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Fort Cornwallis

Delve into Penang's colonial past in the largest and one of the oldest forts in Malaysia.

Overlooking the sea, Fort Cornwallis gives a glimpse into life for British governors and civil servants based in Malaysia during colonial times (early 1800s). Walk into the past with original colonial structures, artefacts and guides decked out in red colonial soldier outfits.

Greeting visitors at the fort entrance is a grandiose statue of Sir Francis Light, who commissioned the building of the fort in 1786 to protect the British trade route from foreign military forces and pirates. Originally built from palm trunks, the fort was replaced with a sturdier star-shaped, stone and brick structure in 1810.

Fort Cornwallis never witnessed any battles and much of its structure remains intact, making it an interesting stroll for history fans. Duck into the gunpowder magazine, see the first Christian chapel in Penang, and go behind bars at the small jail cell to have your photo taken, complete with the prisoner's cell number.

One of the highlights of the fort is the Seri Rambai Cannon, the largest of Fort Cornwallis’ 17 cannons. Originally a gift from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor in 1606, the Sri Rambai follows an eventful history of Portuguese and British ownership. Curiously, the historic cannon is locally believed to relieve infertile women of their plight. Peek into the barrel to find flowers dedicated by women hoping to increase their chances of conceiving.

A casual walk around the fort can be easily completed in less than an hour, but for a more insightful visit, you can opt for a tour with a knowledgeable guide for a small fee. Souvenirs and light refreshments are available at the kiosk near the entrance.

Fort Cornwallis is located in Georgetown, easily accessible by public transportation and close to the Victoria Memorial Clock on the Esplanade. Open daily, the fort charges a nominal fee for entry.

Popular Activities at Fort Cornwallis

Want to make your time spent at Fort Cornwallis even more unforgettable? Don't miss the chance to try out some of these activities:

If you're chasing even more options, check out our George Town things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Fort Cornwallis


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 486 properties near Fort Cornwallis
Eastern And Oriental Hotel RM590
Eastern And Oriental Hotel

Eastern And Oriental Hotel

10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 2,171 reviews
    5.0 out of 5.0

    Opened in 1884, this all-suite historical hotel is within 1 km (0.6 miles) of the financial, entertainment, cultural, and historical districts in downtown Georgetown.

    Armenian Street Heritage Hotel RM113
    Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

    Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

    139, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town
       
      3.9
      of 5, from 875 reviews
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Located in Downtown George Town, this historic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Penang Islamic Museum and Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi. Camera Museum and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are also within 15 minutes.

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang RM192
      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      25-A Farquhar Street, George Town
         
        3.9
        of 5, from 1,813 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly George Town hotel is located by the sea, within a 10-minute walk of Cathedral of the Assumption and Camera Museum. Fort Cornwallis and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are also within 15 minutes.

        Chulia Mansion RM130
        Chulia Mansion

        Chulia Mansion

        413 Lebuh Chulia, George Town
           
          4.5
          of 5, from 771 reviews
          2.5 out of 5.0

          Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Camera Museum, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, and Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Fort Cornwallis and Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Hotel Jen Penang RM232
          Hotel Jen Penang

          Hotel Jen Penang

          Magazine Road, George Town
             
            4.1
            of 5, from 1,353 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            This family-friendly George Town hotel is located in a shopping district, within a 5-minute walk of KOMTAR, 1st Avenue Mall, and Prangin Mall.

            Sunway Hotel Georgetown Penang RM212
            Sunway Hotel Georgetown Penang

            Sunway Hotel Georgetown Penang

            33, New Lane, (off Macalister Road), George Town
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 1,840 reviews
              3.5 out of 5.0

              This family-friendly George Town hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Penang Times Square, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, and Camera Museum. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Fort Cornwallis are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              Royale Chulan Penang RM229
              Royale Chulan Penang

              Royale Chulan Penang

              No 1 & 2 Pengkalan Weld, George Town
                 
                4.3
                of 5, from 1,048 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Downtown George Town, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Made In Penang Interactive Museum, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, and Fort Cornwallis. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi and Camera Museum are also within 15 minutes.

                Cititel Penang RM211
                Cititel Penang

                Cititel Penang

                66 Jalan Penang, George Town
                   
                  4.0
                  of 5, from 98 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Camera Museum. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi are also within 15 minutes.