Things to do in Penzance
Penzance is often described as a very arty, creative place to visit. It’s a seaside town offering all the Cornish charm you’d expect with its pretty seaside views, plus its unique art galleries, and trendy eateries.
It’s really close to us at Riviere Sands Holiday Park, which is only eight miles away. For an interesting day out by the sea, here are some things to do in Penzance.
For theatre entertainment with a twist, Minack Theatre won't disappoint. It’s a completely outdoor venue, perched on the edge of a cliff and surrounded by steep trails and long flights of steps. Come and visit in most weathers to watch storytelling sessions, contemporary plays, or take part in a family workshop. You’re welcome to bring dogs along for a visit between shows, though do take care and keep them on a lead as it’s narrow and slippery in places.
Despite its precarious location, Minack wants as many people to enjoy the theatre as possible. There are audio descriptions of shows available free of charge by arrangement. There are wheelchair ramps within the site that lead you to the exhibition centre, cafe, and toilets.
Please bring sensible shoes!
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens
Overlooking the tiny island of St Michael’s Mount, the sculpture gardens offer a dramatic landscape with wooded areas, a stream, and sub-tropical plants, interwoven with amazing artwork by artists from all over the world. For art and nature lovers alike, this is a truly unique experience! Step inside to view even more exhibits in the gallery or take a slice of Penzance home with you from the nursery of succulents, palms, and ferns. For an upmarket dining experience, the Kitchen makes the most of the freshest seasonal ingredients in sumptuous meals. Enjoy on the terrace or cuddle up in front of the log burner on chillier days.
Unbelievably, this stunning attraction is free to enter, but please book ahead!
We hope you packed your trunks - you’ve never seen a lido like this! The UK's largest seawater lido, it even features a geothermal heated pool! The main pool holds a whopping five million litres of water that fills up at high tide. If cold water swimming’s your thing, this is the safest way to do it! For a slightly warmer swim, the heated seawater pool sits around 35c. To warm up after a dip, visit the cafe on the terrace for delicious, locally sourced food with gluten-free and vegan options.
There are ramps from the cafe to the pools, so it’s easy for wheelchairs, buggies, and pushchairs to get about. While there’s no dedicated parking here, there’s usually plenty of free, on-street parking along the prom.
Penlee House Gallery & Museum
Once an elegant Victorian-era home, Penlee House was converted into a museum and art gallery to celebrate local social history and a stunning permanent art collection. Buff up on your history knowledge—the collection here showcases pieces spanning 6000 years of Cornish history, including artefacts from local archaeological digs. The artworks here include well-known pieces such as The Rain it Raineth Every Day by Norman Garstin and Among the Missing by Walter Langley, depicting real snapshots of Cornish life. There are adapted toilets, ramped access, and a lift in every part of the house so everyone can enjoy what’s on offer. Outside in the park, children can run and play in the outdoor play area or take a moment of calm in the sensory garden.
To please rumbling bellies, the licensed cafe offers freshly made food, drinks, and cakes using the best quality, local ingredients. When you’re full, pop into the gift shop for a wide range of art prints, books, and souvenirs.
St Michael’s Mount
Connected to the mainland by a cobbled causeway, St Michael’s Mount is a picturesque island steeped in mystery. It's only accessible by foot at low tide, so there’s around four hours to walk across, explore, and then walk back before the tide comes in. It's well worth the visit as there’s so much to see on such a little island.
Since the 5th century, there have been tales and rumours of pirates and pilgrims here. Stop for a cream tea or lunch in one of the quaint cafes or food outlets before you head back. Oh, and don't forget to take plenty of photos!
Chapel Street shopping
If you’re still looking for things to do, Penzance’s Chapel Street has a lot of creative things to offer. The pretty street is lined with all kinds of independent businesses, galleries, and shops. Many of the buildings were once cottages, which you’ll see from the cute windows and low ceilings. Some date back to the 1700s!
You’ll find a mix of interior design shops, nurseries, antique shops and clothing boutiques, so treat yourself to some retail therapy in style. For refreshments, visit the iconic Admiral Benbow pub. You might recognise it, as it features in the opening scene of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.