Is life in Cornwall really that good? I definitely think so, but maybe I’m biased….
Lots of people dream of the Cornish life. A home by the sea, somewhere remote maybe, or in one of Cornwall’s traditional fishing villages. A life that’s very much depicted here, on my Cornish blog.
But is life in Cornwall really that great? Does the reality live up to the expectations?
Just so you know, even though I’m Cornish, I’ve lived elsewhere. I spent my 20s, and some of my 30s, in other parts of England. University took me to Exeter and I’ve lived, worked and studied in Surrey, Milton Keynes, and Gloucestershire. I’ve experienced many places, but I was always itching to return and live in my home county of Cornwall.
Here’s why I choose to live in Cornwall, and what life here in the Duchy is really like.
1. A Slower Life
There’s no doubt that life in Cornwall is slower. There’s no way I could live in a city now. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the work commute and the demands of life, but in Cornwall people just seem to go at their own pace. I think those who move to Cornwall from the larger cities, like London or Birmingham must notice the difference. I’m sure the chilled life is good for you too.
You can find my tips on living a slower life here.
2. The South West Coast Path and Cornwall’s Beaches
There’s no doubt that we embrace our wonderful beaches and coast in Cornwall. We have 630 miles of coastline, with south Cornwall facing the English Channel and north Cornwall the Atlantic Ocean. On both sides, the landscape and coastline is dramatic and wild. A total bonus is, if you live in Cornwall, you’re never more than 20 miles from a beach!
We boast some of the best beaches – and it’s not just me who thinks so. Carne beach on The Roseland Peninsula is the only beach in Europe to make it into the National Geographic Top 10. I’m lucky, it’s my local. Another selling point is, you usually don’t have to walk far on the coast path (or kayak from a beach) to find a small, secret beach. Pure bliss.
If you want to visit a beach off the beaten path, why not try Pedn Vounder, in west Cornwall?
You can more posts on Cornwall’s beaches and the south west coast path here.
3. Connecting the Past with the Present
I had a lovely childhood in Cornwall. I particularly remember the summers. Long sunny days spent on the beach, some evenings in the beer garden at Charlestown, playing and messing about with friends who all lived on the same road. It was safe and holds a certain charm. The winters were good too. Walking the dog at Respryn and Sunday afternoons walking off our roast on a beach.
To live in Cornwall means I get to replicate these experiences with my son. It feels important and special. Plus, my family (aside from my brother) are still in Cornwall. There’s a sense of visceral and physical connectedness that I just don’t experience anywhere else.
4. Quality of Life
I’m probably stating the obvious when I say coastal life is good for you. But it really is! Cleaner air, living by the sea and being surrounded by nature. These are all factors associated with a happier, more fulfilling life, and longevity.
Research shows that living on the coast, preferably in Cornwall, increases the probably of exercising. It’s energising and encourages self-care. Also the colour blue is associated with calm and peace. Just staring at the ocean is good for you. I’m not going to argue with that!
5. To Live In Cornwall is a Quieter, Gentler Life
It’s no shock that Cornwall continues to be a favourite holiday destination. St Ives alone has enough crowns and recommendations from holiday companies and publications. People come back year after year.
Even so, life in Cornwall is quiet. Aside from the obvious busy tourist spots, it’s always possible to find quiet places to go. Out of season, the villages with lots of second homes and holiday cottages become the most peaceful and relaxing places. It’s an argument for visiting Cornwall in low season too.
Some of my favourite places to visit in low season are Cadgwith and Coverack, Port Issac, and villages around the Roseland Peninsula.
Compared to built up places, property in Cornwall is definitely cheaper. You get more square footage for your money compared to city prices. Of course this depends on where you buy. Inland is more affordable than coastal properties, that’s the same everywhere. Anyway, you can’t put a price on a better life!
7. Cornish Food
We have our wonderful, humble Cornish pasty, but it doesn’t stop there! Cornwall is famous for many other food and drink, such a splits (a yeast bun), saffron buns (great with a wedge of butter), junket, and scrumpy cider. I’ve yet to try Stargazy Pie though, a traditional fish pie with pilchard heads sticking out the top. I can only imagine how unimpressed my son would be if I put that on the table ??.
We have quite a few gin distilleries and vineyards in Cornwall too which makes for a good day out. We have good old Cornish clotted cream too (thank you, Roddas, I will be eternally grateful). Every year, Cornwall hosts some amazing food festivals, showcasing fine Cornish produce and food brands.
There’s plenty of food festivals in Cornwall, such as the Porthleven Food Festival, showcasing the best in Cornish fare.
