Balleswidden Cabin – near Penzance, Cornwall
- Cabin for 3
1 (low-ceilinged) mezzanine double, 1 small child’s bed (2ft wide)
Walk up the path to Balleswidden Cabin and you will feel like you've discovered an uninhabited island, where your time is your own to parcel out as you see fit. Outside, the cabin looks like a funky shack, perhaps home to a family of surfboards - but inside, it surprises you at every turn with stylish luxury. Originally built as a writer's lodge, it’s stocked with shelves of books which you’re welcome to swap in and out, and a big, red leather Chesterfield to curl up on. Make fire in the wok on the deck and sizzle something for dinner, or enjoy the setting sun with a glass of something chilled. Up a wooden ladder, and tucked under the eaves, is a mezzanine bedroom perfect for two to snuggle into (but not stand up in!). The bathroom is minty and relaxing with a full-size claw-foot tub and plenty of gushing hot water. Through here, there's a small single room for a child (the bed is a snug 2ft wide).
The cabin faces south, and traps the light all day long, flooding the airy, high-ceilinged living area with sunbeams. Set in a private garden shaded with willows, there is a timeless, still quality to this place, and so peaceful you can almost hear the greenery growing. From the deck, you have uninterrupted views over the wild moors and down to the Long Ships off Land’s End, the very tip of Britain. If you know what you are looking for, you can even tell what the surf will be like that day. Wild and wonderful is the only way to describe this part of Cornwall, known for its ruined tin mines, ancient wells and standing stones, enchanting fishing villages and dramatic coastline of high cliffs and long, golden beaches... there's so much to do, from surfing to seafood, and Kate, the owner, provides plenty of good advice.
Romance at Balleswidden: honeymoon here, or celebrate a special occasion in style! On top of the usual welcome treats like homemade bread, arrive to chilled Champagne with cassis, chocolate strawberries and a bouquet, and, of course, a bed strewn with rose petals. You'll also receive pampering bath salts and massage oils, and either a luxury local seafood hamper (lobster, crab, smoked salmon...) or the local artisan butcher's BBQ hamper. Add an activity to remember: either a spa day in St Ives with breakfast, surfing lessons for two, or a sunset boat trip from Penzance. £230 for two. Call 01275 395 447 to enquire, or to add to your existing booking.
- Children welcome
Children are welcome. Well-behaved pets can be accommodated by arrangement - please ring to enquire.
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Everything you need to know about Balleswidden Cabin
The important stuff
- Check in is from 3pm.
- Check out is at 12 noon.
- Bring wellies!
Sleeping arrangements1 (low-ceilinged) mezzanine double, 1 small child’s bed (2ft wide)
Kids & PetsChildren are welcome. Well-behaved pets can be accommodated by arrangement - please ring to enquire.
- Indoor kitchen with gas cooker and fridge
- Fire wok on the deck outside, fuel included
- All kitchen utensils provided...even the kitchen sink (and washing up liquid)
- Bathroom with flushing loo & bath. Towels and homemade soap are provided - hot water is gushing and plentiful!
Heating, lighting & bedding
- Wood burner for heating (wood & firelighters provided)
- Small gas fire for heating
- Electric lighting
- There are plug sockets for guest's use
- Solar lights for the path outside
- Plenty of books on the shelves (swap as you please!)
- Chess, backgammon, cards
- Ordnance Survey maps for local walks
The Count House, Balleswidden, St Just, Penzance TR19 7RY
Head to Penzance along the A30. When you get to Penzance, continue along the A30 towards Lands End until you get to Mount Misery Roundabout (at the top of a hill). Here you take the A3071 towards St Just. Carry on following this road. You will pass a village called Newbridge. Carry on for another 3 miles until you get to a crossroads at the bottom of a hill, where you'll turn left towards Sancreed. (There will be lots of other turnings to Sancreed but don’t take any but the one at the crossroads!) Then take the first left along a rough farm track. At the end of this track you will come to a fork. Take the left hand fork, and park in front of a terracotta farm house. Facing the farmhouse you will see a small grass track leading off to the left. Follow this track until you reach the Cabin. If you'd prefer, you can park at the farmhouse and walk up the grassy track, approx 200m, to the cabin while Kate drives your luggage up.
Eating & drinking
At the cabin
A hamper will be provided on arrival, with varying contents. Honey from Kate's own bees, and free range eggs from the rare breed chickens are a staple. There's also homemade blackberry jam, artisan bread, local cheese, milk, tea, and coffee.
Kitchen basics like oil and spices and some dried goods are provided so you can cook for yourselves and not have to rush around for supplies! You have the option to contact Kate in advance for any bits of shopping or veg boxes you would like to order (payment on arrival) and with enough notice, a home-cooked breakfast or evening meal may be cooked on the farmhouse Aga.
The nearest shop is in St Just - around 20 minutes walk from the cabin. Sennen Farmer’s Market is every Tuesday with tons of local produce and the now famous (and not just locally) Sarah's Chilli Relish.
Pubs & restaurants
The Star, St Just Within walking distance. This is a real, traditional pub and very much worth a visit for a pint - Captian Jack Sparrow (ok, Johnny Depp) has even been known to frequent it...
The Kings Arms, St Just Situated in the town square, a 20 min walk from the Cabin. This is a good pub for food!
