10 Unusual Landmarks

Original holidays for everyone

While each and every one of our 198 Landmarks is unique in its own way, some are particularly unusual. From a regal water tower to a plush pigsty, we've handpicked ten extraordinary buildings.

1. Appleton Water Tower

Sleep with the (now-empty) 32,000-gallon water tank over your head that once provided the Royal family with clean water at their Sandringham estate. A marriage of practicality and pleasure, the second floor of the tower was fitted out as a viewing room for the royal family and their guests to use on shooting parties or picnics. From the terrace on top of the tank, protected by an ornate cast-iron railing, and from the room below, there is a view on all sides over miles of wide, open landscape.

 

2. Egyptian House

The Egyptian House in Penzance has what is surely the most striking façade of any Landmark. Built in 1835, it was originally a museum and geological repository, most likely selling the wide variety of stones and pebbles which are still to be found on the beaches around Penzance. Its eyecatching style had come into fashion after Napoleon's campaign in Egypt in 1798.

 

3. Danescombe Mine

This Landmark was formerly the engine house of a copper and arsenic mine, which worked on and off throughout the 19th century. After a courageous restoration and conversion in the 1970s, it now provides guests with comfortable accommodation in an idyllic setting – beside a stream in a quiet, wooded Cornish valley.

 

4. Tangy Mill

This early 19th-century watermill is set on the bank of a fast flowing burn near the beautiful west coast of the Mull of Kintyre. When we bought the mill, the dressing, drying, hoisting and grinding machinery, along with the stones and shutes and the backshot wheel, were remarkably still there. We retained and incorporated all of this into our restoration, and today, guests live and sleep amongst these amazing tokens of the building's history and origins.

 

5. The Pineapple

The Pineapple is probably our most iconic and widely-recognised Landmark, and it’s not hard to see why. The ‘dome’ of this 18th-century summer house is in the shape of a gigantic pineapple, an addition made by its owner Lord Dunmore, who, in 1777, was forcibly recalled from serving as Governor of Virginia. There, sailors would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce their return home. Lord Dunmore, who was fond of a joke, announced his return more prominently.

 

6. Prospect Tower

One for cricket fans, this tower offers a fine prospect of the cricket pitch on whose boundary it stands. Built originally as a ‘whim’ for General, later Lord, Harris of Seringapatam in about 1808, it was later owned by the 4th Lord Harris – hailed as one of the fathers of modern cricket – who created the pitch there in about 1870 and commandeered this tower as a changing room: hooks for the gear still decorate the walls today. 

 

7. Swarkestone Pavilion

This 17th-century pavilion – miniature yet grand – stands in front of a large enclosure, the use of which has long been cause for speculation. Suggestions range from the romantic (jousting) and the rough (bear-baiting) to the more prosaic (bowls).  More recently, in 1968, it was also used as the location of an iconic Rolling Stones photo shoot!

 

8. The Pigsty

Don't let its pretentions to grandeur fool you... this building was really once a pigsty! It housed the pigs of one Squire Barry of Fyling Hall, who had it built around the late-19th/early-20th century. With the small addition of some comfortable furniture and basic amenities, we hope that we have made it acceptable to a higher breed of inhabitant; and although the living quarters will never be palatial, the view over the hills and towards the sea at Robin Hood’s Bay from under the pediment is undoubtedly fit for an Empress.

 

9. Alton Station

Though trains haven't stopped here since 1965, Alton Station remains much the same as it would have been during the heyday of steam power and railway travel. Rather than merely passing through the station, today's visitors can enjoy a holiday there, and explore the now-decommissioned Churnet Valley line by foot or bicycle. 

 

10. House of Correction

The commanding neoclassical facade of the House of Correction was sure to strike fear and contrition into the heart of any convict. Built in 1825, this former prison now accommodates holiday guests rather than inmates. It is considerably more comfortable inside than it once was, but its grand exterior survives as a reminder of its past.