“ Prideaux Road, Luxulyan Valley (Nr. St Blazey Cornwall), PL24 2SR, England, Tel: 01726 814488 „
I had been wanting to visit the Eden Project for a number of years but from where we live it is a bit of a hike, certainly not a day trip by any stretch of the imagination. The occasion when the journey could be justified came when I was considering what to choose as a present to my beloved for our Wedding Anniversary.
In recent years we have been presenting each other with events rather than things. To be honest we both find it difficult to think of things that we actually want, or at least anything that would fall within the budget of anyone less than a millionaire! We tend to pick a few of the trustworthy staples (books, CDs...) but then surprise each other with an event that could not have been guessed. Last year my wife arranged us the trip of a lifetime: Genesis Live at the Parc des Prince, Paris. Beat that!
So, Eden Project it would be and, to make it doubly a celebration, it would be combined with a memorable meal at Rick Stein's world-famous Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. No way that could be accomplished in a day so accommodation would be essential and for two nights. But where? A Google search on Eden Project Accommodation brought a website that listed, amongst others, Nanscawen Manor House. The pictures on the brief information panel looked superb so I followed its link to the website.
Nanscawen Manor couldn't really be called a B&B since that definition doesn't do it justice. With only three guest rooms it would be hard to call it a hotel. Calling it a guest house doesn't give the right impression either. Let's just say that it's private accommodation for the discriminating guest!
Nanscawen Manor is located on the outskirts of St Balzey, about a mile or so from the gates of the Eden Project. Finding it is a bit of a challenge, even if you have SatNav. Prideaux Road, coming from the East, is left off of the A390 on a bend opposite a Jet petrol station. The road sign also says New Road.
The road is narrow and climbs steeply in places. You keep wondering how much further you have to go and whether you will reach the top of the highest hill in Cornwall first! Be patient. Ignore a turning on the right signposted Luxulyan Valley. Although this is part of the address, it isn't down here. Just travel on another couple of hundred metres and finally you will see a sign on the right that indicates that you have nearly reached your destination.
I say nearly because the final challenge is a drive up a very steep and narrow driveway, with overhanging branches that may brush the roofs of taller vehicles. Get to the top after a hundred metres or so and you have a choice. A sign points to Parking and Stables but if you have a lot of luggage you may want to take the left branch instead and drop your bags off at the door.
Nanscawen Manor is a very old house. It's original extent was constructed in the 14th century but the whole property was extensively remodelled in the 18th century, with further "modernisations" in recent times. The immediate impression is of a house that has been the home for people of substance in times gone by. The hall is large and leads through and wide, open archway into an even larger lounge. A large fireplace with a roaring fire greeted us as, even though this was August, the weather was far from summery.
Off of the lounge is a modern conservatory that serves as the breakfast room. The views here are not imposing due to the enclosing trees and bushes. However, it was nice to be able to enjoy a light and airy start to each day nevertheless.
Our stay was in one of the three suites available for guest, the Prideaux Suite. These suites are of varying sizes. Ours consisted of a bedroom and an en suite bathroom which, itself was pretty much as big as the bedroom! The door to the bedroom is so low (even my wife needed to duck!) that a tassel is nailed to the top of the door frame to remind you so that you don't bump your head! The bed is a four-poster but only in that it has four corner posts. It has no canopy due to the ceiling light fixing hanging too low for one to be used. Shame really, it would have added to the effect. The bed, however, was very comfortable and we got a good night's sleep.
The bedroom has enough room for a small dressing table to one side of the bed but the light overlooking it clearly had a dodgy connection because it kept going off and on on its own! The wardrobes were on the other side of the bed and, although access is a little cramped it has adequate hanging space for the clothes required for a reasonable stay. There is, in addition, a lot of drawer space.
The bedroom has a TV mounted in the corner on a wall-mounted bracket. Although a flat-screen LCD TV and with a wide screen and also a built-in DVD player, it appeared only to have an analogue tuner as only the standard analogue terrestrial channels were available and then not even Channel 5.
The bathroom is, as I said, large. Not only does it contain a spa bath but also a separate shower cabinet with an electric shower unit, toilet and wash basin. The toilet betrays the age of the house. Clearly when converting the accommodation to provide guest rooms, it was found that to provide adequate plumbing was a challenge. I assume that there wasn't enough space to install full bore 4" toilet waste pipes so instead one of those devices that mashes up what gets flushed down the loo was installed, so that it would pass down normal 1 1/4" waste pipes. It is activated automatically when you flush the loo. The noise is quite alarming but fortunately doesn't run on for too long.
Breakfast is included in the price of your stay and a full menu is provided. You can start with cereals and fruit, continue with a full English of scrambled egg with either smoked salmon or mushrooms and finish with toast or croissants with various preserves. Tea and coffee is available as well.
If you are staying at Nanscawen Manor in more acceptable weather then you can also make use of the outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. This is hidden away at the back of the house and, with superb views over the surrounding countryside, could provide a very agreeable way of passing your time. We, of course, passed on this during our stay.
The owner, Keith, makes you feel very welcome in his home and certainly you should find this accommodation very acceptable if you are in the area and need somewhere to stay. The guest book had many complementary comments from guests from all over the place although we did spot one very pompous comment from one who obviously had much higher expectations. If he was expecting Raffles then perhaps he should have gone to Singapore instead!
Our room cost us £96 per night and in my view this was good value for money for what was provided, especially in view of the convenience of access from there to the Eden Project. We would have no qualms about returning and maybe trying one of the other rooms next time. As our entry ticket to the Eden Project gives us free access for one year from the original visit, I feel a return in the Spring next year may be on the cards.
Let's hope the weather has improved by then.
Nanscawen Manor House offers you the unique opportunity to stay in an exclusive luxurious establishment. The Manor House dates from the 14th century and has an interesting history.