The honest account of what it’s really like to live in Cornwall.
Hopefully my little blog has been providing a sufficiently good overview of what it’s like to live here, as I include my adventures and reviews of places to go in this beautiful county.
However I wanted to compile it all into a list that’s both truthful and realistic, because hey – who doesn’t love a good list post?
1. You love the beach, but you take them for granted
Had to start with a beach-related point, didn’t I? I can’t talk about Cornwall and not mention our deliciously stunning coastline.
While these days I do actually spend all day longing to escape to the beach in the evenings, I totally took our proximity to the sea for granted when I was a teenager. I wasn’t very active, and I’ve always been a bit of a geek, so I honestly cringe thinking of all the wasted Summers I spent sat indoors!
2. It takes you forever to get anywhere
Dude, we don’t have a motorway. That’s the type of situation I’m talking about right now.
I find it so bizarre when people say that London is in the ‘South of England’; it takes a minimum of 5 hours travelling NORTH to get there from here – it makes no sense how it is still called the South.
3. You become part of a tight-knit community
I mentioned the sense of community as part of my 10 reasons why I live in Cornwall post, and I’m gonna mention it here again just because it’s so important!
Whether you’re a small business owner, blogger, or creative, there is so much support out there in the form of training, networking and generally making friends for life!
4. You don’t trust a SatNav and you have grown a knack for navigating the smallest of country lanes in reverse gear
SatNavs of all different types have an amazing habit of sending lorry drivers and tourists alike down the tiniest of country roads and interesting routes. I just about cope using Google Maps sometimes but generally I stick to reading road signs.
On a side note, I have not yet grown a knack for reversing down tiny country lanes, but I’m hoping it’ll kick in at some point.
5. You vow each year that you won’t even attempt to leave the house in July and August
Once the tourists descend, Cornwall can become a bit of a nightmare for locals. It takes double the time to get anywhere because of all the cars, and driving to your local beach only to turn around and come back home again because there’s nowhere to park is a regular occurrence.
6. You’ll never say “I’m bored” at the weekend
Okay maybe in Winter you might utter those words, but there are so many incredible hobbies to take up here in Cornwall that you’ll rarely be at loss of something to do here.
From surfing to paddle boarding, hiking to sea-glass collecting, you don’t have to think too hard about what to do either!
7. Spring, Summer and Autumn are beautiful… Winter, not so much
There can be gorgeous days in Winter, yes. Sometimes there are days when frost and rain is beautiful, and sometimes us Cornish locals feel contented with the quiet, tourist-free roads and beaches.
But much of the time, Winter can feel a little soul-destroying, and I’m just being real here. It’s not always sunny coastal walks and calm waters; it can be weeks on end where it feels too grim to leave the house.
8. You feel guilty spending a second indoors on a Summer’s day
This sounds ridiculous, but the struggle is real. In Summer I always have a feeling of guilt or feeling torn; “I should be enjoying the sunshine while it lasts, why am I indoors?!” and “There’s so much work and chores I have to do, why I am swanning about outside?!” constantly go back and forth in my mind.
At least when it’s rainy and gross there is a very obvious choice on what to do.
9. You start to think more about wildlife and sustainability
Because nature, the countryside and marine life are such huge parts of our lives here, you simply can’t ignore them.
No one will clean up your rubbish from the sea or countryside walk (apart from dedicated locals), and seeing it pollute our environment is a huge motivator for us to do something about it. There are loads of conservationist groups you can join here who organise regular beach cleans or sustainability activities.
10. …But in the same breath, you seriously struggle without a car
Our public transport isn’t great here, let’s face it. With so many hidden away villages and hard-to-get-to seaside towns, you can see why!
Not having a car is a real struggle here, so if you’re visiting for more than a few days I’d highly recommend bringing your own or hiring one (as much as it pains me to encourage it).
11. You’ll find that beach BBQs become your Summer diet
Sunny evening? No wind? Barbecue. Sunny lunch time at the weekend? Tide’s out? Barbecue.
Say goodbye to a bikini body because who can resist burgers and sausages straight from the local butcher’s! You’ll be wearing a wetsuit anyway, right?
12. You get angry at tourists, and then realise they contribute to like 70% of the economy
Yes it’s annoying that it means it’s impossible to go anywhere throughout August because the roads are clogged up and so are the beaches and towns, but we really can’t complain too much… can we?
We probably still will.
13. You own wellies, walking boots, 3 pairs of flipflops and maybe one pair of nice shoes
Where are you even planning to wear those heels to anyway? They’ll only get muddy and/or wet and/or sandy, so what’s the point.
14. You can have the best day ever and spend absolutely nothing
When I lived in Bristol we were right in the middle of the city, and it was so hard to think of things to do of a weekend that didn’t involve spending money.
In Cornwall, however, you can do so much for FREE! Okay it may cost you some petrol if you don’t live near any nice walks (unlikely – I live in Redruth and there are still walks around here) but you can honestly have the nicest day exploring or picnicking or sea swimming or all of the above for zero monies.
15. You sometimes cry because there’s no Primark/H&M/Ikea here
The nearest Primark and H&M are precisely 60 miles away, which equals 1 hour and a half by car or train. The nearest Ikea is 181 miles way, aka, 3 hours.
There are also like, no shops in which to buy men’s clothes. That may be a wild overstatement but we generally have to buy in men’s clothing from online… or maybe N is just really picky.
16. You’ll say goodbye to clubbing and hello to beers on the beach
I can name like two clubs that aren’t in our clubbing capital of Newquay. Forgive me if I’m just really out of the loop but there’s a pretty low-key party scene here.
If you want reasonable nightlife and fun bars, there’s always Falmouth, but generally nothing beats a beer (and/or mojitos) with friends while looking out to sea!
17. You start to learn to bring a towel with you everywhere you go
Having a towel permanently thrown in my car is more handy than you know. When you live in Cornwall it can be useful for spontaneous ocean swims, a makeshift picnic blanket, a carseat protector for when your clothes are soaked through from a freak rainstorm, and of course quick dog cleaner-up-er.
18. No matter what you do, your house will be damp
There’s no other way to put this; no matter how hard you try to prevent it, some part of your house or flat will inevitably suffer from damp.
We just have really really wet air, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
19. You must always be prepared for spontaneous family visits
If you have family who don’t live in Cornwall, be prepared to become a popular holiday home for them several times a year with little to no warning.
Luckily I don’t have this problem as most of our family are based here, but I hear it’s a real issue for other less fortunate souls!
20. You think twice about holidaying to anywhere else in the UK because you have it all here
Thought this was a nice one to end on!
It’s totally true. Sure there are other beautiful places in the UK; I know we had a beautiful time in Wales when we visited last year, and I fell in love with Bristol when we lived there. But we are completely spoiled to live here and sometimes I question ever leaving at all!
Locals if you have more to add to this list, use your words in the comments!
(PS. All pics of me are by the very talented Olivia Bossert!)
*(PPS. My outfit item links are affiliate links and are marked with a star)