The Tinners Arms, Zennor A drive away, but a real must. This part of the coast is beyond stunning, so make a day of it. This pub won Alastair Sawday's "Special Places" Authentic Pub Award 2006 "Cream of the Crop"!
The Cape Cornwall Golf Club This is a further 15 mins from St Just towards Cape Cornwall and has a good reputation for food.
Untitled in Penzance "You can have both informal dinning in the tapas bar and fine dining here. I think it’s delicious."
Ben’s Cornish Kitchen in Marazion "I went here last night for a late Mother’s Day, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was relaxed."
Things to do
At the cabin
Eat alfresco on the deck! The fire wok means you can cook whist watching the sun sink over the Atlantic. There's a library of inspirational books, cards, traditional board games and even a TV & DVD player (optional, of course).
Out & about
The cabin is situated in some of the most stunning coastlines in the world near to Lands End and Cape Cornwall, where three oceans collide. The granite cliffs, wild moors and stunning beaches make it the perfect place to explore on foot or by bike.
St Just is an old mining town, the most westerly town in England and is within walking distance of the Cabin. From the Cabin you can also walk up to Sancreed beacon and look over all of West Penwith, taking in St Michaels Mount and Lands End in one panaromic view. From there you can walk to the ancient well at Sancreed. The well is underground and reached via a short flight of moss covered steps. Around the well can be seen the coloured ribbons and votive offerings hanging from the trees. Close to the well is the remains of a small chapel.
West Penwith peninsular as a whole is a venue full of wonder to explore, rain or shine, looped by the famous Cornish Coast Path. There are so many places to see in West Penwith: tiny fishing villages; small mining towns... The most famous are St Ives (which can get very busy in summer time) and Mousehole. A good way to approach is on the St Ives Bay Railway Line, boasting 'the most scenic route in the country' and running all year round.
If you walk from Cape Cornwall and head north you will pass some more stunning costal countryside, ancient sights and tiny fishing coves. Watch out for the peregrine falcons and seals along this stretch of coast. There is a little-known natural sea pool that you can stop off at for a swim in Tregeseal before making your way to Botallack, a ruin of old mines perched on an rock out to sea. If you head inland to the village from here, you will find the Queens Arms, which does good pub food.
Sustainable fishing trips for mackerel, bass or crab can be arranged with a local fisherman from Mousehole.
The lack of light pollution at Balleswidden means you can lie outside next to the FireWok and look at the Milky Way, watching for shooting stars.
The walk west from Cape Cornwall towards Land’s End will lead through the incredibly beautiful beaches of Gwenver and Sennen which are excellent for relaxing and surfing. You can hire surf boards and wetsuits or go the whole hog with a half-day session at Smart Surf School.
Sirens Surf is an all-girls surf school run by local wave-rider Jessica Cox. Have a great time on a board whilst learning the ropes for a discounted rate which can be arranged by Kate.
You can also take a wild food taster walks with local gourmets Fat Hen, foraging for your own dinner.
Rainy days are the prefect opportunity to light a fire, get cozy and snuggle up for the day. There are tons of books to read in the cabin as well as games like chess and backgammon for if you're feeling competitive. There is a TV and DVD player and you will have access to the local video library via Kate's code as well as unlimited downloads if you wish to watch a film on your laptop.
This would be the perfect time to order a private Yoga session with Leif Olson, or even a massage (ask Kate to arrange).
If you do wish to go out you can visit The Tate in St Ives. Take the Cost road from St Just, One of the beautiful drives in Europe where you can stop off at The Tinners in Zennor for a pint on your way home. In Zennor you can also visit the Wayside Museum there as well as finding the carvings of the mermaid at the beautiful church.
St Just has a lovely dog friendly book-shop-café, The Cook Book where you can while away some rainy time.
Penzance has plenty of art galleries, museums, shops and cafés as well as Merlin Cinema for a rainy day matinee.
Meet your hosts
Kate moved to Cornwall in 2003 from London with the intention of writing a book, but, finding herself homeless, she ended up building this cabin instead. With no experience and having made a snap decision, it was a brave move. But eventually her creation evolved into a very quirky, original and beautiful space, perfect for writers or artists, fulfilling its original purpose as a working retreat. The library of inspirational books, a worn chesterfield, a real fire for cool evenings and stunning views over the moors and sea make Balleswidden Cabin a great place for inspiration and reflection, for non-writers-and-artists too.
It's a place that is very dear to her heart, and Kate says, "The cabin floats over a sea of bracken almost like a ship becalmed on a green ocean. It's also perfect for lovers - I don't know what that says about me!" She loves to share it with guests and will always leave a treat of some kind to welcome you.
The chickens will make their way down to you most days in search of treats. (They love spaghetti or rice best.)
Wildlife & Environment
There is plenty of local wildlife to spot. A pair of breeding buzzards nest on the land, and they and their offspring can be seen most days hunting over the cabin, sometimes flying low enough to touch. The land is sensitively managed and has been left untouched since Balleswidden Mine closed in 1875. Its owners are careful not to over-cultivate, making it a haven for local wildlife: there are slow worms, lizards, weasels and peregrine falcons, and in the summer, the many wildflowers attract hundreds of butterflies. The wood inside the cabin is mostly salvaged from the old house and the wooden floorboards were swept up onto the beach from a local shipwreck.