8. Sustainable Brands and Cornwall Based Businesses
I’m always up for supporting local businesses, especially those with an emphasis on being eco-friendly and sustainable. From major tourist attractions, like The Eden Project, to environmentally friendly items for your home, and clothing. Many Cornish businesses try and give something back to the environment, help the planet, and reduce climate change.
9. Brilliant Sporting Events
Cornwall is home to some excellent sporting events. Of course I’m a big fan of running events, of which there are plenty. It doesn’t stop there. We have the Madhatter swimming, swim run and SUP events, and if cycling’s more your thing, why not check out the Eden Classic.
It’s not just the events themselves, it’s the experience and scenery they offer. Each has their own identity and features. From the small village events to the big ultra races. There really is a sporting event for everyone.
The Tywardreath Trotter is a great local running event with a huge following. At 7 miles, it’s achievable for many.
10. Art and Creativity
Cornwall has a thriving art scene, from the art schools in west Cornwall, to more city-based or local drawing groups. Plus, there’s no limit to the artistic inspiration Cornwall offers. Beaches, shoreline, or simple Cornish life, there’s so much to catch your eye and tempt you to be creative. For those who don’t fancy drawing or painting, Cornwall is a wonderful place to hone in your photography skills.
Find out what it’s like to learn to paint with the Newlyn Art School here.
11. The Changing Scenery
Form beaches to the south west coast path, to woodland, rivers and creeks. Cornwall has it all. The good news is, you don’t have to go far to experience the ever changing scenery and natural environment. There’s the china clay country, with steep white peaks and barren land, tidal pools, and empty long stretching moorland. Lots to explore and something for everyone.
Why not walk or run from Tresillian to Malpas. The route has a bit of everything and is suitable for families.
12. Cornwall Is In My Blood
You can’t bottle this feeling, and I admit, it’s hard to describe.
For me, coming back home to Cornwall was a sigh of relief. A moment of “finally”. I knew I was back where I belonged, even though I had embraced living in other counties. I can only say that Cornwall is in my heart and blood. Cornish people have a deep rooted sense of identity that isn’t English; it’s Cornish. And we are so proud of it.
It’s this identity and pride that is, and always will be, the beating heart of Cornwall.
You can find my post on the importance of Cornish identity here.
Do you live in Cornwall? Or maybe you feel as strongly about the town or county where you live as I do about my home? Why do you love it so much?
Totally agree with all points….heaven on earth.
I was taken to Cornwall at the age of three, I’m now 63! As yet I’m not actually living there, YET! however CORNWALL will always b in my heart n soul! And the Cornish people n way of life.
I think many people hold it dear, Sharon.
Love your love of Cornwall I to love it there but sadly hate the way town people are taking over every where.
Thanks Gerald, I guess times change.
What a lovely inspiring article
Hello Peter, thank you so much.
I lived in Cornwall for 20 years found it too insular, great if you like beaches and sea scrapes, bad when October arrives and 90%of small towns an villages shut down, bad when that low cloud and mist comes in which is quiet often. I now live in North Wales Llangollen a vibrant small town which has everything to offer both young and old from mountain climbing to canoeing on the river dee to mountain walks.. I would never trade it for Cornwall
Not sure 90% is shut in winter, Colin, but give me wild remote Cornwall any day!
The pictures are beautiful seams like a place i would love to visit soon
Loved this post! I think that if everything goes well after I finish my career, I definitely want to live in Cornwall and this post just convinced me more! Just one question though, how are people over there with “outsiders”? Meaning that if I, a person born outside of the UK, was to move there, how would I be received?
Hi there Nat, overall i think people are friendly and welcoming, but I know some people haven’t found this. x
I really want to move to Cornwall with my husband and two small children but im worried the locals will hate us and we will never fit in. Is that likely?
Generally, we’re a friendly bunch!
I love Cornwall every time I vist I feel immediately calm and Zen like , love the laid back Vibe .
Would love to eventually move to Cornwall , I live in Cheshire which is lovely but would like to be by the sea body boarding
Hopefully one day I will be able to move down .
Hi Kim, thank you. Cornwall is lovely and calm but perhaps not so much in peak season. I think many love the idea of living here!
We are trying to move to cornwall from hampshire at the moment. We have a 2 year old and want him to grow up in the countryside that we love. We are desperate to live somewhere which has a community and other young families…any tips?
Hi, there’s lots of places with a community feel. You may want to look at the north coast – Porthtowan, Portreath and places in land from the coast. Bude is a lovely town, quite big but with gorgeous countryside.