the wines and dishes were superb, and it would be impossible to pick a favourite, though some highlights for me were the cured monkfish with seaweed salad and wasabi sorbet, hake with roasted beetroot, puy lentils and red cabbage and the raspberry sorbet. It was a fantastically memorable birthday meal.
3/ Morrab Library
This independent library, housed in a Victorian mansion, is only a few minutes walk from Myrtle House, just across the pretty Morrab Gardens, and is the perfect place for any bibliophile to while away a rainy afternoon. Morrab Library boasts an impressive collection of books, and the reading rooms are beautiful, with desks placed at windows offering breath-taking views across the gardens and out to sea.
4/ An Afternoon in Mousehole.
I’d been disappointed not to make it to Mousehole (pronounced Mowsol), a charming fishing village about a 15 minute drive from Penzance, on my last visit, so this time I was determined to go. We stopped for lunch at Rock Pool, which served crab sandwiches, cream teas and cocktails and was a lot fun! The cafe offers terrific views of the sea, and although it was too cold to sit out on the terrace, we nabbed a table near the window.
After our sandwiches, I strolled on into the town, pausing to snap plenty of photos of the winding streets and pretty harbour. I thought Mousehole was delightful, with a fairytale quality to its colourful cottages and bobbing boats.
5/ Jubilee Pool.
The Jubilee Pool had been closed on my last trip, so I was very pleased to get to visit it this time, although I’m afraid I wasn’t brave enough to have a dip! I loved the Art Deco design, and the serenity of the quiet pool, jutting out into the sea.
Next time I’m in Penzance, I’m planning a visit to Polgoon Vineyard (we tried some of their Cornish wine and cider, which were very good!) and the Minack Theatre, which I didn’t manage to get to this time. At least I have an excuse for another trip!