Moving to Cornwall
For most people considering moving to Cornwall, it will be a complete change of pace to a quieter life. The far reaches of England’s most south-westerly county are a long way from London, let alone the country’s other major cities, so a move here may often be away from family and friends as well. There’s a lot to discover and a lot to love in this country, if you’re ready to slow things down.
With the sunniest and mildest climate in the UK, plus 300 miles of coastline, Cornwall is a favourite holiday spot for many, and tourism makes up a quarter of the area’s economy. Overall, the area is one of the poorest in the UK as other industries have dropped off over the years, like mining, fishing and agriculture. However, a 5 year EU-funded programme in 2010 brought superfast broadband to Cornwall, making it one of the best-connected areas in Europe with households and businesses getting 330 Mbps connection speeds (the average for the UK is around 30 Mbps).
As more and more people are relying on the internet and becoming less tied to traditional office environments for work, the benefits of this technological infrastructure are providing a boost to Cornwall, and perhaps a growing influx of new, tech-savvy residents. For now though, it’s the retired population, unconcerned with the area’s unsteady economy that are most attracted to moving to Cornwall.
House prices in Cornwall are on average a little less than £250,000, but they do vary a lot depending on the area. Picturesque coastal towns and villages like St Ives, Polperro and Rock have high prices pushed up by second home owners, but away from the tourist traps, towns like Redruth and Bodmin are far more affordable, still near enough to the coast and surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
Things to do
Truro is the only city in Cornwall, so is the main place to go for your usual large high street chain shops. It’s well known for traffic jams because it serves so many smaller towns and villages across the county, so you may get used to sticking closer to home for your essential shopping – especially if being stuck in a car on a long commute every day was one of the reasons for your move to Cornwall in the first place!
Whether your leisure time is restricted to evenings and weekends, or every day as a new retiree, there is so much to explore in Cornwall that you’ll never be at a loose end. The warmer weather and spectacular coastline are the two jewels in Cornwall’s crown, to get outside whenever you can to make the most of them.
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The South West Coast Path follows the entire coastline north and south through both Devon and Cornwall. It was fully completed in the late 70s and have been voted the UK’s best walking path many times. Some popular sights along the way are the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno Bay, a 1930s open air theatre that stages some of the most dramatic staging of Shakespeare you’ll see, and Tintagel Castle, where you can explore the myths and legends of King Arthur and climb the footbridges through the ruins for dramatic views.
Leaving behind the wizardry of King Arthur, you can find real magic in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey. The gardens are part of the estate of the Tremayne family, and were created from the 18th century all the way up to the early 20th century. After the First World War they fell into disrepair and were neglected and forgotten as the house was sold. It was only in the 1990s that they were rediscovered and loving restored. You can find huge stone sculptures of sleeping giants hidden amongst the subtropical gardens.
Another well-known garden that’s a favourite with tourists and locals, is the Eden Project. The otherworldly biomes are a sight to be seen themselves, and inside are Rainforest and Mediterranean environments home to thousands of plants. The attraction was opened in 2000, and has hosted tonnes of events, art installations and gigs every year as well.
Culture and history
Art lovers will know that St Ives is the best place to get your culture fix. Tate St Ives was built in the early 90s after the museum group started to look after the collection and workshops of Barbara Hepworth and decided a museum should be built in the town dedicated to her and other similar artists from their collection, like Henry Moore.
What better thing to accompany a day by the sea than some delicious food. Sure, a traditional fish and chips on the beach is great, but don’t forget about Cornwall’s local delicacies, cream teas and Cornish pasties. Every local will have an opinion about where to find the best ones, so our advice is to try them all! For those more special occasions, Padstow is the culinary centre of Cornwall. Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw all have top restaurants in the town, making the most of the freshest local seafood.
Once you’ve explored the quiet beaches and bustling towns of Cornwall and settled into the relaxed pace of life way out west, you’ll start to see Cornwall’s unique character come through. Locals are often very proud of their heritage as a Celtic nation. Some groups are fighting for more independence for the area, some champion the continued use of the Cornish language, but nearly everyone unites for St Piran’s Day on 5 March to celebrate all things Cornish. There may be a lot of newcomers and weekend visitors to Cornwall, but it seems like local pride for the area is as immovable as the spectacular cliffs and beaches.