Secret Britain - Penzance

I wouldn’t live anywhere else

I’ve lived here for seven years and can’t imagine moving! Penzance has a unique blend of shops and a vibrant cultural scene, which keeps me busy year-round.

On a wet weekend…

…head to Penlee House Gallery and Museum in the heart of the town, which specialises in the work of early St Ives’ artists. I go back time and time again. My favourite painting has to be Eyes And No Eyes, by Frank Bramley. It shows young girls laughing at an old fisherman trying to thread a needle and I feel it gives a light-hearted view on a tough industry. Back in the Seventies I worked as a chambermaid and a copy of this painting hung in one of the bedrooms.

Where’s the best shopping?

Head to Chapel Street, where some of the town’s oldest and most interesting architecture can be found. My favourite shop is Pure Nuff Stuff, which sells wonderful handmade soaps, candles and skincare products. The other lovely thing about it is that it’s housed in a stunning old building called the Egyptian House, which was built by a mineralogist in 1812, and restored in the Seventies.

The most colourful building

On Chapel Street is the Admiral Benbow, a pub which is famous for its mention in the book, Treasure Island. Inside there’s a nautical feel with lots of interesting artefacts from dives, including cannons and bits
of ships!

  • Admiral Benbow, 01736 363448

For a special treat

Book a table at the Bakehouse Restaurant. It’s my favourite eaterie and is tucked away in a secluded flower-filled courtyard. When they say the fish is fresh – it really is. Newlyn Harbour, the largest fishing port in Europe, is less than a mile down the road.

My favourite walk…

…is from Penzance to Marazion. Find the pathway behind the bus station, where you can reach the beach if the tide’s out. Whether you take the beach or path route, you’re in for a treat. Follow Long Rock beach, which continues on to Marazion Beach. Both are dog-friendly all year round. It’s a great workout with beautiful scenery – St Michael’s Mount (a small tidal island) is visible throughout the walk.

Don’t miss…

A delicious Sunday roast! Once you reach Marazion, pop into the Kings Arms pub, slap-bang in the middle of the town, for a delicious Sunday roast for under £10.