Places to Live

Non-urgent advice: Overview

The thing that makes Cornwall inarguably the best place to live in the UK is a unique combination of enviable natural beauty and a deep cultural richness. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, hidden coves and picturesque fishing villages. These can all be enjoyed by walking the Cornish coastline or jumping in the Sea with a surfboard, sailing boat or stand up paddleboard. Cornwall also manages to punch way above its weight from a cultural perspective with amazing eateries, varied nightlife, vibrant music festivals, delicious food festivals, world renowned art galleries and a  host of other experiences.

Most Doctors either choose to live close to Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCHT) in Truro, or in the nearby beachside villages of Perranporth and St. Agnes (more details below). Not all placements are at RCHT however and some can be quite far away (especially when on GP placements). So where you live is up to you to decide and will likely depend on the transport you have, willingness to commute, and how close to the beach, town or hospital you want to live.

Below is a brief summary of some of the areas of Cornwall to give you a better understanding of where you might choose to live or just spend a day visiting.

Non-urgent advice: Truro

Truro is Cornwall’s “City”, which is perhaps an overstatement. With a population of roughly 20,000 it is probably better to think of Truro as a large town. It does however have allot of what you might find in a larger handsome west country City with an impressive Cathedral, beautiful old buildings, lots of independent shops, a biweekly farmers market, good restaurants, decent bars and pubs, a large leisure centre and cinema and the Hall for Cornwall theatre space which hosts west end musicals, opera, ballets, musical acts and comedians. 

The downside of living in Truro would be that you are not on the coast and it can therefore sometimes feel a bit like any other nice large town in the UK. It is however very central and you can therefore get to both coasts and up and down the county in no time at all. Very convenient for anybody who has jobs at Treliske or for getting to Wednesday teaching sessions, which when this epidemic is finally over, will go back to being delivered at the postgraduate centre on the Treliske site.

Non-urgent advice: Perranporth and St. Agnes

Perranporth and St Agnes are the two closest north coast villages to Treliske Hospital and Truro and are therefore very popular with Doctors and other health professionals. Perranporth is defined by its 3 mile long golden sand beach. The town itself is relatively small and has a shabby but quite charming beach town appeal. Although more and more upmarket shops, bars and restaurants continue to open suggesting a degree of gentrification. 

In St Agnes by contrast the gentrification has largely already occurred with much higher house prices and slightly higher end eateries and pubs. This is exemplified by a recent census which apparently reported that Doctors made up one fifth of the population of St Agnes (a “fact” which is frequently quoted but I have never actually checked”). St Agnes feels more like a traditional Cornish fishing village than Perranporth and has a much smaller but equally beautiful cove/ beach at the bottom of the village.

Both of these towns are great places to live, eat, drink, swim and surf. They both have most of the conveniences that you need such as shops (2 co-cops in Perranporth and a good SPAR in St Agnes), post offices, pharmacies and even local butchers and fishmongers.

Non-urgent advice: Falmouth & Penryn

Falmouth is a large maritime town defined by a combination of its massive natural harbour and world renowned arts college which draw an enriching combination of sea farers, artists and students. This makes Falmouth the most vibrant, diverse and culturally interesting place to live in Cornwall. It has a plethora of delicious eateries, bars, restaurants, coffee houses and galleries (a few listed below) which makes the town feel more lively than some of the sleepier parts of Cornwall. 

The major downside to living in Falmouth is that it is at least a 30 minute drive to any reliable surfing beaches. So if that’s your thing then it might not be the right spot for you. Like most of the rest of the south coast of Cornwall the water is much calmer here and therefore great for sailing, swimming and paddle boarding. 

It is slightly more out of the way than Truro and the traffic can be quite bad getting out of the town in the morning. You would for example probably need to leave the house about 45 minutes before starting work at Treliske Hospital if commuting by car. There is also a trainline which connects Truro to Falmouth.

Non-urgent advice: West Cornwall (St. Ives, Penzance and Newlyn)

The wild west. This part of Cornwall feels much more remote in parts, which is part of its charm. Lots of quiet beaches, unspoilt countryside and charming fishing villages. One of the biggest and most beautiful is St Ives. Made up of network of cobbled streets and small windy roads St Ives is situated on a picturesque peninsula and surrounded by 5 beaches and a harbour. Once a fishing community, St Ives has now become primarily a holiday destination and therefore punches way above its weight for culinary and cultural experiences. Along with loads of delicious sea food restaurants, bakeries and boutique shops there is even a seaside Tate gallery along with lots of other smaller galleries. A beautiful place to live but does become overrun in the summer when the tourists descend. Also a fairly long drive to most other parts of Cornwall.

St Ives closest large neighbours are Penzance & Newlyn, which have an “end of the tracks” feel about them as the last stop on the train line from London. Penzance is rough round the edges and much less polished than St Ives but has an interesting mixture of bohemian artists, sailors and fishermen. Newlyn is one of the most interesting areas of Penzance to live with a world famous Newlyn Society of Arts and lots of great sea food restaurants serving fresh fish from the still thriving local fishing industry. Penzance is big enough to have most amenities and is connected to the rest of the country on the main trainline to London. Like St Ives however it is quite a long drive to most other parts of Cornwall not connected to the trainline.