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Welcome to Cornwall

Your Cornwall local guide for buying, renting or living here

October 2022

History

The history of Cornwall has shaped the county, dating back to the Bronze and Iron ages. When you think of Cornwall, you may conjure up images of moors and coasts, history and heritage, myths and legends, smugglers and saints, and the famous Cornish pasties! Cornwall, or ‘Kernow’ in Cornish, has a unique Celtic heritage and a fascinating history, sculpted by the wild coastline and isolation from the rest of the country. Wherever you go in Cornwall, you’ll see Saint Piran’s flag: a white cross on a black background, which was attributed to St Piron in the 6th century. Visit Cornwall and spot this flag flying with pride across the county even today. 

Mining began in the Bronze Age, particularly in tin mining, which soon became one of the region’s most important industries, establishing a strong reputation. Abandoned mines still dot the Cornish countryside and are among some of the more iconic images of Cornwall (and BBC's Poldark did wonders to bring this history to life).

Today's Cornwall

Today, Cornwall is a place 565,968 people call home. It sits on the southwest coast of England and is the most westerly county in all of the UK. In fact, it boasts the most southerly and westerly points on mainland Britain at Land’s End and Lizard Point. Cornwall is home to wild moors, quaint fishing villages, Land’s End, and has a rich heritage of art, music and literature. It’s also the only English county to boast its own language: Cornish.

A unique coastal county, Cornwall has a certain appeal about it. It thrives year-round, with around 5.9 million annual visitors exploring the sites and natural landscapes. As for the residents, there is a mix of young professionals, families, lifelong residents and celebrities that live there. The property in Cornwall comes just as varied. Everyone and anyone are welcome, and you’ll certainly be greeted with Cornish charm.

Quick facts about Cornwall

Property for sale in Cornwall

As a popular holiday destination, it’s no surprise that many people visit and fall in love with the surroundings. With a hot property market, the offerings of flats and houses for sale in Cornwall vary, so there’s something to suit everyone looking for their own slice of the area.

  • Average house price: £302,121
  • Detached house: £459,331
  • Semi-detached: £303,614
  • Terraced house: £249,701
  • Percentage change yearly (all property types): +13.2%

Postcodes housing market summary

St Ives: TR26

Average sold price: £569,924
Average sale time: 11 weeks
Asking price change: -1%

A picturesque harbour and seaside town, St Ives is rightly considered one of Cornwall’s gems. The soft, white sand beaches and Mediterranean light attract plenty of visitors but continue to capture the heart of locals. The cobbled streets and independent shops inspire a connective community. Put down roots here and you’ll find it’s a great place to raise a family, with lots to do, good schools, great transport links and a safer environment than many places.

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Padstow: PL28

Average sold price: £776,756
Average sale time: 13 weeks
Asking price change: -2.3%

Padstow is a pretty, bustling harbour town built on a hillside with incredible views over the Camel Estuary. The narrow, winding streets set back from the harbour offer a wealth of old cottages to admire. There is a great selection of homes to choose from, as well as superb schools for the kids. Padstow continues to be a foodie destination and home to the famous chef Rick Stein, who has a thriving restaurant in the area. There are plenty of transport links to get around Cornwall and head out into the rest of the country.

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Penzance: TR18

Average sold price: £297,811
Average sale time: 10 weeks
Asking price change: -0.7%

As the final stop on the train coming from London Paddington, it can feel like you’re on the edge of the earth. Visit Land’s End for a remoteness like no other. Then, head into town and you’ll find a quirky high street boasting an assortment of independent retailers. From antique dealers and art galleries to eco-friendly products, there’s an eclectic mix. The schooling is excellent, as are the transport links.

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Truro: TR1

Average sold price: £367,212
Average sale time: 9 weeks
Asking price change: -0.5%

Truro is the only city in Cornwall, with the neo-Gothic Victorian cathedral sitting proudly in the centre. With a potpourri mix of cobbled streets, stone terraces and palm trees, it’s a unique city where people love to live. It has a buzzing community and an abundance of festivals, the most famous being Truro City of Lights at Christmas. Many of the schools are outstanding and there are two independent schools. There are great transport links within wider Cornwall and the rest of the country. Plus, the beach is only a short drive away, meaning you get the best blend of urban and beach lifestyles.

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Falmouth: TR10

Average sold price: £327,846
Average sale time: 10 weeks
Asking price change: -0.8%

Famous for its harbour, Falmouth integrates its maritime heritage with newer creative and digital industries. It’s a university town with a thriving harbourside development with plenty of shops, restaurants and quirky independent businesses. There are excellent state and private schools, a local hospital and a mainline train station.

Search for property for sale in Falmouth 

Newquay: TR7

Average sold price: £406,988
Average sale time: 6 weeks
Asking price change: -0.3%

Surf’s up! Newquay is home to some of the best waves surfers can ride. Expect to see a lively seaside town, complete with camper vans, beach huts and lifeguards. But it’s not just a popular surfing destination; it features some incredible coastal walks, golf courses and water activities that the whole family can enjoy. It also has a budding reputation for being a hub that caters to food lovers. With more independent restaurants opening, it’s a fantastic place to relax and socialise. The high schools are outstanding, and as well as the train station, there’s an airport, making travel plans much easier.

