Why Corn­wall is the new celebrity hotspot

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of TV chef Gor­don Ram­say, co­me­dian Dawn French and even Madonna, David Cameron has splashed out £2m on a hol­i­day home on the Cor­nish coast

Daily Express - - DAY & NIGHT - By Do­minic Mid­g­ley

SURFERS’ PAR­ADISE: The north Cor­nish coast is a favourite for waters­ports in a county famed for beauty

THE vil­lage of Rock on the north coast of Corn­wall is said to have got its name from the quarry that once pro­vided bal­last for ships sail­ing from Pad­stow har­bour on the op­po­site side of the Camel Es­tu­ary.

The quarry is now a car park and the scat­ter­ing of Range Rovers and Mercedes with surf boards on their roof racks that ap­pears ev­ery sum­mer tells you ev­ery­thing you need to know about how the vil­lage has changed over the past decades.

In­deed it has be­come so pop­u­lar with well-heeled Lon­don­ers that it has been nick­named Chelsea-on-Sea and this week for­mer prime min­is­ter David Cameron be­came the lat­est house­hold name to be lured by its charms.

He has in­vested a re­ported £2mil­lion on a house just up the coast from Rock, an area where he and his fam­ily have en­joyed a num­ber of sum­mer hol­i­days.

“He has al­ways loved spend­ing time in Corn­wall and has dreamt of hav­ing his own place there,” says a spokesman. “He looks for­ward to spend­ing more time in that beau­ti­ful part of the world.”

The Camerons are not the only fam­ily to have a love af­fair with the county. They are join­ing 30,000 peo­ple who have sec­ond homes in Corn­wall. And a starstud­ded group­ing it is too.

One of the Camerons’ near neigh­bours will be celebrity chef Gor­don Ram­say, who bought his first prop­erty in the area two years ago but now sits on a Cor­nish prop­erty port­fo­lio with a com­bined value of more than £10mil­lion.

Longer term home-own­ers in­clude husband-and-wife Daily Ex­press columnists Richard Made­ley and Judy Fin­ni­gan, who have spent time at their hol­i­day house in Tal­land Bay, a ham­let be­tween Polperro and Looe, for the past 20 years.

Dawn French has a spec­tac­u­lar 40-room man­sion on a head­land at Fowey, south Corn­wall, Madonna is ru­moured to have bought a prop­erty on the exclusive Rose­land Penin­sula fur­ther down the Cor­nish Riviera and Wham! star Andrew Ridge­ley lives in Wade­bridge to the north.

The county whose scenic charms have been show­cased on prime time via not one but two hit TV se­ries – Poldark and Doc Martin – has long been a hit with walk­ers and ram­blers but it is also a mecca for surfers on the north coast and sailors to the south.

But Rock and its en­vi­rons re­main the jewel in the crown of a county that has been named best UK hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion by the Bri­tish Travel Awards for eight con­sec­u­tive years.

“Peo­ple come to Rock and Daymer Bay for the same rea­sons they came 40 or 50 years ago,” says Jo Ashby, of Cor­nish es­tate agents John Bray. “It’s a sail­ing es­tu­ary, brilliant for young chil­dren and has had good in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture with golf, waters­ports and restau­rants.

“North Corn­wall pro­vides com­fort and safety, a place where peo­ple from London and the home coun­ties love to recre­ate tra­di­tional fam­ily hol­i­days.”

Ram­say is ob­vi­ously a big fan. He bought his first house in the area in 2015 when he ac­quired a five-bed­room cot­tage over­look­ing the sea in Rock for £4.4mil­lion, then the sec­ond­high­est price ever paid for a prop­erty in the county.

WHILE he waited for planning per­mis­sion to knock it down and re­place it with a main house and a sec­ond smaller prop­erty, he splashed out an­other £4mil­lion on a beach house in the nearby vil­lage of Tre­beth­er­ick, which boasts a wine cel­lar, swim­ming pool, ten­nis court and al­most 2.5 acres of land.

He com­pleted his Cor­nish buy­ing spree two months ago when he spent £1.96mil­lion on the for­mer Lloyds Bank in Fowey, a Grade II-listed build­ing in the town cen­tre.

But de­spite hav­ing made his name in the res­tau­rant trade Ram­say ap­pears to have no plans to chal­lenge the un­ques­tioned pri­macy of Rick Stein, the West Coun­try chef who first made his name with The Seafood Res­tau­rant in Pad­stow, a vil­lage that Ram­say can see across the wa­ter from Rock. Stein’s em­pire has grown to such an ex­tent that he now has six out­lets in Pad­stow – no won­der it has been dubbed “Pad­stein” – and 10 in Corn­wall as a whole.

But none of Stein’s venues has a Miche­lin star – the only Pad­stow res­tau­rant that boasts such an ac­co­lade is Paul Ainsworth At No 6. The Drift­wood Res­tau­rant near Portscatho on the south Cor­nish coast also has one star while Nathan Out­law’s Port Isaac res­tau­rant is Corn­wall’s only two-star eatery.

One of the county’s big­gest tourist at­trac­tions is St Ives. In the wake of the Sec­ond World War this once tiny fish­ing vil­lage was trans­formed into a vi­brant, in­flu­en­tial art colony as it be­came the epi­cen­tre of the Bri­tish Mod­ernist move­ment.

As stay­ca­tions be­come more and more pop­u­lar in an era when ne­go­ti­at­ing air­port se­cu­rity be­comes in­creas­ingly irk­some, Corn­wall’s fu­ture as a tourist hotspot and celebrity mag­net ap­pears as­sured.

CELEB NEIGH­BOURS: The Camerons, left, and from top, Gor­don Ram­say, Dawn French and Madonna

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