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St Michael's Mount, Penzance

Think of Penzance and your mind automatically wanders to legends of pirates. It's a fitting thought for this wild, rugged and utterly romantic part of Cornwall, where frothing waves crash onto St Michael's Mount, hidden coves hide tales of smugglers, and history holds myths to captivate and tantalise.

But Penzance, the most westerly major town in the county of Cornwall, is much more than myth and legend; it is, in fact, a very peaceful and pleasant seaside town, where kids play in the shallows, surfers lap up the swells, day-trippers tuck into steaming-hot Cornish pasties, and sun worshippers soak up the rays when summer arrives.

As the town has stayed truer to its roots than some of the swankier resorts in Cornwall, hotels in Penzance reflect this traditional style, and you will find a handful of grand old luxury hotels, plus plenty of budget hotels, with B&Bs and guesthouses also competing for your attention. There are no major chains in the city, although you will find hotels under the Travelodge and Premier Inn brands within 10 miles.

If you're planning on visiting when the sun shines and the weather is warm enough for daily ice-creams, you should book Penzance hotels as early as possible to guarantee your room at a good price.

Staying in the town itself is a great idea to be close to the attractions of Penzance, though there are other good hotels on the coast as you head further west towards Newlyn and Mousehole. Looking east, you could also consider a stay in lovely Marazion. 

Many hotels in Penzance will request that you stay for a minimum of two nights during summer, the school holidays and Bank Holidays.

Top five attractions

Beaches

Some of the finest sands in England can be found here. Longrock Beach is ideal for families.

St Michael's Mount

One of Cornwall's most famous landmarks, this castle-topped tidal island is a must for all visitors.

Morrab Gardens

These beautiful public gardens on the border of the town centre are home to some rare and exotic species.

South West Coast Path

Walkers will enjoy the 630 miles of unspoilt beauty along one of the UK's most spectacular coastlines.

Land's End

Land's End is the most south-westerly point in mainland Britain and the start of many an epic journey to John O'Groats. It's also home to a number of family-friendly attractions such as a 4D cinema.

Events

Golowan Festival and Mazey Day; June: A celebration of history, community and the arts. This yearly treat is a real opportunity to see what the people of Penzance are all about. Just check which cider you're toasting with though - some of them pack a real punch!

Sea Salts and Sails Festival; Mousehole; July: Get your deck shoes at the ready for this epic biennial maritime festival honouring the ocean. Modern yachts and creaky old fishing boats bob side by side as the celebrations commence to the sound of sea shanties and the smell of fresh seafood.

Montol Festival; December: This mystical mid-winter gathering draws crowds to an ancient celebration of the “turning point of the year”. Look out for the main event: a lantern procession followed by musicians and dancers as they head to the bonfire at 11pm.