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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.


Guide to Exploring Fort Cornwallis


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Top Hotel Deals

See all 388 Hotels near Fort Cornwallis
AU$162
Eastern And Oriental Hotel

Eastern And Oriental Hotel

10 Lebuh Farquhar, Penang
4.7
of 5, from 775 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.

AU$58
Sunway Hotel Georgetown Penang

Sunway Hotel Georgetown Penang

33, New Lane, (off Macalister Road), Penang
4.0
of 5, from 499 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

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

AU$54
Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

25-A Farquhar Street, Penang
3.8
of 5, from 538 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Georgetown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Camera Museum. Fort Cornwallis and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are also within 15 minutes.

AU$27
Kimberley Hotel Georgetown

Kimberley Hotel Georgetown

No.36, G-02 Jalan Sungai Ujong, Penang
3.6
of 5, from 83 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Georgetown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Prangin Mall, Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, and Camera Museum. Clan Jetty and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are also within 15 minutes.

AU$39
Chulia Mansion

Chulia Mansion

413 Lebuh Chulia, Penang
4.3
of 5, from 129 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Chinatown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Camera Museum and Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Clan Jetty are also within 15 minutes.

AU$73
Royale Chulan Penang

Royale Chulan Penang

No 1 & 2 Pengkalan Weld, Penang
4.3
of 5, from 346 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Georgetown, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal, Pinang Peranakan Mansion, and Clan Jetty. Fort Cornwallis and Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi are also within 15 minutes.

AU$33
Hotel Continental

Hotel Continental

5 Penang Road, Penang
3.2
of 5, from 169 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Georgetown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Camera Museum. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Fort Cornwallis are also within 15 minutes.

AU$44
The Chambers

The Chambers

1st & 2nd floor 23 Light Street, Penang
3.6
of 5, from 21 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Georgetown, this hotel is steps from House of Yeap Chor Ee and Fort Cornwallis. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Camera Museum are also within 15 minutes.