If we said to you ebiking, skateboarding, edgy art, arty cinema, gaming, roller-blading and surfing, what comes to mind?
A good lie down, perhaps?
Your teenagers might think differently. Because Penzance is the stunning portside town with a creative and alternative sports vibe that makes a perfect base for parents with young adults looking for culture and stimulation.
Who knows, you might find fewer faces looking into screens and more engagement with the real world. (We can all live in hope.)
You might even take yourself out of your comfort zone as you join teenagers in some of these family friendly activities.
(By the way, if your children are younger, check out our post 10 Great Days Out for Kids in Penzance.)
Penzance has a beautiful skate park just off the Promenade towards Newlyn. This is a friendly, inclusive spot. You’re just as likely to see dads helping daughters perfect their first drop-in as groups of teenagers uttering words like ‘sick’ and other phrases Love Penzance simply doesn’t understand.
In Penzance, the eBike revolution is well and truly up and running. This is partly down to our Promenade – with sweeping views over Mount’s Bay, this is one of the UK’s finest spots for an ebike spin. It’s also down to the sheer depth and breadth of stunning countryside available on your ride. Head out to a cute fishing village, a sheltered sandy bay or our atmospheric moors. There are some very cool bikes out there available for hire. Who knows, it might be Dad’s final chance to be mistaken for a Hoxton hipster…
Pushing boundaries and subverting the mainstream is built into the DNA of teenagers. Fortunately, it’s front and centre at our wildly creative arts scene in and around Penzance. Over the years, Jim Moir (AKA Vic Reeves), Grayson Perry, Kurt Jackson and highly renowned local and international artists have exhibited in Penzance’s many galleries.
But is it art? If it confuses parents, almost certainly yes.
Check out Newyln Art Gallery, The Exchange in Penzance and countless smaller venues with big reputations.
Vintage fashion is having a major moment in PZ. Look out for cool boutiques offering retro wear, as well as other non-mainstream choices such as ethnic and Indian fashions.
At the other end of the spectrum, watersports fiends will discover cool surfwear and accessories.
Penzance is also a great destination to shop for unique gifts and mementoes – there’s a thriving independent shopping scene showcasing local arts and crafts. Finally, we have perhaps the loveliest selection of new and used independent bookshops in Cornwall. In your face, smartphones!
We have it from the very best sources that there’s a retro vibe to many console games these days. Teenagers who want to experience some old-school gaming action should head on down to Penzance’s amusement arcade, an Aladdin’s cave of bleeping, clacking and alluring commands to ‘Place your bets’. Also in PZ, you’ll find a hugely successful gaming lounge and swathes of second-hand console games up for grabs.
Whether your teen is big on explosive blockbusters or meaningful indie hits, you’ll discover wide-screen extravaganzas for every taste at Penzance’s cinemas. Take your big screen immersion with soft drinks or popcorn, or make a big occasion of it by eating out at your cinema of choice. PZ movie palaces really put out the stops by matching high drama with a great ambience for family meals out.
Within Penzance itself, active teens have loads of options to hook up with sporty peers and burn some carbs.
Our purple tennis courts opposite the Promenade are a thing of beauty. As is the price – they’re completely free. Also free, at nearby Wherrytown towards Newlyn a real teen scene is developing at the basketball courts, where friends and strangers rock up to sink a few hoops. There’s a free outdoors gym right next to the basketball court, and local gyms offer temporary membership to visitors. Oh, and do check out Penzance’s wild swimming scene – you could argue you haven’t really visited Penzance unless you’ve plunged in our bay and then socialised, dripping on the harbour’s edge, with other swimmers.
Further afield, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for kayak and paddleboard hire, and surf hire and lessons. For adventurous families, try coasteering – it involves exploring the region where sea meets land and climbing, swimming and diving.
Fellow oldsters, do you miss the Eighties? Well rock up to PZ prom with your teen and take a trip back. A post-pandemic trend for 1980s-style retro roller skating is happening right now on our glorious strip of walkway by the sea.
You know. Roller boots. Roller discos. Rubber stoppers. If your teen is a skater, they can go solo or check out the group SK8PZ on Facebook for details of communal skate events. But please do ensure they respect pedestrians – it’s a shared space. Respectful to others is how we roll.
Find more activities for teens, little ones and adults in our town at the Love Penzance website.