Fort Cornwallis

Places of Interest - Fort Cornwallis Penang

Situated 22 kilometres away from Lexis Suites Penang, Fort Cornwallis is a star shaped fort in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Known as the largest standing fort in Malaysia, Fort Cornwallis was named after the then Governor-General of Bengal, Marquis Charles Cornwallis. Approximately 10 feet high, Fort Cornwallis, Penang or Fort Cornwallis Pulau Pinang is located close to the Esplanade, next to the Victoria Memorial Clock.

Fort Cornwallis’ history is an interesting one. The fort was built by Sir Captain Francis Light from the British East India Company when he first landed on the island with his crew in the year 1786. Back then, Sir Captain Francis Light took possession of the island from the Sultan of Kedah so that it can serve as a base or stop-over for the British company’s spice and silk trading route. In order to protect the base from foreign military forces, pirates and Kedah itself, Fort Cornwallis was built. Standing on the cape of the island’s north eastern coast and overlooking the sea, the first structure of Fort Cornwallis was constructed through nibong (palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures and covering an area of 417.6 square feet.

In 1804, Fort Cornwallis was rebuilt with bricks and stones during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as the Governor of Penang. The construction of Fort Cornwallis was finally completed in 1810 during Norman Macalister’s term as the Governor of Penang. Although the intention for building Fort Cornwallis was to defend attacks from enemy invasions, the fort was more administrative than defensive as no battles ever occurred throughout the headship of the British Company at the fort.

Some of the interesting artefacts that may capture a visitor’s attention would be the bronze statue of Sir Captain Francis Light which was sculpted by F.J. Wilcoxson in 1936 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Francis Light’s landing. One should also check out the cannons and its history at Fort Cornwallis. The cannons were originally a gift from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor in 1606 before it was seized by the Portuguese and then seized back by British in Kuala Selangor and it was finally placed in Fort Cornwallis, Penang.

Visitors should also check out the chapel inside Fort Cornwallis, which is notably one of the first Christian chapel as well as on one the earliest roofed structures in the history of Penang. The chapel was constructed in 1799 at the south west corner of the fort, just beside the jail cell. After Sir Captain Francis Light died, his widow, Martina Rozells was remarried to John Timmers in the very same chapel on the same year it was built. Visitors may also visit the row of barracks and a small jail cell that are still in its origin state which was built in 1811 as well as checking out the history of Fort Cornwallis on the history boards.

At Fort Cornwallis, there are photo boards with colonial images as the backdrop for visitors to take their pictures with, as well as souvenir kiosks for visitors to bring a memento home. Visitors who would like to grab a bite before they leave can always drop by Fort Cornwallis’ restaurant known as KOTA Dine & Coffee – When Francis Meets Rempah. The restaurant started its operations since 2015, offering visitors Nyonya fusion dishes.

The opening hours of Fort Cornwallis is from 9.00 am until 10.00 pm daily. Quickly book your stay at the Lexis Suites Penang so that you will have the chance to explore Fort Cornwallis and learn more about this historical site!

Entry Fee:
RM20 (MyKad – RM10) for adults
RM10 (MyKid – RM5) for children

(Prices are subject to change)


Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Monday9:00am - 10:00pm

Tuesday9:00am - 10:00pm

Wednesday9:00am - 10:00pm

Thursday9:00am - 10:00pm

Friday9:00am - 10:00pm

Saturday9:00am - 10:00pm

Sunday9:00am - 10:00pm