Smugglers, Pirates and Pampering in Penzance

So as apart of my recent holiday to beautiful Cornwall, I visited Penzance for the first time. The highlight for me was the historic Chapel Street, which is still reminiscent of the 17th and 18th Centuries, with interesting buildings and some quirky, independent shops to explore.

Having done a bit of research into the area we couldn’t resist checking out (and enjoying some local ale) in the famous Admiral Benbow Pub. It definitely competes for the title of the most colourful building on the street. Named after the 17th century Admiral John Benbow (born 1653-died 1702) he was an English officer in the Royal Navy.

The pub has a statue of a smuggler lying astride the roof, musket in hand. The pub was converted from cottages, which explains the low ceilings and small paned windows. Inside there is a very unique nautical feel. The decorations in the pub are genuine maritime artifacts that have been salvaged from various shipwrecked vessels along the Cornish coast over the past 400 years. The collection of treasures and fixtures and fittings in the Admiral Benbow are fascinating and they are cleverly built into the interior design of the building, such as the Captain’s Cabin restaurant with its fine woodwork from a Portuguese Man O’ War.

The pub is also famed for being in the opening scene of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, were Jim Hawkins meets the likes of Blind Pew and Black Dog and discovers the existence of Captain Flint’s treasure map. Stevenson chose the name because it reeks of maritime legend. Admiral Benbow was a real man, a fighting sailor, with a quite extraordinary story. For more infornation – John Benbow

Chapel Street is also home to the Turks Head, reputedly the oldest pub in the town. It is the same place that pirates and smugglers once used 750 years ago. It is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall. An underground tunnel leading from the harbour was used to secretly transport the bounty just before their evenings rest at the Public Bar. This can still be seen from the courtyard. At the rear of the building there is also a cell for locking up drunks and undesirables! The Turks Head is reputed to date from 1233 when, during the crusades, the Turks invaded Penzance, from Jerusalem. We didn’t call into the Turks Head, buy I couldn’t resist a quick photo of the brilliant pub sign. Having found out a little more of the history, we will call in when we next visit Penzance.


At the top end of Chapel Street is one of the major landmarks of Penzance- The Egyptian House. This was built in 1836 by John Lavin, a Penzance mineralogist, to house a geological museum. On the outside, there are fascinating hieroglyphics and you can see Royal Arms from the periods of George III, IV and William IV. Today the Egyptian House is owned by the Landmark Trust. A vey unique and amazing building that definitely stands out.


However, one of the highlights for me is the shop housed on the ground floor of the Egyptian House – Pure Nuff Stuff!

As you know if you follow my blog, I do like to pamper myself with nice baths and other nice self care treats. This shop was a a pamper heavan for me. So yes, I went a bit mad in the shop and filled my basket to capacity and then some. Ooooooooo look at my nice things!


The products are free from all the nasties – paraben, SLS etc and not tested on animals. Made from natural, botanical ingredients and they list all ingredients on items and go into detail on their website. I have only used the rose bath bomb so far but it was devine. It smelt wonderful and made a lovely bath. My skin felt great afterwards. In addition to the lovely little shop, next door is the workshop. You can look through the window and see where the products are made. This was very reassuring to see.

For more information –

And yes, fellow Bloggers they have an online shop, so you too can treat yourself!  I will definitely be going back there during future visits to Cornwall.

What quirky places have you visited recently? Have you ever hung out in a pub frequented by smugglers and pirates? Would you be tempted to grab yourself some pamper treats at Pure Nuff Stuff? 


8 thoughts on “Smugglers, Pirates and Pampering in Penzance

  1. Those pubs look fascinating.I love pubs which are full of interesting artefacts…and nautical ones…..all the better. will get to Cornwall oneday! There is a holiday park there called Spring Park with accomodation in show mans vans and train carriages.I would love to stay there.

    Liked by 1 person

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