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Cornwall’s answer to St Tropez: Tiny St Mawes sees house prices soar

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Tucked away on the South-West Cornish coast, St Mawes has long had its admirers. 

It’s the home of a trio of high-end hotels and has been voted one of the UK’s hippest communities by website TravelSupermarket.

Former F1 team owner Frank Williams has a home there and the place is a favourite of royalty and politicians.

Hotspot: The average house in St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula is £994,000

Hotspot: The average house in St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula is £994,000

If that’s not enough, this tiny community of 800 people is now Britain’s property hotspot where house prices have soared an eye-watering 48 per cent in a year, according to the Halifax index.

This makes it one of the UK’s most expensive areas, alongside the likes of Sandbanks in Dorset and the second-home haven of Salcombe in Devon.

Not hard to see why. First, it’s in a beautiful stretch of Cornwall on the Roseland Peninsula, separated from much of the rest of the county by the River Fal.

The rolling countryside, sheltered coves and pretty beaches are a sharp contrast to the craggy coastline of North Cornwall.

And, as it’s a hefty six-hour drive from London or the Midlands, it exudes a sense of isolation and peace.

St Mawes is on the Roseland Peninsula, separated from the rest of the county by the River Fal

St Mawes is on the Roseland Peninsula, separated from the rest of the county by the River Fal

Second, the village itself is understated and charming. The 19-room Idle Rocks hotel, owned by another ex-F1 team owner — David Richards and his wife Karen — is an elegant seafront building.

Stroll up the hill — past the vintage Shell petrol pumps that have been preserved outside a former garage, and past the St Mawes Hotel, also owned by the Richards — and you reach the pristine whitewashed Hotel Tresanton. 

This is run by Olga Polizzi, daughter of catering tycoon Lord Forte; it’s a favourite of Prince Charles and Tony Blair.

Then there are St Mawes’s houses. They are not cheap, with an average price of £994,000 according to Zoopla.

It’s not only the picture-postcard location that makes them valuable: they also tend to be much larger than those found in most Cornish ports. 

Instead of converted fishermen’s cottages, you will find a mix of old and new houses, often detached on large plots. 

But the most striking thing in St Mawes is that it has little of the tourist frenzy found in Cornwall’s honeypots such as St Ives, Padstow, Newquay or Truro.

Instead, it’s generally quiet with a few tourist galleries, a butcher’s shop and a Co-op. And there’s a real upmarket Continental vibe.

‘Since the first lockdown there’s been a trend of second homeowners moving down, often permanently.

‘There are actually fewer holiday homes here than a year ago, many who own them now stay here full-time, or at least most of the time,’ says Mark Wilson, director of estate agency H. Tiddy, which has a 50 per cent market share of sales in the village.

He says that across the Roseland Peninsula he’s sold about £40 million of homes this year alone.

But not everyone is happy. There are campaigns across Cornwall to limit the number of second homes and cut back on Airbnb short-lets to reserve the maximum number of homes for local people.

'St Mawes in the summer is like the South of France,' according to one local

‘St Mawes in the summer is like the South of France,’ according to one local 

Peter Green, one of the fishermen in the recent BBC Two series This Fishing Life, says of his hometown: ‘St Mawes in the summer is like the South of France. 

Come here in winter and see the contrast, see the empty houses, see the dark roads where there are no lights on anywhere.’

Meanwhile, some staff working in the village’s pubs and restaurants complain that they have to live in Falmouth (a 40-minute scooter ride away) to find affordable homes to rent.

So will the end of the maximum stamp duty holiday and the relaxing of Covid restrictions change the picture?

‘I’m contacted by potential buyers every day, undeterred by the end of the main duty holiday and wanting to work from here rather than London,’ says Mark Wilson. St Mawes, it appears, for good or for bad, is firmly on the map. 

On the market… Pricey pickings 

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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What you need to know about having a home swimming pool

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This summer, it’s not just sales of rosé wine and ice cream that have rocketed during the heatwave. Interest in swimming pools has also surged.

‘This sweltering summer has undoubtedly inspired people to install swimming pools,’ says Sallie Leslie-Golding of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA). 

‘There are now 270,000 in-ground pools in the UK, with about 65 per cent of them in the southern half of the country.’

