things to do in penzance

Last Updated on: 2nd May 2024, 11:01 am

Welcome to Penzance, a picturesque market town nestled in the far west of Cornwall, England. Known for its rich history, stunning landmarks, and vibrant art scene, Penzance has something to offer every visitor. Whether you’re seeking cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or simply want to indulge in delicious local cuisine, Penzance has you covered. Let’s explore the top attractions and activities that make Penzance a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists.

When it comes to exploring Penzance, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of activities and attractions. From immersing yourself in the town’s fascinating history to discovering its hidden gems, there’s no shortage of things to do in Penzance. Marvel at the historic streets, visit renowned art galleries and museums, soak up the sun on beautiful beaches, embark on intriguing walking tours, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. Penzance is truly a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

So if you’re planning a trip to Penzance, get ready to be captivated by its charm and beauty. Join us as we take a closer look at the historic streets, the thriving art and culture scene, the enchanting outdoor spaces, the surrounding areas, the delectable food and drink options, and the fascinating history that awaits you in Penzance. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through this remarkable town, brimming with attractions, sights, and landmarks that will leave you in awe.

Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the wonders of Penzance and uncover the incredible experiences that await you in this coastal gem. From its fascinating history to its breathtaking natural beauty, Penzance is waiting to be explored. Discover everything this captivating town has to offer and make the most of your visit to Penzance, England, UK.

Things to Do in Penzance

Historic Streets

One of the highlights of Penzance is its historic streets, particularly Chapel Street. This street is known for its eclectic mix of shops, houses, and hotels, many of which date back to the 18th century and before. Walking along Chapel Street is a journey through history, with each building having its own unique story to tell.

Chapel Street is home to several notable buildings that showcase Penzance’s rich history and architectural heritage. One such building is the Egyptian House, a fascinating example of Egyptian Revival architecture. With its colorful Egyptian styling, complete with hieroglyphics and sphinxes, the Egyptian House stands out as a unique and striking landmark. It’s a testament to the Victorian fascination with ancient Egypt and adds a touch of exoticism to the streetscape.

Another iconic establishment on Chapel Street is the Turk’s Head pub, the oldest pub in Penzance. This historic inn has been serving locals and visitors for centuries, offering a glimpse into the town’s social and cultural history. Step inside to soak up the old-world charm and enjoy a pint of local ale in the cozy surroundings.

As you stroll along Chapel Street, take in the beautiful architecture and admire the well-preserved facades of the buildings. From Georgian and Regency townhouses to charming cottages, each structure tells a tale of Penzance’s past. It’s a living testament to the town’s heritage and a testament to the importance it once held as a bustling port and market town.

Notable Historic Buildings on Chapel Street

Building Year Built Description
Egyptian House 1836 A stunning example of Egyptian Revival architecture with colorful Egyptian styling and intricate details.
Turk’s Head 1233 (originally) The oldest pub in Penzance, steeped in history and offering a traditional pub experience.

Exploring the historic streets of Penzance, particularly Chapel Street, is like taking a step back in time. Immerse yourself in the town’s history, admire the unique architecture, and uncover the stories behind each building. It’s a fascinating journey that showcases Penzance’s rich heritage and makes for a memorable experience.

Discovering Art and Culture in Penzance

Penzance is known for its vibrant artistic community and rich cultural heritage. The town is home to numerous art galleries and museums that showcase a diverse range of artistic expressions. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply curious about exploring the local culture, Penzance has something to offer for everyone.

1. Art Galleries in Penzance

One of the standout art galleries in Penzance is The Exchange, a contemporary art space that celebrates local and international artists. With its cutting-edge exhibitions and thought-provoking installations, The Exchange offers visitors a chance to engage with modern art in a dynamic and immersive environment. From paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations, there’s always something new and exciting to discover at this gallery.

Another notable art destination in Penzance is the Penlee House Gallery and Museum. This gallery has a particular focus on the Newlyn School artists, a group of influential painters who were inspired by the beauty of the Cornish landscape. At Penlee House, you can admire the works of celebrated artists such as Harold Knight and Laura Knight, and gain insight into their artistic process and the history of the Newlyn art colony. The gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs, ensuring a well-rounded experience for visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re interested in contemporary art or traditional masterpieces, Penzance’s art galleries provide a platform for both local and international artists to showcase their talent, making it a hub of artistic expression and creativity.

2. Museums in Penzance

In addition to its art galleries, Penzance is also home to several fascinating museums that delve into the town’s history and local culture. One of the must-visit museums in Penzance is the Penlee House Gallery and Museum itself. In addition to its art collection, the museum offers a captivating glimpse into the town’s past through its enthralling displays of historical artifacts and photographs. Explore the exhibits and immerse yourself in the stories of Penzance’s rich heritage.

Table: Top Art Galleries and Museums in Penzance

Art Galleries Museums
The Exchange Penlee House Gallery and Museum

“Penzance’s art galleries and museums provide an invaluable platform for artists to showcase their work and preserve the town’s cultural heritage. From innovative contemporary installations to a curated collection of historical artifacts, these cultural attractions offer a fascinating insight into Penzance’s artistic and historical legacy.”

