Where to look for a holiday home in Cornwall

Where to look for a holiday home in Cornwall probably ranks as the most difficult decision of all. England’s favourite holiday destination has lots of property in a wealth of places ranging from quiet clifftop hamlets to buzzing arty towns. Choosing where to buy in Cornwall is, like all property purchases, mostly about location, location, location. We offer some suggestions on what criteria to bear in mind during your search for a holiday home.

Choose a Cornish holiday home location with your head

Before you begin your hunt, have a think about why you’re buying a holiday home in Cornwall. You should then base your search on your answer to that question.

Buying as a holiday home

If you’re looking for a holiday home in Cornwall for your own use, the location will obviously have to appeal to you and your family. It will also have to offer amenities and things to do that suit you.

Buying as a holiday home and holiday let

If you’re planning to use the property yourself and let it to holiday guests, your personal preferences share centre stage with theirs. Choose a location that you like and that you know holidaymakers will like just as much too.

Buying as a holiday let

If your aim is to let the property for profit rather than use it yourself, your personal preferences step down from the stage altogether. Your chosen location should have maximum holiday appeal to a wide range of guests.

Buying as a future retirement home

Buying a holiday home in Cornwall with the view to retiring there later is a completely different scenario. You should think ahead and go for locations that offer the amenities and facilities you may need in retirement.

Types of location for property investment

Within its rugged shores, Cornwall contains a surprising variety of locations. You can choose a holiday home in remote moorlands, bustling towns, surfing centres, foodie hotspots and artist enclaves. You can go for beach spots, inland river towns, country farmland or clifftops. And you can choose to be within a short drive of one of the train lines or far from any major transport links.

St Michael's Mount near Penzance, West Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount near Penzance, West Cornwall

Coastal Cornwall

Cornwall boasts Great Britain’s longest county coastline. This added to its long, thin shape mean you’re never very far from the sea. The 433 miles of coastline offer plenty of variety too – long, sandy beaches that rate as some of the best in the country, dramatic rugged cliffs, small pebbly coves, wide tidal estuaries, hidden harbours…

The advantages of going for a coastal holiday home include instant appeal – everyone loves to be beside the seaside and even better if there’s a view of it. On the other hand, coastal areas tend to be more expensive than those inland and they’re busier in the summer months.


Top tip – you don’t have to be on the coast for water in Cornwall. Lovely water views can also be found on the rivers like those at Saltash on the Tamar and Lynher rivers.

Rural Cornwall

As well as lots of coastline, Cornwall comes with plenty of countryside. And this too is just as beautiful. You can choose from remote settlements in the midst of moorland to a villages surrounded by vineyards. The good thing about country living in Cornwall is that it gives you the chance to get away from the crowds in summer. On the other hand, this may reduce the appeal of the property to holidaymakers. And while you might like it to be very far from the madding crowd, fewer holidaymakers want to be out of reach of amenities.

Cornish transport connections

Choosing a spot with good transport links makes sense both for your own use and for holidaymakers. Choose somewhere reasonably near a motorway or train station and you’ve made the holiday home more accessible for everyone. But be aware that property near public transport attracts a premium.

Cornish honeypots

Do you go for everybody’s favourite location such as Padstow or St Ives? Or is it better to branch out beyond the honeypot track? Choosing one of the top locations means you’ll always attract holidaymakers drawn to these tried and trusted spots. However, property prices tend to be higher in the more popular locations.

Hawker's Cove near Padstow in North Cornwall

Hawker’s Cove near Padstow in North Cornwall

It’s worth investigating up-and-coming locations. Several Cornish towns are currently undergoing something of a facelift such as Penzance – these places might not appeal so much at the moment, but they certainly have potential.

Top tip – go for the middle ground. For example, take a look at Looe as an alternative to the more popular and pricier Fowey or consider Hayle instead of St Ives.

Cornwall activity hotspots

You might fancy a location known for a particular activity. Perhaps you’re an avid surfer – think Newquay; a keen yachter – think the Roseland Peninsula; a budding artist – think Penzance; a gourmet foodie – think Padstow for food or Bodmin’s valleys for wine.

The advantage of this approach to buying a holiday home in Cornwall gives your property a very specific edge in an already crowded holiday let market. But you do need to do some research beforehand to make sure you’re not restricting your letting potential.

Seasonal Cornwall

Cornwall is highly seasonal. Some parts of the county – Boscastle is a good example – go from packed to bursting point in the summer season to almost deserted at any other time. Others such as Falmouth and Truro have more balanced seasons and year-round activity. If you’re looking to make maximum income from your holiday let, choose a location that has things going on and shops and restaurants open all year.

Top tip – visit Cornwall in high summer and low winter to see for yourself how busy/quiet your preferred locations are.

Cornwall on film

Cornish landscapes have featured in any number of films and TV series. One of the most recent Cornish film stars is Charlestown on the south coast. It was the location for the rerun of Poldark as well as a location used in Doctor Who and Treasure Island.

There’s something rather special about owning a holiday home with an instantly recognisable backdrop. Holidaymakers feel the appeal too. In the very competitive world of Cornish holiday lets, a home in or near a well-known film location for your holiday home adds a very unique selling point. However, fame on screen adds to house prices so make sure your holiday let income will compensate for this.

Research Cornwall

Deciding where to buy your holiday home in Cornwall ultimately comes down to personal choice and careful research. If you have the time, spend as much as you can looking at different areas and comparing different types of properties.

And call on the experts to help you – at Cornish Traditional Cottages, we know Cornwall like the back of our hand. We can also offer plenty of advice on which locations are best for buying a holiday home. Get in touch now.

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