It’s a Marmite kind of place, but whether you love it or steer well clear, Daylesford, the emporium for good-looking vegetables, speciality cheeses and rustic-chic items for the home has put this corner of the Cotswolds firmly on the glitterati map. Lady Bamford’s shop just outside Kingham, on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire border, first opened in 2002, when David Cameron was a local MP and no one had heard of the ‘Chipping Norton set’.
Since then, the Cotswolds has soared in popularity and, according to Crispin Holborow of Savills, some of this can be attributed to ‘the Daylesford effect’: ‘We’re so grateful to Lady Bamford. If only there were more houses for sale in the area- we’d have no trouble finding buyers.’ Jonathan Bramwell of The Buying Solution has come up with what he calls the ‘Daylesford triangle’ to describe the much-desired area of countryside that lies between Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Norton and Burford. ‘The existence of the shop is critical for second-home buyers from London, because they know Daylesford’s other stores in Notting Hill and Pimlico and they want to live near the original shop in the Cotswolds,’ he explains.
For some buyers, however, their loyalty is split. ‘Find me something either near Daylesford or Babington House,’ clients tell Bobby Hall, who covers the southern region for The Buying Solution. Babington, the private members’ club and hotel in Somerset that’s part of the Soho House family, is a popular weekend escape for wealthy Londoners. Brochures for country houses locally will often cite, next to the distance to train stations and local schools, their proximity to Babington House. ‘Many people don’t know where it is in Somerset. They might have been, but will have put the name into the satnav-they won’t say Frome or Radstock, just Babington,’ says Mr Hall. Such is the popularity of the place that one client, who was building a country house, had his favourite rooms at Babington, such as the library and the bar, measured up and bolted on to the design. ‘It’s certainly put this area on the map for country house buyers coming out of London.’
Although the fishing villages of Polzeath and Rock on the north Cornish coast have long been fashionable second-home spots, the chef Rick Stein has been responsible for the meteoric rise of Padstow on the opposite side of the Camel estuary. ‘And this has undoubtedly had an impact on house prices,’ says Jonathan Cunliffe from the Savills Truro office. The draw of visitors to his Seafood Restaurant and Rick Stein’s Cafe has encouraged other local businesses to grow up around them, including the Padstow Farm Shop at Trethillick, which is popular for its Padstow Pasta, made from the company’s own home-grown durum wheat. The ‘good food trail’ has also opened up markets elsewhere in the country for buyers who might not have previously considered them: the annual food festival, several Michelin starred restaurants and the organic food centre are a ‘big draw for buyers in Ludlow, Shropshire,’ says Tony Morris-Eyton of Savills.
Equally, in the riverside village of Bray in Buckinghamshire, you can hardly move for Michelin-starred outlets run by Heston Blumenthal. ‘It’s now a destination visited by the world’s rich and famous,’ explains Dean Smith of Hamptons International. ‘Large riverside homes start at £1 million.’ Around the Lake District, the Carter Jonas team highlights the towns of Cartmel and Cockermouth as two big draws: the former is known for the restaurant L’Enclume and the sticky-toffee pudding shop, and the latter has been identified as one of 51 ‘gem towns’ in Britain- by the Council for British Archaeology in conjunction with local authorities- and plays host to the Taste Cumbria food festival.
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