Moving to Cornwall

An overview of Cornwall

The southwestern peninsula once legendarily ruled by King Arthur has a unique cultural identity, as the only one of the six Celtic territories to exist within England.

Its lack of diverse demographics – Cornwall is 98.2% white, according to the 2011 census – stands in stark contrast with its stunning variety of natural wonders.

Tourism is one of the area’s main economic drivers, along with agriculture and food production, and you can see why. England’s fourth-most populous district is blessed with hundreds of gorgeous beaches that are perfect for relaxing, surfing, and sailing.

And that’s without even mentioning that 12 separate locations (370 square miles that make up 27% of Cornwall) are designated as a single Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walking those areas with a homemade pasty and some Cornish mead – that’s heaven.

Kynance cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove is a beautiful Cornish beach with archaeological importance

The cost of moving to Cornwall

As with any relocation, the cost of moving to Cornwall will depend on where you’re moving from, and how much stuff you’re bringing with you.

If you’re planning to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of belongings) from London to Cornwall, you should expect to pay £1,391, on average.

This includes:

  • loading and unloading
  • packing services and materials
  • dismantling and reassembling furniture
  • the fee for distance travelled

The drive from London to Cornwall is about 260 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile (source: comparemymove, 2020).

The amount you’ll end up paying will also differ depending on your moving date, the removal company you pick, and whether you need any additional services.

Cost of living in Cornwall

The cost of living varies across Cornwall’s more than 1,300 square miles, but generally stays around the UK average, or even below.

Tourists can pay through the nose while visiting the area, but if you’re moving to Cornwall – especially from a big city – you should be in for a pleasant surprise when you receive your bills.

This is roughly how much you can expect to pay for different goods and services in Truro, Cornwall’s only city (source: Numbeo, 2020).

ItemAverage price
Pint of beer£3.25
Regular cappuccino£2.55
Mid-range bottle of wine£5.50
Monthly public transport pass£75
Cinema ticket for one£8
Monthly gym subscription£27.50
1kg of local cheese£7.67

Property prices

House prices in Cornwall are more than reasonable.

The median house price in Cornwall is £225,000 – considerably lower than the average across England and Wales, which stands at £271,000 (source: Office for National Statistics, 2020).

The district’s house price-to-earnings ratio is 8.69, which places Cornwall 146th out of 339 local authorities in England and Wales – slightly above average, but not by much.

House prices in Cornwall have risen by 2.75% over the past 12 months, showing the area is growing steadily in popularity (source: Zoopla, 2020).

If you want to buy a terrace house in Cornwall, the average price is £224,532. The average cost of a flat is even lower, at £211,827.

If you want to rent a home in Cornwall, you can expect to pay £791 per month, on average – a little higher than the national average of £700 (sources: Cornwall Live and Office for National Statistics, both 2019).

Council tax

The council tax bands in Cornwall for 2020/21 range from £1,295.51 (A) to £3,886.52 per year (H), depending on the type and location of your property. There is also a reduced rate available if you or someone who lives with you is disabled.

Electricity bills

Just like house prices, you can expect your electricity bills in Cornwall to be similar to the UK average.

The average fixed cost of electricity in the South West is £83.91 per year, which is just £2.83 more than the UK average of £81.08.

And the average variable unit price of electricity in the South West is 16.4p per kWh, which is 0.2p lower than the UK average of 16.6p (source: NimbleFins, 2020).

Porth Joke is just one of Cornwall’s many glorious beaches

Public transport in Cornwall

Cornwall is the second-biggest English district, and comes 267th out of 317 for population density. Its population is spread far and wide, across dozens of towns, villages, and one city (Truro), making it difficult for public transport to easily serve all citizens.

Despite this however, trains, buses, and 14 ferry routes serve Cornwall diligently.

Bus routes criss-cross the entire area, typically running from 10am to 7pm, though you should always check your local routes. You can buy unlimited bus travel within a Cornish town for £45 per month.

Trains connect all the major population centres in Cornwall, from Penzance in the west to just over the Devon border in Plymouth. In fact, that 2.5-hour journey only costs around £10 – and it comes with consistently stunning views.

Find out more information about public transport services on Cornwall’s local government site.

