Chysauster Ancient Village is one of the best-preserved Iron Age villages in Britain.
At the heart of West Penwith is the town of St Just, surrounded by one of the most ancient mining districts in Cornwall. Remains of ancient pre-industrial and more modern mining activity have had a considerable impact on the nearby landscape.
Fans of Poldark will recognise the dramatic clifftop locations around Botallack; here, engine houses mark the mines that stretched far out under the sea and stand as memorials to the men who worked and died there.
You can get a real taste of their hard lives by visiting locations like Geevor, which stopped work in 1990. There, the works are much as they were left, and you can enjoy a comprehensive tour. At Levant, you can walk in the footsteps of miners through a tunnel to the engine house.
The coast here is home to the remarkable underground Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and its next-door neighbour, the Minack Theatre, an amphitheatre perched right on top of the cliffs where there’s a spring and summer season of entertainment staged with the unforgettable backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
Eventually, the A30 or the train tracks will take you as far as you can go: your last town is Penzance.
It emerges as part of the majestic sweep of Mounts Bay, with majestic St Michael’s Mount
looming over the opposite end and miles of beautiful seaside between.
St Michael’s Mount itself is open to the public and climbing to the top of this ancient historic site is a Cornish must.
Penzance itself has a busy shopping centre with a mixture of national brands and independent traders offering a distinctive flavour of Cornwall.
The sub-tropical Morrab Gardens has a large collection of tender trees and shrubs, many of which cannot be grown outdoors anywhere else in the UK.
The seafront has a superb promenade and one of the finest lidos in the country: the open-air seawater Jubilee Pool, opened in 1935, is one of the oldest surviving art deco swimming baths in the country, recently restored after suffering terrible storm damage in 2014.
Next door is Newlyn, still a major commercial fishing port and once home to the famous Newlyn school of artists, drawn by the crystalline clarity of the West Cornwall light. A little further on is the fishing village of Mousehole.
Beyond Penzance, many make the pilgrimage to Land’s End, Britain’s tail to the top of John O’Groats – some of them walking, running or riding to complete the end-to-end for charity. Land’s End has plenty of entertainment waiting at the end of your journey.
Things to see and do in West Cornwall
Trengwainton House, Penzance, is the ancestral home to the Bolitho banking dynasty; the National Trust manages its 25 acres of sheltered gardens, bursting with exotic trees and shrubs.
Land’s End is a spectacular coastal location. It has a visitor centre, craft workshops, galleries and more.
Take in a show at the Minack Theatre. The sun setting over the sea as the lights come up is unforgettable.
Levant enjoys a spectacular clifftop location for this beautifully restored engine house complete with working beam engine.
Gwithian beach, near Godrevy, is a watersports centre for surfing, windsurfing and body-boarding.
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is centred on the biggest telegraph station in the world and tells the story of long-distance communication with plenty of hands-on activities for all ages.
Paradise Park at Hayle is a wildlife sanctuary and has a jungle-themed indoor play centre. For the young ones.
The cliff walks around West Cornwall are the equal of any part of the South West Coast Path.
At Geevor tin mine, there are guided underground trips as well as surface tours.
The recently-restored Jubilee Pool in Penzance is one of Britain’s finest lidos.
Tate St Ives, home to a leading collection of modern art, is due to re-open in Spring 2017 after a comprehensive restoration and refurbishment project.
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32 Cornish Visitor Guide - Spring 2017 01736 351671
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Penlee House, Penzance, is the only Cornish public gallery specialising in the Newlyn School artists (1880 - 1940) including Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes, Walter Langley, Harold Harvey and Laura Knight.
St Michael’s Mount is one of the most-recognised images of Cornwall. Walk the causeway or take the ferry to the island fortress.
Climb to Carn Brea, marked by a castle-type building high above Redruth, Camborne and Pool for great views.
1 NEW STREET PENZANCE TR18 2LZ
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