Nestled in the heart of Cornwall, Penzance is a charming coastal town that never fails to captivate visitors with its stunning landscapes, rich heritage, and vibrant culture. With so many things to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start! Fear not – we’ve got you covered with our top 10 list of the best things to do in Penzance. From exploring historic landmarks and museums to soaking up the sun on golden beaches and enjoying some local shopping, this list has something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure through one of Cornwall’s most picturesque towns.
Best Things to Do in Penzance – Top 10
1. Wander through the Morrab Gardens
Morrab Gardens is a true oasis in the heart of Penzance. This beautifully landscaped Victorian garden is home to a stunning array of exotic plants and flowers that are sure to impress even the most discerning horticulturist.
As you make your way through Morrab Gardens, you’ll be greeted with tranquil paths that wind their way past bubbling fountains, ornate statues, and picturesque ponds teeming with fish and wildlife. Take a moment to relax on one of the many benches scattered throughout the gardens and soak up the peaceful atmosphere.
One of the highlights of Morrab Gardens is its impressive collection of subtropical plants from all over the world. From towering palm trees to vibrant blooms in shades ranging from fiery reds to soft pinks, there’s no shortage of beauty here. Don’t forget your camera – you won’t want to miss capturing these breathtaking sights.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape from city life or simply want to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, Morrab Gardens has something for everyone. So why not take some time out during your visit to Penzance and wander through this enchanting public garden?
2. Visit the Egyptian House
One of the most unique structures in Penzance is the Egyptian House located on Chapel Street. It’s not every day that you come across a building adorned with Egyptian motifs in the heart of Cornwall!
The architecture of this historic house is truly fascinating and provides an intriguing contrast to its more traditional Georgian and Victorian counterparts. As soon as you lay eyes on it, you’ll be immediately transported to another time and place.
Built in 1835 by John Lavin, a local banker who had travelled extensively throughout Egypt, the house was designed to replicate some of Cairo’s most impressive buildings. Its facade features intricate hieroglyphics, lotus flowers, scarabs and other symbols characteristic of ancient Egypt.
Inside this gem lies two floors featuring many interesting rooms beautifully decorated with murals representing scenes from Egyptian mythology. Some parts are open for tourists while others remain private residences so be sure to check which tours are available before visiting.
Visiting The Egyptian House makes for a unique experience that will leave a lasting impression on anyone interested in art or architecture!
3. Discover Penlee House Gallery and Museum
Located in the heart of Penzance, the Penlee House Gallery and Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The gallery houses an impressive collection of artworks from some of Cornwall’s most renowned artists, including Stanhope Forbes, Walter Langley, and Laura Knight.
As you wander through the museum’s exhibits, you’ll be transported back in time to learn about the region’s rich cultural heritage. From displays detailing Cornwall’s mining history to exhibitions on local folklore and legends, there is something for everyone here.
One highlight of the museum is its collection of Newlyn School paintings – a group of artists who captured life in Cornwall during the late 19th century. These works offer a glimpse into what life was like during that era and give visitors an appreciation for how much has changed since then.
Aside from paintings, Penlee House also boasts an extensive collection of historical artefacts such as ceramics, photographs and ephemera which further add depth to your experience.
Whether you’re interested in art or simply want to learn more about Cornwall’s fascinating past, make sure that Penlee House Gallery and Museum makes it onto your list!
4. Visit the Penzance Museum and Art Gallery
The Penzance Museum and Art Gallery is a must-visit for history buffs and art enthusiasts. This museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the town’s rich maritime heritage, which played an important role in shaping its culture and economy.
One of the highlights of this museum is its extensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Penzance’s seafaring past. Visitors can see everything from model ships to navigational instruments used by sailors in centuries gone by.
In addition to its maritime exhibits, the Penzance Museum and Art Gallery also feature numerous exhibitions of local artists who have made their mark on Cornwall’s vibrant creative scene. From painters to sculptors, there is something here for everyone interested in Cornwall’s artistic heritage.
Perhaps most fascinating of all are the rare and unique items on display at this museum, such as ancient coins, weapons from different periods throughout history or even mysterious objects related to witchcraft!
A visit to the Penzance Museum and Art Gallery will provide you with an insightful glimpse into this charming town’s intriguing history while immersing you in its rich cultural legacy!
