town ("parish"), Penwith district, administrative and historic county of Cornwall, England. It overlooks Mounts Bay, where the English Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean. The remarkably equable climate allows many subtropical plants to flourish. Early vegetables and flowers are raised locally and also on the offshore Isles of Scilly, with which Penzance is linked by sea and air services. Newlyn, nearby, is a small fishing port much frequented by artists. The occasional pirate raids Penzance experienced during the 17th century, because of its location on a sheltered bay at England's southwest tip, made it the location for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance. The chief modern function of Penzance is as a tourist centre and local service centre for Penwith district. Pop. (2001) 20,255.
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