With its thriving art scene and rich cultural offerings, Penzance is a place where creativity flourishes and history comes to life. Whether you’re exploring the town’s art galleries, immersing yourself in local history at museums, or simply absorbing the vibrant atmosphere, Penzance promises an enriching cultural experience that will leave a lasting impression.

penzance art galleries

Enjoying the Outdoors in Penzance

Penzance is blessed with beautiful outdoor spaces where visitors can relax and enjoy nature. The town is home to several stunning beaches, including the picturesque Mousehole Beach and the sandy shores of Mount’s Bay. Spend a day on these sandy stretches, basking in the sun and listening to the sound of the waves.

If you’re looking to cool off and take a dip, the Jubilee Pool is a must-visit. This art deco lido is the largest of its kind in Britain and offers a unique swimming experience. Take a refreshing plunge in the saltwater pool and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.

For a tranquil escape from the bustling town, head to Morrab Gardens. This enchanting oasis is filled with exotic plants, inviting pathways, and delightful features like a bandstand and a fountain. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, find a peaceful spot to relax, or simply enjoy a picnic amidst the natural beauty.

Whether you’re seeking sun-kissed beaches, refreshing swims, or serene green spaces, Penzance has it all. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors and discover the natural wonders of this charming town.

“The Jubilee Pool is a hidden gem in Penzance. The water is so clear, and the views are breathtaking. It’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind.” – Emily, Visitor

Outdoor Attraction Description
Mousehole Beach Located in the charming village of Mousehole, this beach offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere.
Jubilee Pool The largest art deco lido in Britain, perfect for swimming and admiring the coastal scenery.
Morrab Gardens A peaceful oasis filled with exotic plants, winding paths, and lovely features like a bandstand.

Exploring the Surrounding Area of Penzance

Penzance serves as the perfect starting point for venturing beyond its borders to discover the breathtaking wonders of the surrounding area. Here are some must-visit destinations that will leave you mesmerized:

1. St Michael’s Mount: A Castle on an Island

st michael's mount

Located just a short distance from Penzance, St Michael’s Mount is a true marvel. This stunning island castle sits atop a rocky hill and can be accessed via a causeway during low tide. Immerse yourself in history as you explore the medieval castle, visit the beautiful gardens, and take in the panoramic views of the surrounding coastline.

2. Mousehole Village: Charm and Serenity

A visit to the nearby village of Mousehole is like stepping into a storybook. Known for its narrow streets, quaint houses, and picturesque harbor, Mousehole exudes charm and serenity. Stroll along the scenic waterfront, indulge in freshly caught seafood, or browse the local art galleries and boutiques. This idyllic village is a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

3. The Isles of Scilly: A Paradise to Explore

Escape to the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the coast of Cornwall, for a truly unforgettable day trip. Take a ferry from Penzance and find yourself immersed in a world of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and captivating landscapes. Explore the unique flora and fauna, go snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on the secluded shores. The Isles of Scilly offer a peaceful retreat and a chance to connect with nature in its purest form.

With these enchanting destinations just a stone’s throw away, Penzance opens up a world of exploration and adventure beyond its own borders. Embark on a journey to St Michael’s Mount, immerse yourself in the charm of Mousehole Village, or escape to the idyllic Isles of Scilly. The options are endless, and the memories created will last a lifetime.

Enjoying Food and Drink in Penzance

Penzance boasts a vibrant food and drink scene, with numerous cafes and restaurants offering a range of delicious options. From traditional Cornish pasties to fresh seafood sourced from the nearby fishing village of Newlyn, there is plenty to satisfy any culinary craving. Local cafes like The Honey Pot Cafe and Hellys Deli Cafe are popular choices among locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast or a leisurely afternoon tea, Penzance has something to delight every palate.

If you’re a fan of authentic Cornish cuisine, Penzance is the place to be. Indulge in mouthwatering pasties, a true British classic. These savory pastries are filled with a variety of fillings, from traditional steak and vegetable to more adventurous options like cheese and onion or even curry. Enjoy a warm pasty on-the-go as you explore the town’s charming streets.

Seafood lovers will also be in paradise in Penzance. The town’s proximity to the coast means that fresh catches are readily available. Don’t miss the chance to savor succulent fish and chips, a quintessentially British dish. Head to one of the local fish and chip shops and enjoy this comforting meal by the seaside.

“The variety of culinary experiences in Penzance is remarkable. From traditional Cornish pasties to freshly caught seafood, you’ll find something to indulge in no matter your taste.” – Local Food Enthusiast

1. The Honey Pot Cafe

Nestled in the heart of Penzance, The Honey Pot Cafe is a delightful spot to enjoy a leisurely breakfast or a light lunch. With its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, this cafe offers a warm welcome to locals and tourists alike. Start your day with a hearty full English breakfast or treat yourself to a slice of their homemade cake. From sandwiches and salads to tempting desserts, The Honey Pot Cafe has something delicious for everyone.

