A body of water dominated by the grandeur of St. Michael's Mount. Located just 10 miles from Land's End, an area of Celtic culture and outstanding natural beauty surrounds the town.
Named "Pen Sans" in the ancient Cornish language, meaning "Holy Headland", referring to the headland to the western side of the harbour on which a chapel was established by early Christians well over 1000 years ago.
The town received Royal Charters for its harbour in 1512, for markets and fairs in 1592 and was formally incorporated by Royal Charter in 1614.
With a population of approx 20,000, 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, amongst Regency and Georgian terraces, along with a number of museums and galleries.
The town has the most westerly major harbour on the English Channel and, from there, ferry services operate to the Isles of Scilly, which lie some 28 miles beyond Lands End augmented by air services from both Penzance and Land's End.
What’s it all about?
In the late 1800s, Golowan was one of the last surviving midsummer festivals practiced in Cornwall. Traditionally, blazing tar barrels were paraded around the town’s streets and bonfires were lit on the surrounding hills which could be seen all around Mounts Bay and beyond. In the 1890s the authorities in Penzance outlawed the festival due to the increasing fire risk and the centuries’ old festival died out. Revived in 1991, The Golowan Festival has today become the most colourful community festival in the South West, blending Cornish tradition with contemporary imagery and ritual.
The festival brings the past and present together in a community celebration of the traditional midsummer Feast of St John. The festival has a packed programme of artists in celebration of music, performing arts and theatre. Events include a fireworks display on the prom, Mazey Day, spectacular parades through the streets and a host of street entertainment.
There's music in the streets, music in the pubs, music in the marquee and other venues around the town.
How can you take part?
The festival is one big spectacle and to say there is a lot to see and do is probably an understatement. Listen to traditional music played by the Golowan Band, don’t miss Penglaz, the Penzance ‘Obby ‘Oss that makes an appearance on St John’s Eve and you can take part in the Serpent Dances when everyone joins hands and snakes through the streets. There’s also the Quay Fair where you’ll find stalls selling local food, arts and crafts, the fun Mock Mayor Elections and the Summer Fire celebrations featuring a spectacular firework display. One of the highlights of the festival is Mazey Day (29 June 2019) when the streets of Penzance are decorated with greenery and locals and school children dressed in colourful costumes process around the town carrying spectacular sculptures based on local themes including giant fish, ships and pirates.
The Penzance Literary Festival is a festival for everyone who enjoys words
For up to date information about the event visit their WEBSITE.
What's it all about?
The Penzance Literary Festival is a festival for everyone who enjoys words – the written word, the spoken word, the recited word and the sung word too.
Penzance Literary Festival began life in 2010 as a minor gathering on the fringes of a craft fair, but has expanded rapidly into a significant and diverse celebration of books, reading and writing, with music, theatre and performance poetry added to the mix. While it quickly began to attract big-name authors, the organisers made a decision at an early stage that the growing festival would always remain rooted in the local community.
The four-day festival, run in a Cornish seaside town,has grown to become a major event in the West Country literary calendar.
How can you take part?
This year the Penzance Litfest (3-6 July) marks its ninth edition with a distinctive and enticing line-up that underlines the town's growing reputation as a top holiday destination and a centre for the arts.
Penzance Literary Festival
Venues in the centre of the town