Our last weekend in Penzance was spent in one of the most unusual buildings I’ve ever come across: the Egyptian House, a Landmark Trust property in Penzance. Located on elegant Chapel Street, this building certainly catches your eye, and I was so delighted to get the chance to stay in one of the flats and call the Egyptian House home for a few days.
The Landmark Trust is a charity that rescues important historical buildings that would otherwise be lost, and the income gained from bookings is put towards restoring other beautiful buildings and making them available to everyone. Isn’t that rather marvellous?
Apparently, there was a craze for Egyptian-style architecture in early 19th Century Britain, after Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt in 1798. Originally a geological shop and museum dating from 1835, The Egyptian House is now divided into three self-catering flats. We were in the 3rd floor flat, which sleeps up to four people, with a double and twin beds.
This was the first Landmark Trust property I’d stayed in, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I thought it likely that only a few bare essentials would be provided, so it was a wonderful surprise to walk through the door and see what comfortable surroundings we had. I appreciated the attractive china wear, vintage furniture, ample provision of towels and bedding, as well as the stacks of carefully chosen books (featuring either a Cornish or Egyptian theme), the cosy gas fire and the stunning views of St Michael’s Mount. TV, phones and wifi aren’t provided, and instead visitors are encouraged to bring radios, dressing gowns and candles to light in the evenings. A stay at the Egyptian House enables you to really take a break, soak up the incredible atmosphere, and remember the time when evenings weren’t spent in front of either the TV, computer or smartphone.
Let me take you on a little tour…
I was utterly charmed by the cosy kitchen, with its wide window, dainty blue and white china, deep green cabinets and spick-and-span appearance. The carefully arranged tea tray and fresh milk in the fridge were a comforting and welcome touch when we first arrived. I definitely agree with the necessity of tea above all else!
There were plenty of pots and pans, and all the usual cooking utensils too, so it would have been easy to cook for ourselves, although as we were only there a few nights we mainly picked up some appetising treats, such as Cornish cheese, sausage rolls and freshly made salads, from the nearby Cornish Hen Deli.
I was so impressed by the cosiness of this room! A wide window seat, big enough to sit on with a book, is always a winner with me, and I loved sitting and looking at out at the beautiful view of the church and St Michael’s Mount. When it poured with rain on the Sunday, Mum and I enjoyed completing the puzzle provided (apparently there’s always a puzzle in a Landmark Trust Residence) and reading by the fire. There’s no wi-fi at the property, so I took the opportunity to entirely disconnect from social media, and I thoroughly enjoyed the break!
My birthday fell whilst were staying at the Egyptian House, so we had a properly celebratory High Tea, with my Mum surprising me with some cupcakes and chocolate tarts she’d surreptitiously picked up at Baker Tom’s Bread.
It was one of the best birthdays I’d ever had! We started the morning with cinnamon French toast at the Exchange Gallery cafe (about a 2 minute walk from the Egyptian House and my favourite place in Penzance for breakfast or light lunch. The food is exceptional and very reasonably priced), and then had a potter about my favourite shops on Chapel street. I picked up some prints and a notebook as a birthday treat to myself from Endpaper, as well as a secondhand set of Virginia Woolf’s diaries in one of the many excellent antique shops. We then went back to the flat for our tea and a quiet, snug evening in. Much as I love London, life does get rather hectic in the city, and being able to live so peacefully for a few days, with only the sound of the sea in the distance and the occasional ring of church bells, was, to me, a fabulous birthday treat.
Both Mum and I commented on how we thought the flat was exceptionally well-laid out. We liked the design of the spacious hallway, with doors to one bedroom, the living room, bathroom and kitchen all opening out from it. The second, largest room with twin beds, is accessed via a door opening out from the living room, and, like the sitting area, features two large skylights, as well as a window.
I took over the double bedroom, which is smaller, but still very pleasant, and there’s just room for a corner cupboard to hang up a few clothes which is great.
As I’ve mentioned before, Chapel Street is one of my favourite streets in Britain, with its fantastic collections of restaurants, pubs, shops and attractive buildings. It was great to be in such a convenient location, and of course, there is plenty to do within the wider area of this part of Cornwall. The Egyptian House makes an excellent base for exploring further afield, as well as more locally.
If you’re keen to holiday in reasonably priced, comfortable accommodation that offers a delightful mix of historical and architectural interest, then I definitely urge you to have a browse through the Landmark Trust properties available, and any of the flats in the Egyptian House would offer a lovely stay if you’re planning a trip to Penzance.
Flat Three in the Egyptian House is a self-catering flat that sleeps up to 4 in the heart of Penzance. 4 nights may be booked from £197. For more information and how to book, click here.
Please note: our stay at the Egyptian House was complimentary for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.