Top places to live in Cornwall Penzance
A bustling quirky harbourside town with a vibrant arts culture, Penzance offers seaside living at (relatively) affordable prices. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
In common with a lot of Cornish towns, Penzance was once a rather down-at-heel town which is now on the up. The gateway to the far west of Cornwall, it is now one of the few places in Cornwall where you can find Georgian and Victorian architecture at anything resembling a reasonable price. Arty Penzance is full of culture, including several art galleries and theatres.
Currently closed due to lockdown 3.0, in the town centre itself you’ll find The Shore on Alverton Street, or grab a pizza at the beautiful turquoise Totti. Just down the seafront is Ben Tunnicliffe’s pub, The Tolcarne Inn at Newlyn and other good pubs, just out of town, include The Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe, Mexico Inn at Longrock and The Old Coastguard at Mousehole. Ten minutes drive in the other direction is the little harbour town of Porthleven where you’re spoilt for choice with The Square and Kota, plus Michael Caine’s new place.
Chapel Street has the loveliest independent shops including design shop No.56 Penzance as well as others selling books, antiques, indoor plants and more. The Exchange Gallery has a good gift shop and cafe. Penzance high street has more of the usual high street brands and there are several out-of-town supermarkets.
Take a drive round the West Penwith coastal road down to Porthcurno, Lands’ End, Zennor and back round to St. Ives. From Penzance you can get a ferry or catch a flight to the Isles of Scilly. The Newlyn Art Gallery and its sister gallery The Exchange have regular exhibitions and head to The Acorn for your fix of shows, theatre and music. The Minack Theatre is just down the road, along with a host of gardens including Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, Trengwainton and Godolphin. Don’t miss the art-deco Jubilee Pool, with the newly opened geothermal heated pool, the first of it’s kind in the UK.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES
£245,075. Terraced properties were the most sold property last year, costing an average of £216,315. Detached properties cost on average £341,322, with semi-detached properties costing £268,264.
For secondary, the outstanding Mounts Bay Academy is in Penzance as well as several good rated state primaries. If you’re after private education, the choice is limited to driving to St Piran’s School in Hayle or up into Truro where you’ve got the choice of Polwhele House School, Truro School, Truro High School for Girls and Truro Prep.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The Admiral Benbow pub on Chapel Street has a narrow tunnel underneath that was once used by smugglers and the entire place is decked out in items recovered from vessels wrecked on Cornwall’s coast over the past 400 years, earning the pub a CAMRA award for historical significance.
Penzance is the very last mainline station so you can be at London Paddington in a not-very commutable length of 5.5 hours, so it’s probably more of a weekly option. There’s also the option of the Night Riveria sleeper service to emerge meeting-ready at 6.45am in Paddington. Penzance is at the end of the A30 so you can whizz up to Bodmin in around one hour and Exeter in two.
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