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Fort Cornwallis

The largest and one of the oldest forts in Malaysia offers fascinating insight into Penang’s colonial past.

Fort Cornwallis aims to show how life would have been for the British governors and civil servants that were based in Malaysia during colonial times (early 1800s). Original colonial structures, artifacts and authentically dressed staff and guides all help to paint the picture for you.

As you approach the fort, an imposing statue of Sir Francis Light is the first thing that comes into view. It was Light who oversaw the building of the fort in 1786, in order to protect the British trade route from potential attacks from pirates or the French. The fort was originally constructed from palm trunks, and the star-shaped, stone structure that you see today was completed in 1810.

History buffs will love the chance to wander around Fort Cornwall’s original features. Because it was never attacked, the structure remains much as the soldiers and civil servants who worked here would have known it. Examine the gunpowder magazine, imagine a prayer service in the original chapel, and have your photo taken behind the bars of the jail.

Don’t miss the Sri Rambai Cannon, the largest of Fort Cornwallis’s 17 cannons. The Sri Rambai has a colorful history that dates back to 1606, encompassing Dutch, Portuguese and British owners. Interestingly, the historic cannon is revered locally as a fertility aid. You may see women dropping flowers into its hole, hoping to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

Guides dressed in bright red, colonial regalia are on-hand to offer tours for a small charge. But you’re also welcome to walk around the fort by yourself, which is easily done in an hour. Light refreshments and souvenirs 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. The fort is open daily and there is a nominal charge for entry

Popular Activities at Fort Cornwallis

Get the most out of your visit to Fort Cornwallis. Here's a list of some of the best things to do:

For more things to do, have a look at our George Town things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Fort Cornwallis


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Fort Cornwallis

See all 623 Properties near Fort Cornwallis
Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La $56
Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

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

    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.

    The Prestige Hotel Penang $68
    The Prestige Hotel Penang

    The Prestige Hotel Penang

    8 Gat Lebuh Gereja, George Town
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      This hotel is located in George Town (Downtown George Town), close to Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Fort Cornwallis, and Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi. Also nearby are Camera Museum and Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal.

      Eastern And Oriental Hotel $177
      Eastern And Oriental Hotel

      Eastern And Oriental Hotel

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

        This family-friendly George Town hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 10-minute walk of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Camera Museum. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Fort Cornwallis are also within 15 minutes.

        Royale Chulan Penang $46
        Royale Chulan Penang

        Royale Chulan Penang

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

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

          Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang $44
          Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

          Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

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

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

            The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang $56
            The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

            The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

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

              Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of KOMTAR and Penang Times Square. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi and Camera Museum are also within 15 minutes.

              Cititel Penang $45
              Cititel Penang

              Cititel Penang

              66 Jalan Penang, George Town
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                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 KOMTAR are also within 15 minutes.

                Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion $112
                Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion

                Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion

                14, Leith Street, George Town, George Town, Penang
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown George Town, this hotel is steps from Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and Camera Museum. Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Fort Cornwallis are also within 15 minutes.