Penzance is an ancient town, the largest town in Western Cornwall, where you will find many shops, pubs and restaurants. It is easily accessible by train from Plymouth. You can then walk into town from the station. It is also the closest big city to Lands End in Western Cornwall, which I understand has become very touristy with a theme park, since my first trip there in the late 1980’s. When in town make sure to visit:
Newlyn Art Gallery: A contemporary gallery featuring contemporary works in all media by regional, national and international artists. They also have a contemporary cafe. Located on New Road.
St Michael’s Mount: St. Michaels Mount is the famous rocky island with a harbor and village topped by a family-owned, fortified, medieval castle. You can reach it by boat or by foot over a causeway at low tide. There are a few shops and restaurants. You can also visit the castle and gardens. You can drive or take a bus to the town of Marazion from the train station in Penzance.
Minack Theatre: Theater fans will enjoy the Minack Theatre, an outdoor venue located above the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You can see plays including those by Dickens, Shakespeare and works by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Make sure to check out the website for the National Trust, for country homes, historic bays, beaches, walks, bicycle trails, gardens and historic sites near Penzance and throughout Cornwall.
Penlee House Gallery & Museum: This is a local gallery and museum, featuring local history and the works of artists in the Newlyn School.
As far as restaurants go, I recommend Mackerel Sky Cafe. Located at 45 New Street, this is a great spot for lunch. I enjoyed the eggs benedict served with Cornish ham.
The Old Lifeboat House Bistro: This is also a fun spot for coffee or breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also serve a traditional Cornish Cream Tea.
Other ones to try include:
Victoria Inn Penzance: This is an historic inn dating from the 12th Century. It is close to Marazion and St. Michael’s Mount.
The Shore Restaurant: Featuring many local seafood dishes, the restaurant is located at 13/14 Alverton St. in Penzance.
The Honey Pot is recommended for afternoon tea. 5 Parade St.