Best Places To Live In Cornwall and Devon 2020
This year has truly been a staggering summer for British holidays. More and more of us have stayed close to Britain’s shores this summer, enjoying the golden sands, beautiful blue skies and rolling surf of the South West. It’s no surprise that our property finders enjoy enquiries for properties in Devon and Cornwall each year after the summer holidays of July and August, as British holidaymakers discover the hidden gems of the South coast.
This year is no exception, as many of us have flocked to enjoy the balmy weather and beautiful beaches of Devon and Cornwall. However, there’s a lot more to these regions than simply sun and surf. The Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Live’ Guide annually picks the best places to live around Britain each year, and the Southwest is always featured. In conjunction with the suggestions from our regional property finder, Lee Heywood, here are the shortlisted towns and villages in Devon and Cornwall for 2020.
Devon has long been a favourite of people moving ‘down south’. Devon’s rich history, beautiful scenery and excellent infrastructure are all reasons behind its popularity, which has only grown in recent years. An historic county, Devon has everything from the busy and thriving cities of Plymouth and Exeter, to the undisturbed Jurassic Coastline, world-famous for its high quality of preserved fossils and truly exceptional views.
Today, Devon is a bustling region, with hubs of commerce, gastronomy and nightlife like Kingsbridge and Seaton, its Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the South and the East , and true surfer’s paradise in the North.
Shaldon, Devon, is a newcomer to the ‘Best Places to Live’ Guide, but deserving of the top spot! A truly magical village, Shaldon sits near the Teign Estuary and is a jewel in Devon’s crown, filled with red-sand beaches, dramatic cliffs and beautiful Georgian homes.
Fear not, however – Shaldon is far from rural and remote. With an award-winning butcher’s and baker’s, the local gastronomy of the region boasts historic pubs, a sustainable restaurant (Cafe Ode, the brainchild of Tim Bouget) and more. Day-to-day life in Shaldon is of a similar quality – with the local primary school ranked ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, and nearby Torquay’s grammar schools marked the same, this is a truly perfect place to raise young children.
A well-connected seaside village, Shaldon is just half an hour’s drive from busy Exeter. With ferry timetables to Teignmouth running during the day and mooring near the station, which has services directly to Exeter (20 minutes) and London Paddington (just 2 and a half hours!)
Chagford is Devon’s second entrant into the Sunday Times guide, and our property finder couldn’t agree more with the selection! Another town with a strong legacy, Chagford’s innovative and creative spirit is what’s seen the town turn into one of the most popular places to live that Devon has to offer. Home to the first electric street lamps outside of London back in the 1890’s, Chagford has kept innovating throughout the last century, with its very own literature, film and music festivals held in the midst of its mystical and dramatic landscape. Chagfilm, Chagword and Chagstock (no, we’re not joking) are testament to this beautiful area’s pursuit of creative and cultural arts, which has seen it held in high regard for decades.
It’s certainly not an elitist spirit you’ll find in Chagford, however. With community farms and veg box schemes, as well as its own deli, pharmacy and Spar, this is truly a place where individuals, couples and young families can all settle in peace. The local primary school is an ideal spot for younger ones, whilst the nearby secondary schools or colleges are rated ‘Outstanding’. A half an hour’s drive to Exeter, from which locals can take trains to Bristol and London Paddington, in Chagford, life is only as quiet as you want it to be.
Much like Devon, Cornwall’s popularity stems from its beautiful scenery and relaxed pace of life. For those hoping to avoid the pressures of larger counties and constant hum of big cities, much of Cornwall offers a relaxing respite from the daily grind. Of course, towns like Newquay and Falmouth are still there for those looking for a little more movement, whether that’s in the thriving nightlife or the bustling surf seasons, but smaller pockets of tranquility exist
A town with real heart, Wadebridge is set just a few miles from Padstow, and enjoys the connection without being overwhelmed by tourists. Whilst not entirely fitting the bill of a chocolate-box Cornish village, Wadebridge is instead a seaside town which avoids being a cliche. Enjoying the fun side of life, with hip cafes, yoga studios, and the ever-enjoyable Wadebridge Carnival held annually in August, Wadebridge also has a rich history and a gorgeous local landscape.
Perfect for outdoor activities, cycle trails, nearby surfing and hikes along the Camel Trail, Wadebridge also enjoys dipping its toe in the cultural pool, with a live music scene and live ballet and theatre screened at the Regal Cinema, as well as the Camel River Festival held in late summer.
It’s pretty easy to get further afield, if you’re okay to fly – as Wadebridge is just 20 minutes away from Newquay airport. Trains are operational too, from nearby Bodmin Parkway which has links to London Paddington (just under four hours away) or you can get about by doing an hour and a half’s drive to Exeter.
Finally, the gorgeous Cornish fishing village of Mylor brings the spirit of Cornwall to life. Home to one of the most sought-after marinas in the whole country, the residents of Mylor enjoy this piece of paradise to the fullest; with its deep blue waters, gorgeous local independents and quieter pace of life. Around five miles from Falmouth, busy is there if you want it – but you simply might not need to! Home to restaurants and cafes, watersports and a sailing school (perhaps unsurprisingly) this tight-knit community houses a butcher’s, baker’s, fishmonger’s and supermarket in Mylor Bridge – everything you’d need to get by.
With pubs and bars like the Lemon Tree, Pandora’s Inn and Castaways Wine Bar, you’ll be in safe hands for an evening out, too. For those of you who have younger ones to think about, the local schools of Mylor Community Primary and the local secondary Penryn College are ‘Good’ by Ofsted standards, with independent options in nearby Truro.
If you’d like to speak to our local property finder to find out more about properties in these areas of Cornwall and Devon, please feel free to get in touch. With decades of local knowledge, early access to properties on the market (and negotiating skills if they aren’t yet available!), our property finders are the perfect people to help get you situated in a new place.