We’re going off the beaten track to discover some of Penzance’s quieter – and most delightful – nooks and crannies.
You know – the kinds of places that don’t appear in the Big Tourist Write Ups in the posh newspapers.
The ones that feed the souls of locals and adventurous visitors who like a serving of solitude with their quest for beauty.
Treat these spots with love and respect. They’re not ‘visitor destinations’ but the fabric of our town.
Probably just soak them in without that selfie. Some moments don’t need to be captured – just cherished and remembered.
There’s something BBC costume drama about Regent Square. You almost find yourself searching for the actors and the catering van.
Built in 1839, it’s a glorious little suntrap of brightly coloured Regency houses with columned entrances and chocolate boxey gardens out front. You’ll notice lots of beautiful architecture immediately before and after the square, so look up and around.
Wind on through and then follow your way to the seafront.
Get there: Walk down famous Chapel Street, turn right opposite the Admiral Benbow and left at the fork.
St Mary’s Churchyard
Few locals can take this well-known shortcut between the town and Prom without a nice bit of sit down. No prizes for guessing why.
Comfy benches. Check.
Outrageous views over the bay and the boats coming in on summer evenings. Check!
Read a book. Enjoy some sun. Compose a haiku.
This churchyard is a quiet-lover’s paradise and the site has been a place of worship since at least the fourteenth century.
Get there: Walk down Chapel Street. Almost at the bottom, turn right at the gate and walk up the steps into the churchyard. (You really can’t miss it.)
Lescudjack Hill Fort
We’re venturing up and away from the harbour, beyond the granite Victorian townhouses to the remote heights of North Eastern Penzance.
Which is perhaps what Iron Age folk would have done over 2,000 years ago at the first sniff of strangers.
Lescudjack Hill Fort is a genuine hill fort – still unexcavated – with evidence of ramparts. It would have been a refuge 2000 years ago and can be for you too if you want to get away from the crowds.
Why come, apart from the quiet? Certainly not for archaeological remains. There’s not much to see here in that respect. It’s all about The View. From this spectacular high spot, you’ll look right down over the harbour.
The perspective is decidedly weird here. You almost feel like you could reach your hand out and splash your face with seawater. Spectacular.
Get there: Start at the bottom, train-station-end, of Penzance next to The Longboat pub. Walk up Leskinnick Street, turn right and venture up Lescudjack Road. At the top, turn left into Penare Road. At the crossroads, turn right up Castle Road. The fort is on the top of the hill on the right.
Penzance doesn’t provide you with a coherent, cobbled ‘old town’. It’s a little more fragmented than that. And all the better for it. Frequently, you’ll turn off a main street into a narrow alleyway that’s like a little portal into a more piratey kind of time. It’s as if the distant past is playing hide and seek with you.
One of the loveliest little cobbly bits is the upper approach to Abbey Slip. Get here by walking off famous Chapel Street and past the (almost as famous) The Abbey hotel. The view over the harbour and bay is spectacular.
Continue down the cobbled slip to Abbey Basin (the inner harbour). The slip and basin, all weathered granite and worn in cobbles, feel gloriously old.
You can also marvel at occasional Penzance locals who drive their cars up the near-vertical slip. And the other PZers at the bottom of the slip jumping into Abbey Basin in all weathers.
Get there: Coming down Chapel Street, turn left next to the Admiral Benbow pub and follow your nose.
Firstly, it isn’t called Battery Rocks because it rocks – though maybe it should be.
Secondly, this is a bit of a controversial entry into our quiet list, given the massive boom in sea swimming from this spot. But we’re making the rules here, so Battery Rocks is in!
This location takes its name from a gun battery that was placed here around 1740, following a petition by Penzance Borough council for protection from French naval attacks. There are far fewer French attacks now, so the gun is gone.
But the name remains in this lovely rocky site behind the famous Jubilee Pool, where you can soak up some sun, explore a few rock pools or join PZers diving in the sea. (Seriously, they’re everywhere.)
Get there: Look for the war memorial immediately next to the open-air pool. Head towards it and follow the track hugging the pool walls.
Find more inspiration on where to visit, shop, eat and stay in Penzance and surrounding areas at lovepenzance.co.uk.