Walk - Penzance YHA- Town Trail

2.8 miles (4.5 km)

Penzance Youth Hostel Penzance Station main car park

Easy -

A tale of admirals and smugglers, judges and rebels, chapels and piggeries, Iron Age and Art Deco, all lavishly illustrated in a host of fascinating features in this leisurely stroll around the streets of Old Penzance.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Number Nine B&B

Number Nine offers extremely comfortable accommodation in a lovely Georgian house in central Penzance. Conveniently situated for the South West Coast Path.

Honeydew Guesthouse

5 mins from the Coast Path, bus/train stations, town centre, pubs, and restaurants. Ideal location. We aim to make your stay a comfortable and memorable one. Dog friendly.

Cornerways Guest House

Close to the Path & bus/rail stations, Silver/Breakfast/Rose Awards. All rooms ensuite. Ideal touring base.

Glencree House

We're a friendly, award-winning B&B located 50 yards from the Promenade. Cozy beds and great breakfasts in an award winning B&B

Keigwin House

Popular 'home from home', 5 minutes from the Path and town centre. Great breakfasts and a warm welcome awaits. 2 x standard single and 2 x family ensuite rooms

The Tremont Hotel

The Tremont is approx. 300 metres from the South West Coast Path offering quality bed & breakfast, packed lunches and drying facilities. Walkers welcome.

Mountview Hotel

Ten minutes from the Coast Path. Open all year. B*B includes a full Cornish breakfast. Dogs welcome and free of charge.

The Lookout

Set in Mousehole, The Lookout offers everything you need for a short stay. Ideal for those who are looking for a boutique hotel experience, but would like to self cater.

Mount Haven

19 beautiful en-suite rooms, restaurant, treatment room, and Terrace Bar with sea views across Mount's Bay

Lamorna Pottery B&B

We offer an en-suite family room sleeping 4 as well as double & twin rooms available. Single night stays. Evening meal by arrangement. Seating area and outlook onto patio and woods.

Bosula House

Bosula House, set in a peaceful location. Val & Paul offer a warm, friendly welcome, comfortable night’s sleep, ensuite rooms and a good breakfast to start your day.

Lamorna House Homestay

Charming king-size room in lovely home with exclusive use of family sized bathroom and light, healthy breakfast.

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Godolphin Arms

Located on the beachfront. Large restaurant with sea view terrace and 10 x en-suite rooms.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Western Discoveries Walking Holidays

Western Discoveries are the local experts for walking holidays in Cornwall. They are based in West Cornwall and specialise in providing self-led walking holidays along Cornwall’s stunning coast path. Accommodation, luggage transfers, maps, their own detailed route notes and arrival/departure transfers from local transport terminals are all provided with an unparalleled attention to detail.

St Michael's Mount

A tidal island, castle, family home, sub-tropical garden. History and adventure in every step

Explore In Cornwall

We provide guided day and half day walks on the South West Coast Path across Cornwall and other parts of the Trail. These are guided by Steve Crummay who has 30+ years experience of working in Cornwall's amazing coast and countryside.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

Depending upon your energy levels either take a car into town to the Railway Station car park and begin the walk at Point 1 OR walk for 40 minutes to the station.
From Penzance Youth Hostel, cross over the A30 and continue on Castle Horneck Road. Keep left at the junction and follow Alverton Road past the YMCA. Keep going along Alverton Road into town. Keep along Market Jew Street, until you reach Albert Street. The Railway Station is on the sea front.

  1. From Penzance Railway Station follow Station road past Sullivan’s Diner onto Wharf Road. Walk down Wharf Road with the car park to your left. Pass the old lifeboat house to cross the Abbey Basin on the Ross Bridge walkway and continue to the old Trinity House Depot. Carry on to the Dolphin Inn and cross the road again to walk along the inner harbour. If you detour along the pier, return to this point and carry on around the bend to cross Battery Road to the Jubilee Pool.

