Penzance is a cultural hotspot with a dozen of festivals throughout the year that ensure that there's always something going on: unique events are the pagan festivals Golowan and Mazey Day at Midsummer. For something a little more down to earth, plan your visit around the Penzance Proms or the Montol Festival, two of Cornwalls biggest art festivals. At any time of year, the town's theatres are a good bet for an excellent show.
Those who are looking for a relaxing time will enjoy the Town Trail and walks in the surrounding countryside: the town is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding Penwith area of Cornwall, and there are also regular links to the Isles of Scilly via helicopter and ferry. Here, anglers will also find many peaceful sports and unspoilt landscape.
Culture & attractions in Penzance
Penzance is steeped in art and history, which is reflected in the town's many museums and galleries. The most famous of all might be the Egyptian House, which houses a great collection of artefacts from this ancient North African nation. Penlee House Museum and Gallery is home to a great selection of painting from the 'Newlyn School', including many works by Stanhope Forbes.
Opposite the Egyptian House, you will find the Union Hotel which is famous as place were Admiral Nelson was first announced. For something a little lighter, there are many old pubs to discover throughout Penzance, with Admiral Benbow being the oldest in town (built in the 17th century). The town also features one of the oldest cinemas in the country, the Savoy Penzance, which was established in 1912 and is still a great place to spend a rainy evening or afternoon. If you're looking for some action, visit Covert Combat, a lazer combat site that guarantees fun not only for kids and teens!
At The Exchange, the Penzance Tate offers a wide variety of changing exhibitions by local and international artists.
Every year at the end of June, Penzance comes to life through the pagan midsummer festival, Golowan Festival along with Mazey Eve and Mazey Day, which not only offers a traditional fun fair, but also many art events in the area.
At the last Monday of August, nearby Newlyn hosts the Newlyn Fish Festival, where you can do much more than just eat fish – although with seafood this fresh, even that is an unforgettable highlight!
Montol Festival takes place throughout December and celebrates traditional Cornish Christmas and winter traditions.
Must-do highlights in Penzance
If the sea is too cold for swimming, head for the Jubilee Swimming Pool which is popular with old and young, locals and visitors alike in the summer.
An impressive natural sight is St Michael's Mount, located just across Marazion Bay. The untamed wildness of this tidal causeway will leave you speechless!
In nearby Chysauster, you can discover an Iron Age village that still features stone dwellings that date back to 100 BC. Nearby Penwith offers many more ancient monuments, which can best be visited via guided walks with history and geology specialists so that you can learn everything about the area and listen to some of the eerie Cornish folklore.
Scenic town trails starting from Penzance that lead to Newlyn and the curiously named Mousehole are also a great way of discovering the area at your own pace.
Eating & drinking in Penzance
Penzance offers an unusually wide variety of dining options for the area, including the award-winning Victoria Inn, which is a member of the Cornish Accredited Restaurants list and has won a silver Cornwall Tourism Award.
The Market Plaice Fish Bar has been serving fish & chips for 50 years – visit to find out what the hype is all about!
For a traditional Cornish dining experience, head to one of the meaderies, which have started as restaurants with a medieval theme but undoubtedly have a traditional Cornish twist to them.
No trip to Cornwall would be complete without some authentic Cornish Pasties. Some of the best can be found at Lavender's Deli at Alverton Street, yet Pellows at Causewayhead offer the biggest pastries in town.
Accommodation in Penzance
The best way to enjoy your holiday in Penzance is in your own home away from home. Luckily, there is a wide variety of holiday apartments to choose from.
For a quiet, idyllic retreat, try Trenant, a spacious 1930s house with 4 bedrooms that is located at peaceful Lamorna Cove.
At Praa Sands, halfway between Penzance and Helston, there are a number of holiday bungalows and apartments that are within a few yards of the beach. One of them is Coth Sol, a rustic yet modern three bedroom bungalow with a patio area that overlooks the beach.
Nearby The Penthouse, Seacroft Barton also offers a balcony with sea views and is located perfectly to explore the Lizard Peninsula. It sleeps up to 10 people and has plenty of parking space, perfect for a surfing trip with friends.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend in Penzance. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…