An Artistic visit to Penzance

In the early days of January, three friends met at London’s Paddington Station to take one of Britain’s most beautiful train journeys. When headed to Cornwall (as every lover of travel should), take the train down as far as you can and then rent a car to explore. You will not feel like you are in the UK anymore. Cornwall has a special atmosphere onto itself and the bracing sea breezes will leave you feeling refreshed from city life.

My travel partners in crime – Jo from CandidsbyJo and Jacintha from UrbanPixxels – and I had a particular destination in Penzance: the Cottage at the boutique hotel The Artist Residence. We found the hotel’s bright red front door some 20 minutes walk from the station and were welcomed with a freshly lit fireplace in what might be one of the most brilliantly decorated cottages in a seaside town in Britain. The freshly lit fireplace then promptly died and took 24 hours to figure out how to light again, but we were lucky it went out. As 24 hours later, we would discover that the lit fireplace acts like a magnet that makes it very hard for you to leave the little cottage. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We settled into the cozy breakfast/all day-living room for some coffee and scones and alternated chatting and staring at the fire blazing on the other side of the room (winter-proofing fires are a repeat highlight during this stay). Two women sat chatting nearby and started taking pictures of us as we took pictures of our tea. All five of us had to laugh about how silly photographers look on a shoot. And we relaxed into the same feeling we got at The Artist Residence in London – a blend of friendliness, comfort, great design and lovely service.

A special thing about The Artist Residence is where it gets its name… they bring in different artists to decorate the rooms, which is how you find yourself fascinated by the detail in each place. Our cottage had perfectly mix-matched fabrics, Le Creuset ironware in the kitchen and touches of Brazilian artwork sprinkled throughout. Retro-Marshall speakers came with cords for us to hook up our Spotify playlists. Everything about our cottage whispered: “make yourself at home.”

Later that night, we ate at The Cornish Barn and can only say we should have listed to our waiter… Do not attempt to try a wide selection of staters and mains in one go (the ribs were approximately the size of Jacintha). But do be sure to try the Parsnip Rosti with Caramelised Shallots and Goats Cheese as well as the Chicken Wings with Apricot, Soy and Green Chilli.

The next day, we forced ourselves out of the comfort of the hotel for a walk (all three of us suffer from a 50% homebody/50% explorer complex) and wandered around Penzance. We were tempted by a pint in the 17th century Admiral Benbow across the street (look out for the statue of a man and a gun on its roof.) We loitered outside nearby Steckfensters for a good while – a quirky secondhand shop that had a full-sized Dalek from Dr Who in the window. Then we continued up Chapel Street to the oasis of No. 56, a charming homewares store that seriously tempted our wallets and challenged our tiny suitcases. From there we wandered down to the water and looked across to St Michael’s Mount (a highly recommended trip during the summer months). Of course, I found a cat and the girls wandered off while I asked it to pose…

Returning to the hotel rather windswept, we debated whether or not to go out to dinner and opted to cook in the cottage. We’d finally mastered the fireplace and had New Year’s resolutions firmly planted in our minds for blog design refreshes (stay tuned soon, folks), adventures in creating cinemagraphs (take a look at Jo’s here) and travel planning. We raided the local Co-op and bought ingredients for steak tacos. We opened a bottle of Vin Santo that we’d recently brought back from Greece and settled in for the night. It was one of the best nights with friends I can remember during my time in England and one I will treasure for some time to come.

My recommendation? Get thyself to an English cottage outing in the winter months. You may come away with more inspiration than you expected.

We were guests of The Artist Residence in Cornwall and were delighted by our stay with them.

  • Sounds lovely, but I’m crying at “the ribs were approximately the size of Jacintha…”

  • I love Cornwall but haven’t made it quite that far south yet! Yet another thing for my travel list :)

  • So, so lovely! I love Artist’s Residence in Pimlico … the decor and the vibe is just right. This looks like such a relaxing and refreshing escape.

  • It loos absolutely gorgeous! Cornwall is high up there on my UK to visit list, but I haven’t made it yet! x

  • so pretty! and a grey cat:)


Twelve years ago, Jess moved to Europe for what was supposed to be a one-year stint. Fourteen years later, life abroad is just as entertaining. She blogs about it here.