Flying the Flag for Penzance

Having visited Mousehole and Newlyn I think it only right that we take a scenic stop off at Penzance. Like many people most of what I knew about this town was courtesy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Light Opera, The Pirates of Penzance. In other words, I didn’t know much apart from the fact that it was by the sea used to be a popular haunt for pirating types. Turns out Penzance is the end of the railway line when you journey further and further south into Cornwall. I stayed there for a few days in 2010. Although you could still see the Jolly Roger gracing a ships mast in Penzance, it didn’t really have the mysterious allure that you might expect, given that it was in a parking lot.

FA17 Penzance Pirate Ship

My impression of Penzance, more than any other place in Cornwall, is one of colour, movement, and quirkiness. One of the most striking features when I was there were the flags lining the seawall.

FA27 Flags on the Promade Penzance

The flag motif was extended around the edges of the local swimming pool. It was a stroke of brilliance to introduce such bright and exciting colours to what could be an otherwise grey scene, and sent the message that Penzance is a fun town.

FA41 Flags at Swimming Pool Penzance

Of course Penzance is steeped in history, like all of Cornwall, but there seems to be an element of quirky humour and modernity; perhaps a residual cheekiness from the pirate past?

FA39 Admiral Benbow Hotel Penzance

True to form, I had dinner in a Chinese restaurant one night, and the decor there also reflected a bold willingness to engage with colour.

FA38 Penzance Chinese Restaurant_2

When travelling, you need to expect the unexpected. And indeed a bright red dalek was the last thing I expected to see dominating a shop window.

FA23 Shop Window Penzance

Penzance might be historic, but its not behind the times. I knew enough to recognise this as a retro shop, but that was about it. Little did I realise that a few years later I would be more interested in what appears to be a collectable Villeroy & Boch coffee set. Maybe just as well. I could not have carried it home to Australia on the plane.

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One thought on “Flying the Flag for Penzance

  1. Pingback: Pirates of Penzance Q&A | Opera-Lytes Up!

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