A jail cell air bnb in Margate is offering guests a unique chance to ‘escape.’
Penny Rope prison-themed bed chamber is built in a former cold store of a Grade II-listed Georgian property in Caroline Square.
Visitors sleep in bunk beds, there are bars on the window and a lock and key. Guests get their tea and coffee in tin mugs and even the coat hangers are marked ‘useless!’
But it is not quite as austere as it sounds. The bunks have cotton linen, duvets and hot water bottles, there is wi-fi, a shower and toilet in an outbuilding in the private walled garden and barbecue facilities.
The ingenious ‘niche’ accommodation was created by carpenter Polly High and creative partner, plumber and mechanical toymaker Clare Pattinson, and gets its name from the Victorian ‘two penny hangover’ from a London homeless shelter. A rope was placed in front of a bench and the client was allowed to sleep when he leaned on (or hung over) the rope during the night.
Polly bought the house in 2010 and the pair renovated it themselves, doing all the work apart from the electrics, and in 2015 spent four months creating the cell.
The quirky accommodation is now being let for its fourth season, and every Summer there is a new twist to the prison experience.
Last year guests took part in a game of Cluedo with guests being eliminated at an alarming rate, there has been the launch of Roper prison outfits, opportunities for a ‘Cellfie’ complete with prison number and the tales of prisoners and parolees are regularly shared on the facebook page.
This year prisoners can snap up unique Cereal Offenders breakfast boxes – with the chance of finding a hacksaw blade for their breakout which also gives them a free night behind bars.
Polly said: “It’s all very tongue in cheek and a bit of fun. I designed the Cereal Offenders boxes and have handmade 40 of them, drawing, scanning, cutting out between the bars and putting the photo in. It’s taken hours! There are four varieties and one of the boxes has a hacksaw, based on when the ‘molls’ would bake a cake with a hacksaw inside.
“Whoever gets the box with the hacksaw gets a free night in Penny Rope.”
The ‘limited edition’ boxes are £5 each and also serve as a souvenir of the guest’s time in the nick.
Getting banged up
Penny Rope is at The Booth, 12 Caroline Square, Margate. Accommodation is from £75 per night.
More than two guests?
If Penny Rope has tickled your fancy but a room for two is just not big enough then The Booth also has a Bunks & Burner chemistry-lab themed room which can take an extra bed.
Feeling pious? The Habit is the latest project. It will be a monk themed cell, austere and possibly with a bed of nails!
Find out how to book
Penny Rope and Bunks & Burners is let through Air b&b or direct through The Booth website