I spent two days in Penzance this week and just as the UK revelled in the heat wave I was attending a computer course at dpn, tucked away in the mix of granite buildings and courtyards that form the working hub of the town. But in the lunch hour I spent my time visiting the town and exploring the side streets down the harbour, to pick up the glorious cooling breeze from the sea. I had time to explore the sub tropical Morrab gardens, on the way to the sea front with the iconic Jubilee Pool set on Penzance’s broad promenade. Penzance was expecting a very famous visitor on the first morning in the shape of Prince Charles and so the whole town had its best bib and tucker on ready for the royal visit.
Of course I was blissfully unaware of the royal visit as I tucked the car in the shade of the trees beside the tennis courts, in the long stay car for the day, for the princely sum of £1.90 and walked down towards the town centre. (If you would like to follow the royal visit though, click here for the Western Morning News report)
St John’s hall caught my eye, so bright with bunting, with the Penzance Farmers market set out with candy bright stalls, arranged around the forecourt of the dignified old building. The deliciously heady smell of the newly baked bread wafted towards me, as I took a quick snap and bustled on into the town where the summer flags fluttered from the lovely old buildings and the streets were already alive with people starting their day as befits a dignified old town
A visit to Penzance harbour
The sun was scorching down with a Mediterranean intensity as I walked down to the harbour at lunch time. I left the granite terrace of Market Jew street, so bright with flowers now and I chose the little cobbled alley just beside the Humphrey Davy statue ( Penzance’s famous son born in 1778, who presides over the stone terrace of Market Jew street and I believe was born in the building that is now Peasgood the chemists.)
And I wasn’t disappointed as I spotted some gorgeous succulents for sale outside of a cottage and atmospheric courtyards filled with dappled shade along the way before I reached the Abbey slip and the Ross bridge, that ferries the traffic between the Dry dock and the outer harbour.
The boats were bobbing in a blue sea today and all of the local workers were lining the harbour to eat their lunches with their dangling over the edge interspersed with sleepy seagulls. The sea breeze gave just enough comfort to the soaring temperatures of the day and I idly watched a boat going out before turning again into the town.
The Sub tropical Morrab Gardens
On the second day I walked down through Morrab road, which is one of the broad affluent roads that grew up at the time when Penzance was a prominent tin mining town and is now home to The Penzance Art School and of course Penlee House with the Penzance and Newlyn art collection.
As I entered Morrab gardens from the broad street I found a world of cool shade and winding paths, all carefully tended, which occasionally circling a reflective pool, with a great plant collection along the way. As I explored the labyrinth of paths I realised I was in danger of getting totally lost (not hard in my case!) so popped out of a passing gate and crossed the road to the sea and Penzance’s broad Promenade stretching away towards Newlyn. The promenade is redolent of era of the great seaside holiday heyday with great crackling flags flying overhead and harks back to the time when the railway came to Penzance!
The Art Deco Jubilee Pool and Promenade
The tide was starting to retreat leaving the rocks below as I walked toward the Art Deco Pool with the great flags crackling overhead in the breeze. It had never looked better, newly reopened yesterday by Prince Charles after a mammoth fundraising task locally to restore it after the terrible storms of a few years ago. I Looked in at the Renaissance Café overlooking the pool and took a few snaps of the cool sweeping curves of the pool so nostalgic yet with a Mediterranean vibe in the hot midday sun.
Ah but time and tide and time to go back to my course so this time I picked my way up the old historic Chapel street crossing the road to hug the shade as I climbed the worn granite pavement back towards
my computer course with just time to buy a snack in Archie Browns whole food shop and café before scurrying back to the classroom!.