2. Hellys Deli Cafe

If you’re looking for a taste of local cuisine, Hellys Deli Cafe is a must-visit. This charming cafe prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their dishes. Indulge in a traditional Cornish cream tea, complete with scones, clotted cream, and jam. Their menu also features a variety of salads, sandwiches, and light bites, perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. Take a break from exploring Penzance and enjoy a delicious meal at Hellys Deli Cafe.

Popular Restaurants in Penzance

Restaurant Cuisine Location
The Shore Seafood Harbourfront
The Bakehouse Bakery, Cafe Chapel Street
Blacks of Chapel Street Modern European Chapel Street


Penzance offers a culinary experience that celebrates the best of local and British cuisine. From cafes serving traditional Cornish pasties to restaurants specializing in fresh seafood, there is something to satisfy every appetite. Whether you choose to indulge in a classic dish or explore new flavors, Penzance’s food and drink scene is sure to leave you delighted and craving for more.

Immersing Yourself in Penzance’s History

For history enthusiasts, Penzance offers a wealth of opportunities to delve into its fascinating past. Embark on a Penzance walking tour to learn about the town’s history, from its connections to pirates and smugglers to its former status as a thriving market town. Experience the charm of the town as you stroll through its historic streets, lined with Penzance historical sites and buildings that are steeped in history.

One of the must-visit places for history lovers is the Admiral Benbow Inn, one of the most historic pubs in Penzance with a reputation for smuggling. Step inside and imagine the tales of adventurers and sailors that once filled its halls. The inn’s rich history adds an air of mystery and intrigue to your visit.

Take a moment to explore the streets of Penzance and immerse yourself in the historical architecture. Visit the Egyptian House, a unique building with its distinct Egyptian styling, or discover Maria Branwell’s childhood home, the birthplace of the famous Brontë sisters. Each building has its own story to tell, offering a glimpse into the town’s past.

Uncover the hidden stories and secrets of Penzance as you immerse yourself in its history. Whether it’s through guided tours, visits to historic landmarks, or simply wandering the streets, the town’s rich heritage is waiting to be discovered.


Penzance, located in the far west of Cornwall, England, may have experienced a decline in tourism, but it still offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a nature enthusiast, or a foodie, Penzance has something to offer everyone.

One of the highlights of Penzance is exploring its historic streets, particularly the charming Chapel Street. Walk along this street and uncover the fascinating stories behind its eclectic mix of shops, houses, and hotels, some of which date back to the 18th century and earlier. Don’t miss the chance to visit notable buildings like the colorful Egyptian House and the oldest pub in Penzance, the Turk’s Head.

If you’re interested in art and culture, Penzance won’t disappoint. Discover the thriving local artistic community by exploring galleries like The Exchange, where you can admire works by local and international artists. Immerse yourself in the rich artistic heritage of Penzance at Penlee House Gallery and Museum, which specializes in the renowned Newlyn School artists and offers insights into local history.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Penzance boasts stunning beaches such as Mousehole Beach and the sandy shores of Mount’s Bay, providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day by the sea. Cool off at the unique Jubilee Pool, the largest art deco lido in Britain. Take a moment to unwind in the tranquil Morrab Gardens, where you can appreciate exotic plants and lovely features like a bandstand and a fountain.

As you plan your trip to Penzance, don’t forget to indulge in the town’s vibrant food and drink scene. From traditional Cornish pasties to fresh seafood sourced from the nearby fishing village of Newlyn, there’s a wide range of culinary delights to savor. Be sure to visit local cafes like The Honey Pot Cafe and Hellys Deli Cafe, where you can enjoy a hearty breakfast or a leisurely afternoon tea.

In conclusion, Penzance is a charming destination that offers a variety of experiences for visitors. Whether you’re fascinated by history, fascinated by art, captivated by nature, or tantalized by the local cuisine, Penzance has it all. Plan your trip to this delightful town and discover all the wonderful things it has to offer.


What are some popular attractions in Penzance?

Some popular attractions in Penzance include Chapel Street, The Exchange art gallery, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, and the beaches of Mousehole and Mount’s Bay.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Penzance?

In Penzance, you can visit beautiful beaches like Mousehole Beach and Mount’s Bay, take a swim in the Jubilee Pool, or relax in the tranquil Morrab Gardens.

What are some nearby places to explore from Penzance?

From Penzance, you can visit St Michael’s Mount, the village of Mousehole, or take a ferry to the Isles of Scilly for a unique day trip.

Where can I find good food and drink in Penzance?

Penzance has a vibrant food and drink scene, with options ranging from traditional Cornish pasties to fresh seafood. Local cafes like The Honey Pot Cafe and Hellys Deli Cafe are popular choices.

Can I learn about the history of Penzance?

Absolutely! Penzance has a rich history, and you can learn about it through walking tours, visits to historical sites like the Admiral Benbow Inn, or exploring buildings like the Egyptian House and Maria Branwell’s childhood home.