School holidays are coming up, which means six weeks of keeping little ones entertained and spending quality time with the family, of course! We’re lucky in the UK as there’s plenty of amazing holiday destinations right here on our doorstep. Penzance in Cornwall is one of our favourites. From historical and heritage sites, gardens and spectacular scenic locations, to great shopping and top-notch restaurants, Penzance is a fantastic place to visit with the whole family.
We’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in Penzance with the kids, so you can plan your trip.
From big sandy beaches to intimate sheltered coves, Cornwall’s 300+ beaches are gloriously varied so it’s no wonder that a beach day is one of our favourite things to do in Penzance.
Long Rock is the most easily accessible stretch of sandy beach from town being just a 10-minute bus ride from Penzance train station. Swimming here is particularly safe so it’s great for families. Right by the centre of town, the beach is perfectly located to get to restaurants, shops and things to do should the sand and sunshine start to tire out the youngsters.
A little further afield is award-winning Porthcurno Beach which is still accessible by a bus from Penzance. The large beach has a stream which is great for kids to paddle in and high cliffs provide shelter from the wind. Up on the cliffs is the Minack Theatre, an open-air amphitheatre overlooking the bay. From May to September you can see plays and music being performed here, so pack a picnic blanket and see what’s on.
You could easily spend a few hours exploring the town of Penzance. Running from the town centre to the harbour is Chapel Street, the most historic street in Penzance. Dating back to before the 18th century, the street is an eclectic mix of shops, houses and hotels. Get the kids to keep an eye out for the bizarre Egyptian House – originally built as a geological museum, it is now someone’s home!
Visit Penlee House, a gallery and museum set within a beautiful park. It specialises in showing the area’s unique, rich cultural heritage incorporating the historic collections of Penzance Town Council, Penwith District Council and Newlyn Art Gallery. Take a stroll down the harbour and admire the boats before stopping off at one of the fish and chip shops along the water.
St Michael’s Mount
Up in the middle of Mount’s Bay and connected to the mainland via a cobbled causeway, the amazing island world of St Michael’s Mount is one of Cornwall’s most iconic tourist attractions and is well worth a visit.
Originally built by Benedictine monks, the abbey has served many roles over the years, including a coastal fort, stately home and even an ammunition dump. Children will be fascinated by the history, legends and myths surrounding St Michaels Mount.
If you time it well, you can walk across the causeway at low tide, following in the footsteps of pilgrims from centuries ago. Alternatively, you can catch the ferry from Marazion if the tide is high. Take a tour of the castle and discover the subtropical gardens. Make sure you scale the fairy-tale turrets for spectacular views. Listen to live music on the village green and tuck into fresh local food in the one of the restaurants on the harbour.
To get to Marazion, head to Penzance bus station where several buses will take you directly there in around 15 minutes.
Splash about in Jubilee Pool
Open every day from late May to early September, Jubilee Pool is the perfect place to spend the day with the kids. A salt water pool right by the sea, you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the depths of the ocean without even leaving the shore.
The main pool is suitable for all abilities and there’s also a small children’s pool for toddlers and younger children. A fantastic café onsite offers homemade refreshments (be sure to try one of their famous sausage rolls), or you can take your own food and drink.
The tables on the top terrace are ideal for taking a picnic and enjoying some sunshine after you’ve had a swim.
On occasion, the pool hosts activities like inflatable sessions, paddle boarding and yoga, so keep an eye out while you’re there!
The pool is a 10-minute walk from Penzance train station.
Picnic and play in Trengwainton Garden
With its combination of winding wooded paths, secluded corners and vast open spaces, there are lots of places to picnic and play at Trengwainton Garden.
Head to the Terrace for impressive sea views and a large grassy area with summerhouses and seating. It’s the perfect spot for younger legs to run off some energy and for the grownups to rest and enjoy the scenery. On a clear day you can see right across the 25 miles of Mount’s Bay to the Lizard Peninsula.
There are children’s trails to follow so little ones can look out for specific plants as you explore the woodland. For something a little different, there’s a sensory trail sheet for a more sensory experience of the garden.
Be sure to visit the tearoom where there’s plenty of space for the kids to play and a great children’s menu. With lots to keep little ones captivated, Trengwainton is a fabulously family friendly garden.
There’s plenty of great things to do in Penzance with the kids. Whenever you decide to go, make sure you take advantage of great savings with CrossCountry Advance train tickets.