5. Visit St. Michael’s Mount
Explore the fascinating medieval castle on the tidal island of St. Michael’s Mount, a must-visit destination in Penzance. The mount is accessible by foot during low tide or by boat, providing visitors with two unique ways to reach the island.
As you make your way across the causeway or take a boat ride, enjoy stunning views of this magical place that has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. Once you arrive at the island, explore its rich history and learn about its significance as a strategic location for centuries.
The castle itself is an awe-inspiring sight, with its imposing walls and towers rising up from rocky cliffs overlooking the sea. Inside, you’ll discover magnificent interiors filled with priceless treasures and artefacts that provide insight into life on St. Michael’s Mount throughout history.
Take your time wandering through gardens and courtyards surrounded by beautiful landscapes that have inspired countless artists over the years. Admire panoramic views of Mount Bay from atop Castle Peak while listening to enchanting stories about ancient times.
Whether visiting alone or with family and friends, exploring St. Michael’s Mount will leave lasting memories long after returning home from Penzance.
6. Explore the Minack Theatre
Perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the mighty Atlantic Ocean, is one of Cornwall’s most unique attractions: The Minack Theatre. Carved into the granite cliffs near Porthcurno, this open-air theatre provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for performances and events.
The Minack Theatre was built by hand over several decades by Rowena Cade, who wanted to create a space where local drama groups could perform in the stunning natural surroundings. Today, it hosts a variety of productions ranging from Shakespearean classics to modern plays.
Visitors can enjoy not only the performances but also explore the intricacies of this remarkable venue. The architecture itself is worth marvelling at; its terraces are made up of grassy banks that dip down towards rocky outcrops and coves below.
The views from every angle are breathtaking – you can see crystal-clear waters crashing against jagged rocks far below while seabirds circle overhead. This setting adds another dimension to any show or event held here and makes for an unforgettable experience.
Even if you’re not there for a performance, exploring this remarkable location is still well worth your time. Take some time to walk around and soak up the incredible scenery – it’s truly unlike anything else you’ll ever see!
7. Take a Boat Trip to the Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are a collection of small islands located off the coast of Cornwall. These remote and idyllic islands are only accessible by boat, making a trip to the Isles of Scilly an adventure in itself.
Embarking on a boat trip from Penzance is the perfect way to explore these stunning islands. Once you arrive, there’s plenty to see and do. From pristine beaches to nature walks, you can immerse yourself in the unique charm of these hidden gems.
One highlight is Tresco Abbey Garden, which boasts exotic plants from all over the world, including succulents and palm trees. Another must-see attraction is St Mary’s Church Tower, where visitors can take in panoramic views across the island.
But it’s not just about sightseeing – there are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as kayaking and snorkeling. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try coasteering? This thrilling activity involves climbing rocks and jumping into pools along the coastline.
Taking a boat trip to the Isles of Scilly is an unforgettable experience that should be at the top of your list when visiting Penzance.
8. Discover Penzance Market
Penzance Market is a hub of activity, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic town. The market boasts an array of stalls selling fresh produce, local crafts, and unique souvenirs.
Visitors can engage with local vendors and learn about their products while sampling delicious homemade jams, breads, and cheeses. For those interested in arts and crafts, there are plenty of opportunities to purchase locally-made jewellery or pottery.
Aside from shopping for goods to take home with you, Penzance Market is also a great place to soak up the lively atmosphere. Street performers often entertain crowds as they wander through the bustling marketplace.
The market operates on Tuesdays (from 9 am until 2 pm) throughout most of the year. It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike who come here for its authentic Cornish charm.
With so much to see and experience at Penzance Market, it’s no wonder why it has become such an integral part of this charming seaside town’s identity!
9. Relax at Penzance Promenade
One of the best ways to unwind and take in the beautiful scenery Penzance has to offer is by taking a leisurely walk along the Promenade. This picturesque stretch of coastline offers stunning views of Mount’s Bay, with its calm waters and bustling harbours.
As you stroll along the promenade, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop at one of several charming cafes or restaurants that line the way. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing drink or a delicious meal, there’s no shortage of options here.
The relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to kick back and enjoy your surroundings while sipping on some local coffee or indulging in fresh seafood specialities. You might even catch live music performances during summer evenings, creating a truly enjoyable vibe.
There are also several benches scattered throughout this scenic route where visitors can sit down and take in all that surrounds them: from colourful sailboats bobbing gently on gentle waves below to distant islands emerging out onto the horizon – everything feels like magic!
Walking along Penzance Promenade is an excellent way not only to relax but also to experience some authentic Cornish charm up close.
10. Explore the Jubilee Pool
Looking for a refreshing swim in an idyllic coastal setting? Look no further than the Jubilee Pool in Penzance. This Art Deco lido offers a unique swimming experience, complete with stunning views of the sea.
Featuring clean and clear seawater, this iconic pool is perfect for a quick dip or a leisurely swim. With its retro charm and sun terrace overlooking the water, it’s easy to lose track of time while lounging by the poolside.
But perhaps what truly sets this lido apart is its location – nestled on the coast amidst breathtaking natural beauty. Take in panoramic views of Mount Bay as you soak up some sun or enjoy your favourite book.
And if you’re looking to stay active during your visit, there are plenty of opportunities for exercise at Jubilee Pool. Whether you’re practising laps or simply enjoying some aquatic recreation, this unique venue has something for everyone.
So why not take some time out from exploring Penzance’s many attractions and cool off with a refreshing swim at the Jubilee Pool? It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Penzance is a town filled with history, culture, and stunning natural beauty. From exploring its artistic heritage to taking in the panoramic views of Mount’s Bay, there are plenty of things to do in Penzance that will leave you enchanted.
Whether you choose to wander through the Morrab Gardens or take a boat trip to the remote Isles of Scilly, Penzance has something for everyone. Dive into Cornwall’s rich cultural history at museums and galleries like Penlee House Gallery and Museum or relax on the stunning beaches along its rugged coastline.
No matter what your interests may be, Penzance offers an unforgettable experience that combines adventure with relaxation. So pack your bags and head down to this charming town for an unforgettable vacation full of adventure!
FAQs on Things to Do in Penzance
1. How do you spend a day in Penzance?
A day in Penzance can be spent exploring the town’s charming streets, visiting its historical sites, and enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Start by visiting St. Michael’s Mount, either by walking across the causeway during low tide or taking a short boat trip. Explore the island and its medieval castle, and enjoy the stunning views. Afterwards, you can stroll along Penzance Promenade, relax on one of the sandy beaches, or visit attractions like the Penlee House Gallery and Museum. Don’t forget to savour some local seafood or indulge in a Cornish pasty during your day in Penzance.
2. Is Penzance worth a visit?
Yes, Penzance is definitely worth a visit. It offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a thriving arts scene. From its beautiful coastline and beaches to its picturesque streets lined with Georgian and Victorian buildings, Penzance has a charm that captivates visitors. The town’s cultural attractions, such as the Minack Theatre and Penlee House Gallery, provide enriching experiences. Moreover, Penzance serves as an excellent base for exploring the stunning landscapes of West Cornwall and the nearby Isles of Scilly. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply enjoying a relaxed seaside atmosphere, Penzance has much to offer.
3. Does Penzance have a market day?
Yes, Penzance has a market day. The town’s market is held every Friday at the top of Causewayhead, near the town centre. The market offers a variety of stalls selling fresh produce, local crafts, clothing, and other goods. It’s a great opportunity to support local businesses, sample regional products, and find unique souvenirs. The market adds a lively and vibrant atmosphere to the town, attracting both residents and visitors alike.
4. What is Penzance famous for?
Penzance is famous for several things. Firstly, it is renowned for its association with the legend of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, “The Pirates of Penzance.” The town embraces this connection and celebrates it with performances and festivals dedicated to the operetta. Secondly, Penzance is known for St. Michael’s Mount, a tidal island topped by a medieval castle that is one of the iconic landmarks of Cornwall. Additionally, Penzance’s artistic community and cultural offerings, including the Minack Theatre and Penlee House Gallery, contribute to its fame as a hub of creativity. Lastly, Penzance’s stunning coastal landscapes, charming streets, and vibrant atmosphere make it a popular tourist destination and a gateway to the scenic beauty of West Cornwall.