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“Contemporary art gallery with good cafe”

The Exchange Gallery
Ranked #25 of 66 things to do in Penzance
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Exchange is a major contemporary art space in the centre of Penzance that opened in 2007 in conjunction with renovations to Newlyn Art Gallery. Together the galleries present contemporary work in all media by regional, national and international artists, with a programme of events, activities and education. Formerly the town’s telephone exchange, the huge space retains the original industrial feel of the building and features a large t-shaped gallery and a striking glass facade that runs the entire length of the building. It is well suited to installation and social participation projects and its international reputation allows it to bring some of the best art being produced around the globe to Cornwall. The Exchange is located off historic Chapel Street, within easy walking distance of the bus and train stations. There is a well-stocked book and gift shop plus a cafe serving snacks and light lunches. Well behaved dogs are welcome.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Contemporary art gallery with good cafe”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

The exhibitions here are usually challenging so don't go expecting pretty coastal pictures or even simple abstract works. But it is well worth visiting as the gallery is small and well designed and the art can be stimulating and rewarding. And it has a pleasant café (and clean loos - a rarity in Penzance !)
The current exhibition is "Curiosity : Art and the Pleasures of Knowing". Pretty bad title but an enjoyable collection, including a great sound sculpture and a wonderful collection of stones by Roger Caillois - beautiful agates and other stones from Brazil and elsewhere.
And of course entry to the gallery is free so well worth visiting even if you are not sure about modern art.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Ken M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Gwinear, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Interesting interlude”
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Very different exhibits. Thought provoking. Great cafe and a lovely bookshop with an excellent range of gorgeous greeting cards.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Diana H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Good contemporary gallery space with nice café”
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Really interesting current show – John Newling: Ecologies of Value – which is well presented. The gallery space isn't huge but it's a nice space and the show worked well. The café is beautiful and has very comfy armchairs and delicious cake (which we'd earned by climbing the steps of Abbey Street).

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Ann J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penzance, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
245 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“The Exchange Cafe”
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Called in for a coffee with a friend about 2pm There were a number of people in the cafe at the time. We settled in armchairs at a coffee table for a chat. Within 20 mins every one had left. Unfortunately it's a very large space and it was a cold day so we didn't linger very long as it was chilly and there was no atmosphere once all the other customers had left.

However the guy serving was pleasant and efficient and I must add that I've enjoyed a couple of casual and very pleasant lunches there in the summer. Limited menu, soup, cheese on toast, cakes etc but reasonable value for money.

Visited February 2013
Thank PattiP_01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torquay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great view, great food.”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Espresso and carrot cake - perfect. Well worth a visit to the gallery just for the cafe, and the gallery is free to enter! The view across Mounts Bay to St Michael's Mount is always beautiful and ever changing whatever time of year you visit.

Visited February 2012
Thank Titian2305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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