Penzance in Cornwall
© Murray Bosley Photography/Getty Image
Panoramic Penzance. Penzance, Cornwall
This bustling coastal town is Penzance in Cornwall, forever linked with pirates thanks to Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous comic opera. These days, visitors are more likely to be tourists attracted by the wide sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and hidden coves once frequented by smugglers and wreckers. Jutting out from the seafront in our homepage photo is the UK’s largest seawater lido, the Jubilee Pool, which has been welcoming bathers since 1935. This triangular Art Deco pool offers a chilly dip for the brave, but for those who like it warmer, a separate saltwater pool is heated to a balmy 35C by pumping heat from a geothermal well 1,345ft (410m) below ground level.
Penzance sits just across Mount’s Bay from the tidal island of St Michael’s Mount, with its historic castle and chapel, linked to the mainland by a causeway which disappears at high tide. If you want a break from the beach, there’s plenty of history to explore here. The town’s name comes from “Pen Sans” in Cornish, meaning holy headland – early Christians established a chapel here over 1,000 years ago. It has been a commercial centre since the 1600s and boomed thanks to the maritime trade of the 18th and 19th centuries and, since the 1860s, the Great Western Railway link to London. Ruins of old tin and copper mines dot the coastline, part of a wider Unesco World Heritage Site celebrating the mining landscape across Cornwall and neighbouring West Devon.
But if you find you’ve eaten your fill of Cornish pasties in this tourist hotspot, you can always hop on a ferry from Penzance to explore the Isles of Scilly, the remote archipelago which sits 28 miles off Cornwall’s coast.