The name Penzance is derived from the Cornish Pen Sans, meaning holy headland, as a chapel once stood on the point to the west of the harbour more than a millennium ago. The town received various Royal Charters from 1512 onwards and has long been the commercial centre for the Land’s End Peninsula.
Down at the bottom, close to the harbour is the Dolphin Inn, which is said to have been the first place in Britain where tobacco was smoked. It is also said to have housed Sir John Hawkins during the wars with Spain and to have been the venue for trials over which Hanging Judge Jeffreys presided in the 17th century.
From Penzance harbour, ferries go to the Isles of Scilly. It is also possible to travel to the islands by helicopter from the newly reinstated Penzance Heliport and by small plane from Land’s End Airport. A little way along the seafront in the direction of Newlyn is the art deco Jubilee Swimming Pool, opened in 1935.