There is something incredibly glamorous about a Hockney-blue pool. But how does the reality match up to the imagery?

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

‘It’s been wonderful to be able to take a swim at the end of a long day,’ says Felicity Cooper, 55, who in 2006 installed a 12m x 6m pool outside her country house in Potterne, near Devizes, Wiltshire. 

‘It has also been great for the children, Lily and Ryan, who learnt to swim here.’

Felicity stresses the importance of finding the right setting for a new pool. 

She ensured hers was west-facing to catch the evening sun; then she went to the trouble of digging out a mini-amphitheatre so that the displaced earth formed a windbreak around the pool itself.

‘The pool is the optimum distance from the house, being not so near that it detracts from the garden and not so far away that anyone in trouble would not be heard by those inside.

‘It is far from trees so few leaves blow into the water and, with the children in mind, it has a top quality safety cover. Felicity’s six-bedroom Jacobean stone house standing in 1.7 acres is for sale for £1.95 million.

Opinions vary as to whether an outdoor pool helps or hinders a house sale. Some think that the hassle of maintenance may be off-putting to buyers. However, the property buying agent, Jonathan Harington, disagrees.

‘I have had many clients come to me with a pool on their wishlist of luxuries,’ he says. ‘But I have never had anyone say they wouldn’t buy a house because of the pool. If they felt strongly they could easily fill it in anyway.’

Yet owning a swimming pool is an expensive hobby. An above-ground pool — like a giant paddling pool — costs from £1,500 to £15,000. These pools may not quite cut it in terms of glamour, but their lower water capacity means maintenance costs are more reasonable.

For those looking at a more substantial in-ground pool, one with a liner finish of PVC will cost about £75,000. A concrete pool, finished with mosaic tiles, marbled plaster or paint will be about £125,000.

Larger projects can easily cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

You may opt for an infinity pool — a pool designed with an edge that gives the illusion that the water is overflowing. 

Those who want to improve their fitness may have a counter current device installed; the equivalent of swimming on a treadmill.

Many pool owners are interested in sustainability and heating the pool with solar panels is popular, as are covers that help heat retention.

Maintaining an outdoor swimming pool is expensive. The cost of heating and chemicals has increased so buyers should budget for at least £8 to £10 a day, dependent on the weather, according to SPATA.

Anyone fancying a workout in their own home may be interested in Ivy Cottage, Grendon, Northamptonshire.

Outside, the four-bedroom cottage is a 10m x 5m pool neatly positioned in the north-west corner to catch the sun.

‘After swimming in the pool, you could go running, riding or cycling on the countless trails nearby,’ says Ian Denton, of Jackson Stops. ‘It’s a lifestyle amenity in your own garden.’ Ivy Cottage is for sale for £825,000.

On the market… splash out 

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Radisson launches new resort in Greece

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Radisson Hotel Group has launched its latest Greek resort in Skiathos. Skiathos, the westernmost of the Sporades islands, is known for its stunning coastline of more than 60 beaches with soft sand and clear blue waters, as well as sea caves, impressive rock formations, and hiking trails on the tree-covered hills along the north shore made famous as the location for the filming of Mamma Mia. The island’s Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian-style Bourtzi fortress, and Papadiamantis House with its typical architecture are important parts of the island’s rich history.

 

The resort’s 84 rooms and suites are decorated in a modern, minimalist style, and most of them offer views of the hotel pool or the sea. Private balconies or terraces are available in select rooms, and the resort’s biggest suites feature private whirlpools for ultimate privacy and relaxation. The resort is ideally suited for weddings with its own on-site orthodox chapel and versatile outdoor pool area that offers receptions with stunning views. The main all-day dining restaurant celebrates Greek and Mediterranean flavors on its lunch and dinner menus. The poolside bar offers breakfast treats and late-night snacks as well as a wide selection of drinks and an extensive wine list. For guests looking to keep up their fitness routine, a well-equipped gym is available.

 

“We are excited to offer our guests a fantastic resort experience on the beautiful island of Skiathos, as we continue to expand our Greek resort portfolio. Radisson Resort Plaza Skiathos allows guests to switch off and relax surrounded by stunning natural beauty,” said Yilmaz Yildirimlar, Area Senior Vice President at Radisson Hotel Group.

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