Cornwall was ‘staycation central’ this summer, boosting property sales in the process, and enjoying more than a little stardust.
This year alone, chef and restaurateur Rick Stein has had a BBC series on the county while Julia Bradbury has completed walks along the coastal path.
Thriving: The village of Porthleven on the Lizard peninsula
‘Crossing the Tamar for our holidays to Cornwall from Devon was like going into another country…we were driving through an enchanted land.
Now, after so many years of living here, it still does feel different,’ says Rick Stein, who has more than ten restaurants and cafes, six of which are in Cornwall.
Unsurprisingly, estate agents report a surge in holiday home purchases this year, despite the occasional protest from local residents.
Second homes account for a third of homes in Fowey and a quarter in Mevagissey, but in most other coastal areas about one-in-ten are holiday properties.
There are plenty of reasons to hit Cornwall, and the country’s culinary heritage often tops the list. Here are five locations where food and beautiful homes meet to serve up the essence of Cornwall.
It’s got a lower profile than Padstow, but many believe this gorgeous fishing village on the Lizard peninsula is the next foodie hotspot.
Celebrity chef Michael Caines is setting up a restaurant and his aim will be to rival Kota, a spectacular local spot which won a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2019.
Average house prices here are £300,200 — also up 17 per cent in five years, but waterside homes cost much more.
The most sought-after properties look at the inner and outer harbour and Loe Pool, Cornwall’s largest natural lake.
‘In normal years Porthleven has a hugely popular annual food festival and the harbourside is about to be redeveloped, which will no doubt send property prices even higher,’ says Clare Coode, a buying agent for Stacks Property Search.
Just south-west of Cornwall’s city lies the farm that produces Yarg, the nettle -wrapped crumbly cheese that’s sold world-over.
The cheese was created in the 1980s and marked the start of the artisan food renaissance, although few people worked out that its title was the name of the creator, Gray, spelt backwards.
Cornwall’s city: Truro commands some of the highest property prices in Cornwall – and is also the home of a world-famous cheese, Yarg, which kick-started the artisan food renaissance
Truro itself has long been one of the highest-value locations in the county with an average price of £397,250, according to Zoopla, up 17 per cent since 2016.
The city is pocket-sized with only 20,000 residents and plenty of green space.
‘It’s always attractive to buyers moving to Cornwall as it offers a central location no more than ten to 15 minutes from the south or north coast,’ says Duncan Ley, of Humberts estate agency.
BODMIN ON A BUDGET
Few can agree on where to find the best Cornish pasty, but everyone agrees it rose to fame as a meal for tin miners in the 19th century. Tin mines were littered across the county, but many were in an area bordered by Bodmin, Wadebridge, Callington and St Austell.
In this central and north belt of predominantly inland Cornwall average house prices vary from £250,000 to £425,000 — areas closer to the fashionable northern coast and near to Newquay airport are the most expensive.
PADSTOW AND ROCK
Fal oysters come from the south coast of Cornwall, but on the north coast the Porthilly Rock oyster loves the clear waters of the Camel Estuary — and it’s the official oyster at seafood events around the UK, including London Oyster Week.
Tasty: Fal oysters come from the south coast of Cornwall, but on the north coast the Porthilly Rock oyster loves the clear waters of the Camel Estuary
‘The prospect of more UK holidays and staycations has focused the attention on this part of Cornwall. Demand pre-Covid was high, but now we have the St Tropez and Ibiza crowd looking for properties too,’ says Josephine Ashby of John Bray estate agency in Rock.
This part of Cornwall is eye-wateringly expensive — £1.2million on average for Rock and £620,000 for Padstow.
GOOD VALUE NEWLYN
This is England’s busiest fishing port, just a mile from Penzance; with artisan cafes, art galleries and a cinema, yet its property market is good value — just £280,700 on average. Older granite houses enjoying sea views go for £500,000 and above.
And Mousehole, the charming fishing village, is just three miles from Newlyn. Fish is plentiful in local restaurants, but that’s not the only foodie tradition.
‘Some people argue there’s only one season to live in Newlyn — Jelbert’s ice cream, made by the family of Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover.
People drive for miles for its vanilla ice cream, topped with clotted cream,’ says Stacks’ Clare Coode.