This post is part of a travel series on Miranda’s Notebook detailing my holiday in Penzance, Cornwall. Over the next week, I’ll be sharing all about where we stayed and what we did, as well as restaurant recommendations and a general guide to the area, so do keep checking back for updates!
Our second night in Penzance was spent at the boutique townhouse B&B, Chapel House, appropriately situated opposite the church at the end of picturesque Chapel Street. Formerly the Penzance Arts Club, owner Susan Stuart took the opportunity to breathe fresh life into this beautiful Georgian building, turning it into a serene, light-filled dwelling space.
When researching our trip, I’d seen lots of images of Chapel House popping up on instagram, and thought it looked gorgeous, so was anxious to see if the reality lived up to my expectations. As you’ll see, it most certainly did!
Opening the heavy front door, the bell jangled as we stepped into the spacious hallway of the house, decorated with a big wooden side table and wall displays of art from the Newlyn School of Art (I liked this nod to the building’s artistic past).
After a friendly welcome, we were shown to our room and told that freshly baked brownies would be on their way up to us in a moment (it really is impossible not to enjoy your food when you’re in Cornwall!).
Our room was situated at the very top of the house, with splendid views of the church tower and, from our communal landing, further out to sea.
I loved the pops of colour in our room, and the thoughtful details like fluffy dressing gowns and slippers provided, an iPad with information about Chapel House and room service options, a box filled with toiletries from the local skincare company Pure Nuff Stuff, and freshly stocked tea, coffee and milk supplies (alongside the home-baked brownies – delicious!). The decor showcased a mix of contemporary and classic design, with vintage radios and modern artworks common features in each room.
The bathroom in our room was fabulous, with a gigantic tub and a skylight that opens overhead, so, if you wish, you could draw a hot bath and open the skylight to look at the stars at night. Isn’t that romantic? I myself enjoyed a good soak and a good book (Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, partly set in Cornwall) before going down to dinner later that evening.
A Tour of the House
After settling into our room, I was invited to take a tour of the house, so I set off on a wander, camera in hand. There are 6 double bedrooms available to book, and each one is beautiful and spacious, with its own unique character and charm. Taking inspiration from the seaside setting, Chapel House is decorated throughout in muted greys, greens and blues, which lend the rooms a dream-like, airy quality that is pleasantly relaxing.
The abundance of natural light strikes a note of pure joy into the heart of any photographer, and I fervently wished I could use Chapel House as the backdrop to my interior shots forever and ever.
Staying at this B&B feels more like being a guest in someone’s home, with its air of elegant informality and welcoming atmosphere. Shelves of books, a plethora of magazines and comfy chairs are strategically placed throughout the public areas of the house, and it’s hard to resist the urge to simply stand and stare in front of the beautiful views offered by the wide windows.
The drawing rooms are exceptionally lovely, and are the perfect place to enjoy an evening drink, or a cup of tea with a good book. In the winter, there’s the promise of a fire and extra cosy blankets, too.
Supper in the Kitchen
Good eating, as well as beautiful interior design, lies at the core of the Chapel House experience. As well as cooked breakfast and homemade cake each afternoon, supper is offered for your first night, or over the weekend. Made by Susan – a consummate chef – in the spacious kitchen downstairs, it’s not to be missed.
We started the evening with prosecco and olives in the living room, chatting over our day’s adventures, before moving downstairs, where we were greeted by the delicious aromas of our meal being prepared.
Our table was drawn up by the fire, which is lit on colder nights, and where we could sit and chat to Susan as she busied herself with the supper preparations at the other end of the stunning kitchen. It was inspiring to hear her story of her move from London and adventures in restoring Chapel House to its former grandeur.
We’d given our choices from the menu offered previous to our arrival. I’d stuck with seafood throughout (when in Cornwall, after all…) and had selected scallops and wild chives for my first course, with crab cannelloni for the second.
Mum had chosen scallops to start as well, followed by roast chicken wrapped in prosciutto. We’d chosen a bottle of white wine suggested by Susan to pair with our meal, which was excellent.
The scallops, plump and melting in the mouth, were superb, and the main courses did not disappoint either. I loved my hearty serving of cannelloni, which happily had a fresh green salad served alongside to lighten the dish. Mum’s roast chicken was succulent and tasty.
All the meals at Chapel House are cooked using local, seasonal ingredients, and there’s a real charm to sitting in a homely kitchen and watching your meal prepared in front of you. For dessert, I (predictably, as ever!) went for chocolate torte, with Cornish clotted cream and fresh raspberries, and Mum decided to try the cheese platter, with its selection of locally made cheese.
They were both a delightful end to the meal. My chocolate torte was heavenly, especially with the cream (surely Cornish clotted cream is the very best), and Mum’s cheese plate was delicious too. Despite being extremely full, I had a tiny sliver of the Gouda, which Susan told us was made by a Scandinavian cheesemaker settled in Cornwall. It was exceptional!
Rather unbelievably, given our fantastic meal the night before, we were both ready for our breakfast the following morning. Making our way down to the kitchen again, we were met with an impressive array of freshly made juices, fruit salad, bread, croissants, granola, muesli and yoghurt.
I helped myself to a small bowl of yoghurt and fruit, with a sprinkling of granola and sat down at one of the large, square dining tables. We were handed a menu with mouth-watering offerings of cooked breakfasts, and the ability to mix and match however you liked. I decided on cooked sausage, white pudding, fried mushrooms, scrambled eggs and toast.
It was wonderful – the sausages were some of the best I’ve ever tasted, and I can now attest I’m a fan of white pudding as well as black. Mum asked for avocado and poached egg on toast with bacon, which she said was very good too.
We were quite sorry to have to leave after our breakfast, and I very much hope to be back one day soon! Our experience at Chapel House was truly marvellous, and I’d recommend it as a fabulous choice for a special holiday, romantic getaway, or to book for a wedding (when it’s possible to take over the whole house).
Note: our stay Chapel House was complimentary for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.