Cornwall places named the best to live in over the past five years

Cornwall is known for its natural beauty and, for many Brits, is a prime holiday destination.

But it’s also a great place to live: whether you like beachfront towns or cosy countryside villages, Cornwall has you covered.

In the past five years, the Sunday Times has included several Cornish towns and villages on its list of the best places to live in the UK.

The guide always praises the county with many mentions of kayaks, boats, good views and posh food – but our towns always seem to lose out to somewhere in Somerset for some reason for top spot in the South West.

Wadebridge (South West Best List 2020, 2015)

The Molesworth Arms, Wadebridge
(Image: Ian S / Creative Commons Licence)

Not quite topping the South West list, but still getting a shoutout is Wadebridge, which was praised for being an “unpretentious” town perfect for a “frolic” on the beach.

With tourist hotspot Padstow only five miles up the river, Wadebridge was also praised for having next to no chain shops.

It also gives this rather backhanded compliment: “Wadebridge is not exactly beautiful: there’s a fair bit of pebbledash clinging to the hillsides that slope down to the river.

“But its centre is the opposite of the dispiriting English clone town — pretty much all independents, with not even a WHSmith to upsell unwanted chocolate with your packet of pens.”

Once again appealing to Londoners, Wadebridge’s “funky side” was mentioned: namely the vegan cafe and converted shipping container street food hubs.

Mylor (South West Best List 2020)

(Image: TripAdvisor)

Joining Wadebridge for this year’s Times list is beautiful Mylor, which the guide called a “calm Cornish haven”.

Boasting a large, snakey looking marina and plenty of boats, Mylor has both the scenery of a rural village and the advantage of being right around the corner from Falmouth.

As expected, the Times named the village as a perfect escape from London for those with a spare sailboat and good amount of cash – but it also has an identity of its own with plenty of local independent shops.

Falmouth (The Best In South West 2016)

Leisure moorings at Falmouth harbour
(Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

Last year, Falmouth was named the best place in Cornwall, and one of the best in the whole of the South West.

On the picturesque south coast, Falmouth is an increasingly popular place to live – be it people moving to the town from elsewhere, or students settling in after university.

Sunday Times home editor Helen Davies said: “There is so much going on around the country, and so many great places that the choice was a hard one.”

The town was also mentioned in 2016, 2017 and 2018, receiving praise for steadily becoming an “all-season arty-party town”.

Bodmin Moor (South West Best List 2018)

Summit of Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor
Summit of Brown Willy on Bodmin Moor
(Image: Cornish Guardian)

Leaning into the mythos of Bodmin Moor, in 2018 the guide said: “This is dark and brooding country. In a good way. The moor is an International Dark Sky Landscape and as wild and romantic as you could hope for.”

It is not hard to see why the Times would encourage readers to embrace places such as Cardinham, Blisland, and St Neot, given the scenery in these beautiful, if fairly rural, villages.

For all the talk of savage beasts which stalk the hills, it’s a stunning piece of countryside anyone would be lucky to live in.

Fowey (South West Best List 2016)

The Europa 2 in Fowey
The Europa 2 in Fowey
(Image: James Pearce/Lexis Place)

The Times described the historical harbour town which Dawn French calls home as a “yachtie haven, and one of the quaintest towns in Cornwall”.

It said: “Fowey has narrow streets filled with nautically named pubs, as well as splendid food, one-off shops and a lively quayside.

“But you should get out and about, too: the Fowey estuary is great walking country, and you’re within a half-hour drive of some of Cornwall’s best bits. Then there’s the Daphne du Maurier connection…”

St Ives (Top 30 Best In UK 2015)

(Image: Greg Martin / Cornwall Live)

Extremely popular with both holidaymakers and ex-Londoners, St Ives is an expensive place to live – but a pretty one.

Huddle next to the pale sand of St Ives Harbour, along with plenty of others nearby, the town boasts everything from surfing to a modern art gallery.

It features plenty of independent businesses, a huge number of hotels and, according to the Times: “the odd fisherman or artist”.

Cornwall Live