Working in Cornwall

The major industries in Cornwall are agriculture, food production, and tourism, usually in that order.

The unemployment rate is low – it was 3.2% from July 2019 to June 2020, which was considerably less than the UK’s rate of 4.4%.

Cornwall is one of the poorest regions in the country, but it does hold a great deal of potential, and is home to 30 companies with a turnover of £10 million or higher.

The biggest employers in the region are Corserv Limited, St Austell Brewery, Helston Garages, Imerys Minerals, and department store Trago Mills.

Average salary in Cornwall

The average salary in Cornwall is £25,894, according to government statistics. This is below the UK national average, which stood at £30,800 in 2020.

The best neighbourhoods in Cornwall

Cornwall is blessed with stunning natural surroundings, any number of beach and sea-related activities, and more friendly communities than you can throw a pasty at.

Here are three of our favourite Cornwall areas.

Porthleven

A beautiful home by the sea for anyone

Average property price: £281,847

Porthleven is a picturesque beachside town with just a few thousand people, but plenty to do.

It’s one of the best seaside locations in the whole of the UK, according to The Sunday Times, and it’s on the rise. Take up surfing, enjoy the view over Mount’s Bay, then stop in for a drink at the atmospheric Ship Inn or sustainable Origin Coffee Roasters.

And if you’re looking for food, grab a local delicacy at Ann’s Pasties, or – even better – visit Mussel Shoal in the harbour to enjoy delicious moules-frites on a pontoon.

Falmouth

The perfect place for young professionals

Average property price: £368,288

Welcome to arty Falmouth, with its student-fuelled buzz and more than enough to fill your weekends.

Visit one of the town’s four lovely beaches and try paddleboarding, kayaking, or yoga on the sand, then head to the Falmouth Art Gallery or National Maritime Museum before relaxing with a pint and good read at the combination pub and bookshop, Beerwolf.

Falmouth is also home to one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions, Pendennis Castle. It was built by Henry VIII to protect against invasion; now it’s simply a great place to visit.

And if you end up settling down in Falmouth, good news: it’s home to Falmouth School, which is one of the best schools in Cornwall.

Mousehole

A wonderful village for families

Average property price: £361,904

Families will love it in Mousehole (pronounced ‘mao-zuhl’), not least because of the top-notch community spirit.

This adorable village of around 700 people offers plenty of lovely cafes, the wonderfully named and delicious Hole Foods, and excellent exhibitions at The Little Picture Gallery.

And where else can you celebrate Tom Bawcock’s Eve? Every year on December 23rd, residents honour the Mousehole fisherman who – according to the legend – took to the sea during a storm to catch enough fish to save the town from famine.

The story goes that the townspeople baked Bawcock’s entire catch – including seven types of fish – into a massive pie with eggs and potatoes. It was named stargazy pie, as the fish’s heads were staring towards the heavens.

Things to do in Cornwall

Water sports

Cornwall has fostered an exciting water sports culture across its 300 beaches.

You can go sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or just swimming, with or without instruction – but surfing is the one true Cornish love.

If you’ve ever wanted to try the sport, Cornwall is the place for you – and for those who are looking to test themselves against the best waves around, this is the perfect place too.

If you love to feel the adrenaline pumping through you, you may also want to try jumping, swimming, and scrabbling your way through a coasteering adventure. It’s a thrill.

Hiking

We know you can walk anywhere, but Cornwall is special.

Pick a path and end up gazing at castles, lush rolling fields, beautiful and mysterious forests, or cliff edges and the vast ocean beyond. You can also cycle many of the trails, if that’s more your style.

If you have children with you, check out the gorgeous, dramatic views of St Ives Bay and the lighthouse on Godrevy Island on offer during the short, half-mile South West Coast Path at Godrevy Head.

The time will fly by – particularly if you go in spring, when the wildflowers are blooming.

Visit a brewery or distillery

If you enjoy a tipple, Cornwall is overflowing with options, from mead and gin to ale and cider.

Pay a visit to the welcoming breweries created by St Austell, Skinner’s, and Padstow, Tarquin’s fascinating Cornish Gin distillery, and Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm.

And if you want to see alcohol produced in beautiful surroundings, spend an afternoon at Camel Valley Vineyard or Polgoon Vineyard.