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Inspired by John Blight’s 1861 book, A Week at the Land’s End, the photographic exhibition follows in the footsteps of Penzance tourists of the 19th and early 20th century.

With its picturesque coastline, horse-drawn carriages and sprawling seafront hotels West Penwith came to be known by the Victorians as ‘an enchanted landscape’. Images on display at Penlee House span from the 1860s to the 1950s, revealing not only changes in architecture, transport and fashion, but also parts of the region that have remained the same. Included are rare pictures of West Penwith from some of the earliest photographic artists, such as John Branwell and Gibson & Sons.

One early tourism pioneer was James Richards who ran a four horse brake from Penzance to the Logan Rock and Land’s End during the 1870s. Photographers often took a photograph of the waiting passengers and would have the prints ready for their return. These pictures, along with contemporary travel guides and newspapers, give a fascinating insight into these early sightseeing tours.

Penlee House Gallery and Museum

Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4HE

01736 363625


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Temporarily closed

We are operating a booking system - please book your place in advance at

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

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