Cornwall LivingIssue #79

Festive Penzance

Get in the Christmas spirit with a visit to the historic market town of Penzance this December.

Penzance has been a market town for centuries and with its coastal setting and wealth of beautiful buildings, it’s the perfect place to find your Christmas spirit. For the past few festive seasons Penzance has focused on capturing the fun of Christmas, and with a town centre that boasts an enviable amount of independent shops, cafés and restaurants, it’s easy to see why it’s fast becoming a go-to destination to get in the Christmas spirit.

“It’s the perfect place to find your Christmas spirit”

Penzance Business Improvement District (BID) has been beavering away throughout the year to ensure that 2018 will deliver Christmas markets, parades, late night shopping, Sunday shopping, entertainment and last-minute shopping on 23rd December for those who are too busy to think about the ‘c’ word until it’s upon us!

Here are some dates that we wholeheartedly recommend making a note of in your diary!

Thursday late night shopping

National and independent shops are open until 8pm with entertainment and free parking in all Cornwall Council car parks after 4pm. Expect Christmas stalls and lots of entertainment!

Sunday Christmas shopping

Make the most of the weekend with shops and cafés open from 11am until 4pm on 16th and 23rd December. There will be stalls and live music to make even the most ‘Bah Humbug’ of us feel a twinge of delight!

Meet Father Christmas in his Grotto, allowing your little ones to make any last minute requests and experience the magic of Christmas.

Christmas markets

Displaying a wide range of local artisan stalls selling arts, crafts, tasty treats and Christmas surprises! 11am until 5pm on 1st and 15th December.

Christmas Lights Switch On

On 1st December from 11am until 6pm, this is a brilliant event with street entertainers, a Christmas market, Father Christmas in his grotto, choirs and bands. The lights are turned on at 4.30pm but make sure you arrive early enough to see everything and enjoy the show!

Humphry Davy Lantern Parade

Taking place on 15th December, the parade starts at 4.30pm. You can enjoy the Christmas market with festive treats and artisan crafts before watching the lantern parade light up the streets, then head along the coast and catch the lights being turned on at Mousehole at 6.30pm to complete the day!

Montol Festival

On 21st December, this festival celebrates the mid-winter solstice, and if you’ve never experienced this spectacle it’s definitely one to etch in your calendar. Masked revellers line the streets to enjoy and take part in the processions of dance, music and fire! Parades are held throughout the town from 4pm until late and are accompanied by a Christmas market, revelry and mayhem!

Christmas Eve shopping

From 10am until 4.30pm, this is your last chance to pick up that final elusive gift.

Throughout the whole of December make sure to follow the Christmas Window Trail, with shop windows decorated in the same theme. This year the theme is trees, and we expect to see some exceptional displays. Vote for your favourite window in the shop and school categories for the chance to win £100. The winning school gets a £250 prize and gets to have the winner’s shield for a year. This year there are more schools entering than ever before, so make sure to vote for yours now!

So, that should be enough to keep you suitably entertained and busy during the festive season, all to be enjoyed within the stunning seaside town of Penzance. With lights glimmering off the ocean and warming glasses of mulled wine to keep you going, it certainly sounds like our idea of Christmas heaven!


Discover More


If you would like to take part in the Humphry Davy Lantern Parade on 15th December, there are a number of artist-led workshops at the Exchange Gallery on Saturday afternoons throughout November. Find out more at or

"It’s the perfect place to find your Christmas spirit"