Penrith is a suburb and major centre in the metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located in Greater Western Sydney 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of the Sydney central business district on the banks of the Nepean River. Its elevation is 25 m. Penrith is the administrative seat of the local government area of the City of Penrith. It is also acknowledged on the register of the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales as one of only four cities within the Sydney metropolitan area.
Penrith was named after the town of Penrith in Cumbria, England. The name is of Cumbric origin, a Celtic language of northern Britain related to Welsh. 'Pen' is Cumbric and Welsh for 'Head' or 'Chief' and the Cumbric 'Rid' (Rhydd in Welsh) means 'Ford' giving the name 'Chief Ford' or 'Hill Ford'. How it got the name is unclear. One theory is that in the early days, development in Penrith was entirely on one road, like the English Penrith, and someone familiar with both spotted the similarity and suggested the name. The earliest known written reference to the name Penrith dates back to 1819.
Penrith's central business district and commercial area
Penrith is one of the major commercial centres in Greater Western Sydney. Penrith hosts a number of shopping complexes, the largest being Westfield Penrith Plaza, formerly managed by Lend Lease Group. The shopping centre features over 300 stores ranging from department stores to specialty shops.
Penrith Railway Station is a major railway station on the North Shore, Northern & Western Line of the Sydney Trains network. It has frequent services to and from the City and is also a stop on the intercity Blue Mountains Line.
Penrith railway station has its own bus interchange (as do several major railway stations in Sydney). Penrith is also served by Nightride Bus route 70.
Penrith can easily be accessed from St. Marys and Mt. Druitt via the Great Western Highway. Access from further east is best obtained by the M4 Western Motorway using either The Northern Road or Mulgoa Road exits. If travelling east from the Blue Mountains, access is best obtained by the Great Western Highway. Access from the south can be obtained by The Northern Road and Mulgoa Road, north from Castlereagh road or Richmond road, or from north and south via Westlink M7 and the M4 Western Motorway.
The NSW Government announced funding for the construction of the M9 in the 2014 state budget to connect Camden, Penrith and Windsor. The proposed motorway will start from the M5 motorway and run west of the current M7 motorway.