People Are Falling in Love with Penzance Prom All Over Again

Penzance Prom

People Are Falling in Love with Penzance Prom All Over Again

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Here Are 5 of the Reasons Why

Anyone up for a spot of storm watching? Rollerblading? Wild swimming?

You get the idea. Penzance Promenade, or ‘the Prom’ to give it the name locals know and love it by, is a gleaming mile of pedestrianised joy where, since 1844, residents and visitors have come out to play. It’s a place to bathe in that famous silvery light (and possibly a little sea spray) and rejuvenate body and soul.

Penzance prom had a makeover in 2020-2021 and is looking more spankingly beautiful than ever. Behold the bright new surface and sparkling new railings! The Prom also boasts brass inlaid street signs, swimmers etched into the surface where the public baths once stood, striking giant pebbles made by local sculptor Ben Barrell – and lots more intriguing arty-crafty details.

Do we sound awfully proud of our prom? Good. Because we are!

For the purposes of this article, we’re covering the stretch from Jubilee Pool to the Fisherman Statue at the entrance to Newlyn.

Here’s five reasons to love Penzance prom.

1) You’ll enjoy some of the UK’s most spectacular coastal views

Yes, we know – virtually every coastal town this side of Exeter bigs up its world-beating views. But does every town have iconic St Michael’s Mount floating in the bay, beguilingly, like an enchanting tale just waiting to be told? We rest our case.

Look out beyond the Mount and you’ll spot the Lizard, pointing a long finger towards the ships on the horizon. In the other direction, Newlyn tumbles down the hill towards the ocean. Just take a pew and watch the changing light on the turrets of St Michael’s Mount, from pale grey to honey as the day wears on. Or gaze at the fishing boats chugging out from Newlyn harbour, off to catch your supper, perhaps… Hands down, it’s the best do-nothing spot in town.

Newlyn view to Penzance

2) You can get sporty by the sea

Many a local will vouch for the miraculous power of Penzance prom to get you moving. There’s something about that glorious ocean-hugging run of smooth, flat (and disabled accessible) prom that puts a little extra va-va-voom in the tank for walkers, runners, rollerbladers, cyclists, and skaters.

Along the way, you’ll also have access to a skate park nestled right against the ocean, an outdoor gym, basketball courts, and a nice and sandy children’s play area.

There’s even an immaculate crown bowls green right by the ocean’s edge where, somehow, the bowlers manage to keep their eyes off the stunning view and on the game. (Members from other clubs are very welcome to play.)

To sum up, Penzance prom is a fabulous place to get fit. In fact the Instagrammable view will set your pulse racing before you’ve even finished your warm up.

And we haven’t even got on to the subject of swimming yet…

3) You can take a warm or cold dip

At the eastern end of Penzance Prom, our world-famous Art Deco lido, Jubilee Pool, has been making a splash with locals and visitors since 1935. And an even bigger splash since ingenious engineers tapped into geothermal heat 410m into the ground and piped up hot water. Yes, using the special geothermal pool area you can now swim and bathe outdoors, in Cornwall, all year round in 30-35 degrees heat. Bliss, or what?

For those who are ‘too cool to pool’, there are also bracing wild swimming opportunities at Battery Rocks, just behind the pool and easily accessible via a ramp. From summer to winter – even on Christmas Day – you’ll see individuals and groups such as the ‘Belles and Buoys’ proudly showing off their goosebumps (no wetsuits for these legends) and gliding into the ocean. Why not join them?

Finally, when the tide is out, the spot just below the skate park is a lovely stretch of pebble and sand where local mums and dads bring children straight from school for a dip in the summer months. #LivingTheDream.

Swimming in Penzance

Photos courtesy of Mat McIvor

4) You can sample some foodie delights

If running, cycling and plunging into icy seas is out of your comfort zone, there are delights on Penzance prom that may be more to your tastes. How about, for instance, taking your stroll with plenty of foodie pitstops thrown in?

Just before the Prom itself, a stone’s throw from Jubilee Pool, you’ll discover the town’s dock and harbour district. Here several pubs and eating houses – The Dolphin Tavern, The Dock Inn, the Waterside Meadery and the Boatshed – offer great food and drink served up with plenty of nautical atmosphere.

At the Jubilee Pool Café, you can munch on fishy and veggie delights with breathtaking views of the pool and ocean. Meanwhile, half way down the prom, you can pick up award-winning seaside fayre from Fraser’s Fish and Chips, the clatter of coins from the nearby amusement arcade adding to the authentic experience. Finish up with a local ice cream in the same spot.

At the Western Newlyn end, in the sunny months you can head towards Jelbert’s, the famous ice cream shop serving any flavour you like as long as it’s vanilla. (Oh, but that vanilla is soooo good.)

You’ve had an ice cream, earlier? Oh come off it, this is a two ice cream walk and you know it!

5) You can get wild in winter

In recent years, winter breaks have definitely become a thing. And no place in our town reveals the charms of the chilly season like Penzance prom. On a stormy day it can get super wild out there. You’ll get buffeted by salty winds. You’ll feel the salty spray on your face. And, my goodness, you’ll know you’re alive.

This is one off the most bracing walks in the West (definitely in a good way) and much-loved by Penzancers getting out for an hour’s walk and returning home with a proper glow in their cheeks.

In fact, when the storms are particularly dramatic, you’ll spot plenty of local photographers vying for the perfect shot of luminous sea spray exploding in a gunmetal sky. It’s something to see. In fact, we’ve been enjoying it for well over 100 years as a famous Victorian painting attests. Why not take a winter break and join us for the experience?

Lead photo: Duncan Scobie