Search for property for sale in Newquay

The most expensive postcode in Cornwall is PL29 in the Port Isaac area, with an average price of £721,000.

The least expensive postcode is TR14 around Camborne, where the average is £190,000.

Property to rent in Cornwall

Rental prices vary significantly across Cornwall. While picturesque coastal locations and sought-after student hubs tend to raise the average price, there are plenty of affordable options to be found elsewhere. While the location impacts the rental price, so does the space. Naturally, one-bedroom flats are going to demand a lower rent than three- or four-bedroom houses to rent.

The average price for a property to rent in Cornwall is £1,164.

Things to do in Cornwall

As one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations, Cornwall has no shortage of things to do – whatever the weather or time of year.

Stonehenge

Although the actual Stonehenge may be more famous, Bodmin Moor in Cornwall has one of the densest concentrations of Bronze Age and Neolithic sites in Europe. It’s a wonderful place to explore, with its ancient buildings and standing stones.

Beaches and water activities

Waves reach maddening heights in Cornwall, much to the delight of surfers that flock to the Cornish shores. From surfing to strolling beaches to engaging in water activities, there is plenty to do along the coast of Cornwall. Newquay is regarded as the county’s top-tier surfing destination with world championship events regularly taking place. Haven’t touched a board before? Fear not; there are plenty of surfing instructors to teach you how to ride the waves.

St Michael’s Mount

Take a peek at the deliciously mystical St Michael’s Mount: a tiny, rocky island connected to the land at low tide. Just off the south coast of Cornwall, the mount has a castle, chapel and lovely gardens to explore. It’s accessible via a causeway when the tide is low – if you wait too long and the tide rises, you’ll miss your chance to get there... or get back.

Minack Theatre

As one of if not the most attractive open-air theatres in the UK, Minack Theatre is truly breathtaking. It’s carved into a massive lump of rock and ends with the sea. The dramatic views provide the perfect backdrop for performances throughout the summer months.

Did you know?

  • It’s a popular filming location for TV/film.

Poldark, Taboo, Doc Martin and Jamacia Inn are among the headlining shows filmed in this picturesque county.

  • Cornwall has the longest coastline of all of England’s counties.

With the ocean surrounding three sides of this southern county, there are 433 miles of coastline, fringed with secret coves and sandy beaches. There are more than 300 wonderful beaches to enjoy – everything from calm waters to surfer’s waves. In Cornwall, you’re never more than 20 miles from a beach.

The South West Coast Path offers up some stunning walks in Cornwall where you can enjoy the sea air and surrounding beauty. Not into hiking? Try your hand at surfing, rock climbing and coasteering to make the most of the incredible coastline in Cornwall.

  • It’s home to the largest collection of plant species in the British Isles.

Cornwall is home to the magnificent Eden Project, the large biome stimulating a rainforest environment, while the smaller one mimics the Mediterranean. That means even when the Cornish sun isn’t out, head over to the Eden Project for guaranteed temperatures of 28C degrees and above.

  • It’s hot, hot, hot.

On average, temperatures in Cornwall stay above 10C degrees for more than seven months of the year, meaning it can be classed as subtropical. Hotspots in the area include Porthleven, Padstow, Mousehole, Falmouth and the Isle of Scilly.

Who lives in Cornwall?

In 2022, Cornwall is home to 565,968 people.

The largest urban area in Cornwall is the Camborne-Redruth area, which was 22,770 in 2020. The population of the Isles of Scilly is around 2,100 people. Cornwall’s population is growing, with the largest age group being 55 to 59 years old.

The population of Cornwall is almost entirely white, with only 1.8% of the population identifying as non-white.

Sports

Cornwall is home to some brilliant sporting events, from swimming to rugby to wrestling. There’s a sporting event for everyone, from the small village events to the large ultra-races.

Rugby is considered the most popular sport in the county. The largest club team is the Cornish Pirates who play in the second level of the English rugby pyramid.

There are no professional football teams in Cornwall but that doesn’t mean there is lacking spirit. Many footie fans head across the Devon border to Plymouth Argyle to follow a professional club.

Cornwall also had its own form of wrestling known as Cornish wrestling. You’ll find this sport alive and well, with many clubs teaching this heritage sport.

Transport in Cornwall

The two main roads into Cornwall are the A30 and A38. The A30 runs between Exeter and Penzance, while the A38 runs from Mansfield to Bodmin and was the main route until the opening of the M5. Other roads into the county include the A39 from Barnstaple to Bude and the A3072 which runs from central Devon to Bude. There’s also the A3930 from Tavistock to Liskeard.

The First Great Western railway service runs the main train line through the centre of the county carrying passengers from London Paddington all the way to Penzance. The CrossCountry line runs three services a day from Penzance. 

The Newquay Cornwall Airport is the main airport in the county, with daily flights to and from London Gatwick, Manchester and St Mary’s. Seasonal routes run flights to and from Liverpool, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle and beyond.

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