West Cornwall, or Penwith (to use its Cornish name), is a place apart from the rest of England, sometimes called an Island Kingdom since it is almost entirely separated by sea and river from the remainder of the country, surrounded by the sea from the English Channel on the south to St Ives Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the north.
The Cornish are proud of their heritage and everywhere in West Cornwall are reminders of its past industrial greatness - the mine stacks and engine houses of the old tin and copper mines, some perched in impossible locations on the very edge of steep granite cliffs. A rich history over thousands of years is captured in the Bronze and Iron Age relics and ancient stone crosses. From moorland and the rugged cliffs of the north and west coasts to the soft tranquillity of the sub-tropical climate of the south, it is a place in which to relax in natural beauty with open spaces and friendly people and it has long been a favourite with both British and Overseas visitors who enjoy its peaceful and relaxing way of life.
The ancient town of Penzance is the ‘Capital’ of the far West of Cornwall and is the last major town before the Atlantic Ocean. It is easily reached by either rail or road, with the A30 and A38 roads giving access from all parts of England, mainly by Motorway or dual-carriageway. It is both a market town and a popular tourist destination, and features an attractive promenade on its sea front. There are several historic houses in the town, along with a number of museums and galleries. It includes the most westerly major harbour on the English Channel. From here, there are ferry services both by sea and air to the Isles of Scilly, which lie some 28 miles beyond Lands End.
Penzance is the natural touring centre for the Lands End peninsula, historically known as Penwith. The peninsula is an area of outstanding natural beauty, containing some of the finest coastal scenery in the country. The cliffs and beaches, accessible both by road and from the Cornish Coastal Footpath, are truly spectacular. The beaches and the sea around Penzance are amongst the cleanest and safest in the country - both for beach activities and for water-sports.
Having been populated since pre-historic times, the area contains numerous 'standing stones' and 'stone circles' (e.g. the Merry Maidens) as well as iron-age village sites which remain as memorials to that era. The National Trust has several properties in the surrounding area which have made their own contribution to the heritage of which the area is so proud. Local places of interest include St Michael’s Mount, the famous landmark of Lands End, the artist's town of St Ives, the unspoiled village of Mousehole, and the famed Minack Theatre. Access to all these locations, and many others, is easy whether by public transport or by car.
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