Much has happened over the last few years that has made many people reassess the way they live, work and rest. One of the by-products of Britain leaving the EU has been a surge in domestic tourism, which was perhaps foreseeable. The West Country, always a top holiday destination, has seen a sharp increase in demand for properties in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Less predictable was the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing seismic shift towards remote or hybrid working that has affected us all. After the first lockdown, there was a palpable ‘London exodus’ phenomenon which drove many city dwellers to seek a better work-life balance.
This suddenly became viable in more remote locations thanks to working-from-home (WFH) arrangements and young professionals and families cast their net ever further from the capital in search of the perfect home. The fundamental nature of this shift in perspective should not be underestimated. As the pandemic is loosening its grip on the nation, heading far west has remained an attractive proposition.
That said, moving to Cornwall is a huge decision. Before you start looking for properties for sale in Newquay, Falmouth or St Mawes, we urge you to take off the rose-tinted spectacles and really get to grips with what it is you’re trying to achieve and whether a permanent relocation to the far South West is the right solution to help you get there.
What kind of lifestyle are you looking for?
Moving to Cornwall means different things to different people. Spend some thinking time, as a family where relevant, to define your key needs and wants in your new location. Once you have a clear vision of the sort of lifestyle you actually want, it will be easier to find the Cornish location and invest in the type of property that can deliver it to you.
Are you longing for the picture postcard country cottage, surrounded by beautiful scenery and with a village within easy reach? Is it the call of the sea, sand, and surf that’s driving your desire to move to Cornwall? Or perhaps you would prefer to be part of a thriving community in a larger town? Do you have children who need good local schools? How important are rail links to London, or access to arterial roads such as the A30, A38, and A39?
Take a look at the hobbies and interests you would like to be able to pursue in your new home as part of a healthy work-life balance. No doubt you know that Cornwall is an excellent location for watersports including surfing and sailing but there’s more to this county than beautiful sandy beaches. Whether you’re into hiking or cycling, gardening or farming, yoga or photography, art or music, there’s a corner of Cornwall out there catering for your needs.
How realistic is working from Cornwall?
If you are going to relocate to the South West while keeping your current job, you need to think very carefully about how this is going to work in practice. Many ‘newcomers’ to Cornwall become local residents by buying a house big enough to accommodate a home office while keeping their finger on the pulse by travelling to London now and again.
It is possible to ‘commute’ to London Paddington on the main line from Penzance which goes through Truro, St Austell, and Bodmin to Plymouth and beyond. A full one-way trip takes 6 hours (4.5 hours from Bodmin), so an occasional trip for a meeting in the capital is perfectly doable. Alternatively, there are regular flights from Newquay, Exeter, and Bristol to London, while a £330 million upgrade of the A30 is in progress.
Local career jobs are harder to come by, unfortunately. Compared to the stronger economy in the Southeast, the South West has lower salary levels and fewer opportunities for well-paid, skilled jobs. That said, there’s a great spirit of entrepreneurship in the West Country. If your plan is to have a change of career and start your own business, Cornwall is a great place with lots of business support available to help you do just that.
Do you want or need to stay connected?
These days, remote working is possible from anywhere on the planet as long as there’s a fast, reliable internet connection. Luckily, superfast fibre broadband is available in many Cornish locations and there are 19 broadband providers in the county catering to all needs. Effective communication is key – no broadband can be a serious deal-breaker – so check your favoured location for internet coverage.
A broadband connection is one thing, but a sense of social connection is also important. Depending on your job and your personality, you may be perfectly happy working on your own or you may be missing an element of social interaction. If it’s the latter, we would advise you to look for a place to live where there’s a sense of community and plenty of things to do all year round. Unfortunately, many Cornish seaside towns and villages thrive during the holiday season, only to shut down completely when the tourists have gone.
If you’re feeling lonely at your desk and wouldn’t mind meeting and networking with like-minded professionals, why not check out some cool and creative co-working spaces in Newquay, Falmouth, Truro, Penzance, and more? Here’s a great round-up of what’s available in Cornwall.
Can you make the switch from holiday home to permanent home?
For many people, the dream of moving to Cornwall is rooted in happy memories of holidays spent there. Given the warm glow of this emotional connection, it can be hard to distinguish it from the reality of actually living there on a permanent basis. After all, the experience of long summers spent on the beach at Perranporth is not exactly going to bear much resemblance to living in North Cornwall all year round.
However, Cornwall remains a beautiful holiday destination, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find a long line of friends and family wanting to come and visit you in your new Cornish home. Check to see if the budget allows for an extra guest room so you can share your newfound lifestyle with your nearest and dearest. And if you have the space, additional holiday letting could bring in a welcome extra income stream.