Is This Storybook Shrine the U.K.’s Strangest Vacation Rental?
If spending your vacation in a gingerbread-esque vacation rental sounds like your type of thing, you’re going to love ‘A House for Essex’. The rentable structure—designed by artist Grayson Perry and London-based architects FAT—features a golden roof, ornate spires, and Perry’s hand-designed tiles. But the truly over-the-top aspect of this building comes from the fictional characters the artist created to mold the home.
Perry—an artist known for taking on socially controversial projects—designed the structure with two people in mind: the fictional couple of Julie Cope and her husband Rob. Rob promised Julie he would build her the “Essex Taj Mahal” after Julie saw and fell in love with the Taj Mahal after a trip to India (the result being “A House for Essex”). As Perry’s elaborate story goes, her untimely death in a car accident involving a takeaway driver motivated Rob to fulfill his promise. The Daily Mail has a great recap of the fictional plot in its entirety.
The home itself features details that tell Julie and Rob’s story—a motorbike representing Julie’s accident on the ceiling of the living area, a her tombstone placed in front of the plot, a skull mosaic greeting guests at the front door, tapestries depicting her entire life from birth to marriage to death; the details go on. Want to see if for yourself? Four-night reservations for the Essex Taj Mahal are currently going for around $857.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.