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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

How about making your stop at Fort Cornwallis even more special? Don't forget to try out one or two of these activities:

If you're after more options, examine our George Town things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Fort Cornwallis


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 553 properties near Fort Cornwallis
Eastern And Oriental Hotel RM704
Eastern And Oriental Hotel

Eastern And Oriental Hotel

10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang
     
    4.7
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    5.0 out of 5.0

    This family-friendly George Town hotel is located on the waterfront, within 1 mi (2 km) of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, KOMTAR and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal. Penang Times Square and Gleneagles Penang Medical Centre are also within 1 mile (2 km).

    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang RM288
    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

    183, Jalan Magazine, George Town
       
      4.2
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      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of KOMTAR and Penang Times Square. Gurney Drive and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal are also within 2 miles (3 km).

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang RM175
      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      25-A Farquhar Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
         
        3.8
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        4.0 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly George Town hotel is located by the sea, within a 15-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal. KOMTAR and Penang Times Square are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel RM104
        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

        139, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, Penang
           
          3.9
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          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 KOMTAR. Penang Times Square and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal are also within 1 mile (2 km).

          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La RM290
          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

          Magazine Road, George Town, George Town, Penang
             
            4.2
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            4.0 out of 5.0

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

            Royale Chulan Penang RM289
            Royale Chulan Penang

            Royale Chulan Penang

            No 1 & 2 Pengkalan Weld, George Town, Penang
               
              4.3
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              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Downtown George Town, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal. KOMTAR and Penang Times Square are also within 2 miles (3 km).

              Chulia Mansion RM107
              Chulia Mansion

              Chulia Mansion

              413 Lebuh Chulia, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 874 reviews
                2.5 out of 5.0

                Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Han Jiang Ancestral Temple and KOMTAR. Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal and Penang Times Square are also within 1 mile (2 km).

                Le Dream Boutique Hotel RM153
                Le Dream Boutique Hotel

                Le Dream Boutique Hotel

                139, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, George Town, Penang
                   
                  4.7
                  of 5, from 793 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Prangin Mall and KOMTAR. Penang Times Square and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal are also within 1 mile (2 km).