Penzance was the first Cornish port to have a lifeboat, bought for 150 guineas in 1803. however, nine years later, having never been used, it was sold to pay off a debt. As the harbour grew busier later in the century, a new lifeboat house was built with a brand new lifeboat to go with it.
Launching the boat turned out to be difficult from this site, requiring a team of horses to drag it around two sharp corners to Abbey Slip, where the deep mud at low tide compounded the problem. Consequently the lifeboat was moved to Newlyn in 1908, with reserve boats remaining at Penzance.
The swing bridge, which opens to admit ships to a dry dock built in 1814, was named after local MP and banker, Charles Campbell Ross, in 1881. It was designed as a link between the harbour piers and the railway.
It is said that Plymouth-born Admiral Sir John Hawkins often used the Dolphin Inn as his headquarters during the long hostilities between Britain and Spain in the sixteenth century. The following century, George Jeffreys, the infamous 'Hanging Judge' also based himself in the inn when he tried and summarily condemned many of Monmouth's followers in the Westcountry Rebellion of 1685. Workmen restoring the building early in the twentieth century found a secret hideaway, and another hidden room was later discovered in the roof. The inn is also said to be the place where tobacco was first smoked in England, as well as having its own ghost: a bearded sea captain with a tricorne hat.
Flanking the harbour in the sixteenth century was a small fort, or barbican, built by Henry VIII to protect the harbour from French and Spanish fleets. Its large bronze cannon was nonetheless carried off in a Spanish raid in 1595. In the eighteenth century, amidst further hostilities with the French in the Napoleonic Wars, a battery of 30 pounders was installed on Battery Rocks, below the present-day war memorial, to protect the bay.
The Jubilee Pool was opened in 1935 to celebrate the Jubilee of King George V in 1935, and a recent major refurbishment programme restored it to its former glory as one of the few Art Deco lidos in existence. It was built over Cribben Zawn, a rocky cove once used by smugglers and by press-gangs 'recruiting' for Nelson's navy.
Across the road from the Jubilee Pool is another Art Deco landmark, the Yacht Inn, built to resemble the bridge of a luxury liner. This replaces a much older Yacht Inn, which was the haunt of seaweed gatherers.

  1. Crossing Battery Road again from the Jubilee Pool, follow the wall alongside the car park, turning right towards St Mary's Church and go through into the churchyard. (NB The churchyard is not suitable for visitors with mobility difficulties. In this case carry on around the churchyard along Under Chapel yard, to rejoin the walk on Chapel Street).

The nearby St Anthony's Gardens are named after the ancient chapel which once stood on the Holy Headland ('Pen Sans' in Cornish) by the Barbican. This was a fishermen's chapel and may date from as far back as the sixth century.
The parish church of St Mary's stands on the site of a medieval chapel, demolished in the 1830s. On its southern side is St Anthony's Cross, thought to be twelfth century and moved here from St Anthony's Chapel in 1850. In the north west corner of the churchyard is a large cholera pit, the mass grave of victims of the epidemic which swept through West Penwith in 1832.
Leave the churchyard via the main gate onto Chapel Street and turn left to continue up Chapel Street and to Voundervour Lane.
On Chapel Street is the eighteenth-century red-brick house of Maria Brontë, mother of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell.

  1. Turn left on Voundervour Lane to Regent Square. Cross the road here and head left towards the sea.
  2. Turn right on St Mary's Terrace and then left into Morrab Gardens. Walk through the gardens to come out on Morrab Road.
  3. On Morrab Road turn left and cross the road to carry on towards the Promenade. At the bottom of the road cross again and turn right to take the steps to the Promenade. Turn right here to walk towards Newlyn.
  4. After the second shelter take the steps up to the main road and cross at the traffic island. Continue along the right-hand side of Alexandra Road
  5. Turn right into Trewithen Road and then right into Penlee Park.
  6. Coming out of the park, turn left along Morrab Road to St John's Hall.

The granite façade of St John's Hall, built in 1864-7, came from Lamorna quarry, just down the coast. The rest of the building was constructed of 'Downs Stone', largely taken from the embankment around the Iron Age hillfort of Chun Castle, on the hills to the north west of the town. The hall was the largest granite Italianate style building in Britain, and its top step, measuring some 5.75m x 1m, is one of the biggest pieces of granite ever quarried.

  1. From St John's Hall head towards the town centre, turning left to walk to the top of Clarence Street.

Clarence Street is said to run along one of the oldest trackways in Penzance, which led up to the church in Madron. At the top of the street is a granite drinking 'chute', whose water was drawn from a stream that began near the Madron Wishing Well.

  1. Cross the road and walk around the car park, turning right down Causewayhead.

Causewayhead was one of the busiest shopping streets in Penzance, where tailors and bootmakers rubbed shoulders with butchers and paper hangers, with an anchor foundry and assorted stables, piggeries and rag and bone stores. The street was the place where the town's 'caunsed' (paved) streets turned into the country road to Madron, hence its name.

  1. At the bottom of Causewayhead turn left towards the town centre, with the Market House on your right. Passing the Humphry Davy statue on your right, carry on to the pedestrian crossing. Cross the road and turn right to head back up to the top of the street.

Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the miner's cherished 'Davy Lamp', was born just a few doors away from his statue in 1778. A classical scholar and professor of chemistry, he also discovered the elements potassium, sodium and chlorine.

  1. Immediately after the Star Hotel turn left into New Street and then right into Princes Street, turning left onto Chapel Street beyond. Walk down Chapel Street, passing St Mary's Church to turn left after the Admiral Benbow and continue down Abbey Street, turning down Abbey Slip to come out back on Wharf Road, from where you can retrace your steps to the start of the walk.
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