Whether you’re shopping for a big birthday or small souvenir, Penzance has a wide range of quirky, independent shops.
We’ve taken a tour around town to bring you ten of the best.
1. Circa 21
21 Market Jew Street
Run by super-lovely silversmith Esme Burton, Circa 21 sells handmade jewellery alongside gifts and homeware, with a real emphasis on supporting Cornish makers. You’ll find locally made skincare products, artisan kitchenware and unique greetings cards. Esme’s lucky sixpences make great gifts for weddings or special birthdays.
2. Number 36
Pop into Number 36 for a cache of options for different budgets. With accessories always a winning gift, choose from scarves, jewellery and bags. If home accessories are more their thing, opt for a brightly patterned mug or cup and saucer set from Pip Studio.
3. Pure Nuff Stuff
The Egyptian House, Chapel Street
You really can’t miss Pure Nuff Stuff: just look for the highly unusual Egyptian House on Chapel Street. Once you’ve finished marvelling at the building itself, head inside to wonder at the smell of fresh, natural skincare products. Pick up some soaps or ‘bath shots’ for a small present, or say it well with a customised gift box.
4. No. 56
56 Chapel Street
Feel instant ease as you step into the calm, coastal tones of No. 56. If you’re shopping for a home-lover, take your pick: highlights include soft grey and white linens, vintage-style kitchenware (think Kilner jars and light wooden utensils) and frosted glass vases. Your finds will work equally well in a townhouse or classic Cornish cottage.
27 Market Jew Street
If you love pretty things, you’ll enjoy browsing the wares at this hidden gem. Quirky children’s presents, Cornish crockery and coastal-style decorations are all Drift staples, along with failsafe options like candles, jewellery and scarves. Around Christmas, there’s a dazzling array of decorations that make excellent couples’ gifts.
6. Mounts Bay Trading
This Aladdin’s cave has a truly eclectic collection of goods, ranging from novelty gifts to big-name men’s and ladies’ fashion. On the ground floor you’ll find ethnic-style decor and soft furnishings, while upstairs you can pick up clothing by French Connection, Sandwich and Barts. A great choice if you’re looking for something a bit different.
7. Newlyn Books
Captain Cutter’s House, 52 Chapel Street
Once a traditional tobacconist, this richly stocked second-hand bookshop deserves a very leisurely browse. If you’re a book-lover, lose hours among volumes of local history and rare old editions of major works. For a really one-off gift, grab some vintage Penguin paperbacks and wrap them in decorative gift paper from Endpaper (just across the corridor).
8. The Painted Bird
41 Market Jew Street
Colour your gift beautiful with bright, creative homeware and clothing from The Painted Bird. Top picks include handmade ceramic mugs, beautiful stationery and fashion accessories. The bohemian pottery range includes Scandinavian-print mug sets, cups and eggcups.
10 Arcade Steps, Market Jew Street
Tucked away at the Arcade Steps, Space is a quirky gift shop with lots of choice. Here you’ll find everything from funky lunch bags and purses to beaded jewellery, retro-inspired clocks and baby clothes. If you’re here on holiday, the bright Cornish coasters and art prints will make unique souvenirs.
10. Polgoon Vineyard
It’s well worth venturing outside the main town to visit this beauty of a vineyard on the A30 near Castle Horneck. The original on-site shop selling Polgoon’s own wine and cider (all grown and made on-site) has been expanded to include artisan food, with a great selection of local delicacies to put in a gift hamper.
For even more options, take a look at our guide to shopping in Penzance.