There are lots of great things to do in Penzance, Cornwall, a pleasant fishing town in the far southwest of England. With miles of golden, sandy beaches nearby, a charming harbor, and a town center, you won’t be stuck for places to visit in Penzance.
I’ve visited Cornwall almost every year since I was born and think of the place as a second home. Although I prefer the rugged north Cornish coast, there’s no denying the beauty and tranquility of the fishing villages and towns along the south coast such as Penzance.
Whether you want to try your hand at paddle boarding, sunbathe on the beach, or enjoy a Cornish treat such as cream tea, in this article you’ll find the best Penzance attractions, nature walks, and things to do near Penzance.
Top 05 Things To Do in Penzance
Below you’ll find a mixture of things to do in Penzance from enjoying the beaches, ocean, and coastal paths, to exploring galleries, museums, and traditional pubs.
Penzance is a great seaside destination and also has a great selection of restaurants that serve the freshest seafood straight from the boat.
1. Learn to Surf
Cornwall is synonymous with surfing and has some of the best surfing beaches in Europe. The biggest waves are found on the north Atlantic coastline, however, for learners, the secluded bays around Penzance are the perfect place to have a go at this fun activity.
This class at Praa Sands Beach Surf School is just 8.5 miles from the town and is one of the best things to do around Penzance.
One of the first things I do when I get to Cornwall is hit the waves and I can assure you it’s a lot of fun!
2. Eat Fish and Chips at the Dolphin Tavern
The rustic Dolphin Tavern sits right on the harbor’s edge offering fantastic views of the bay and town. As you’d expect for somewhere so close to the sea, the menu is big on seafood; offerings dishes such as squid and the classic fish and chips.
Enjoying a pint (try St. Austell’s Tribute) and a taste of the sea is one of the things that keeps me coming back to Cornwall year after year. The Dolphin’s Tavern is definitely one of the best places to visit in Penzance for a hungry traveler.
3. Take a Dip in Jubilee Pool
Taking a dip at the Jubilee Pool is one of the best things to do in Penzance for families as it’s much safer than the open ocean for small children. Jubilee is the biggest lido (open-air swimming pool) in the UK and a great place to spend the day.
I do love a day at the beach, but sometimes it’s nice to have a swim without getting sand everywhere (and you’d be hard pushed to find a jellyfish in there too!).
4. Have a Go at Paddle Boarding
This two-hour paddle boarding session in the calm waters of Abbey Basin right next to the harbor is one of the best things to do in Penzance for those looking for a little adventure.
You’ll learn the basics of using a standup paddleboard (SUP) and have a lot of fun trying to get your balance (I’ve not tested my SUP skills yet but I’m excited to have a go).
5. Visit the Exchange Gallery
The Exchange Gallery is a large contemporary art space in the center of town and one of the most quirky things to do in Penzance. It forms part of the wider Newlyn Art Gallery and is a great place to explore some interesting exhibitions or take part in a workshop.
The gallery is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm during the summer months and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday from October 1st. A ticket costs £7.00 and is valid for one year.