Remember strolling along the esplanade of your favourite seaside resort, building a sandcastle with pebble windows and a lolly stick flag and then licking a melting ice-cream with a flake?
Such memories are being turned into reality with the new trend for buyers to purchase a home in a cherished holiday spot where they enjoyed halcyon moments in their younger days.
Sandy Davenport from Knight Frank’s waterfront department in Exeter says she is finding many people enquiring about homes in such treasured places, particularly on the coast.
‘They had lovely times there when they were children and now want their own children to go there,’ she says. Also, there is an element in these uneasy times of people wanting to ‘find their simple childhood again,’ Mrs Davenport believes.
One of her clients, who nostalgically recalls idyllic vacations on Cornish beaches, recently bought a semi-detached house in St Mawes for £1.5 million.
‘Some people will buy a second home in their favourite holiday spot first,’ adds Mrs Davenport, ‘and then upgrade to a permanent home. Many are terrified where to put there money these days and a reminder of safer days seems to make sense.’
Property finder Mike Yates from Property Vision in the West Country agrees ‘there is an air of unhappiness in the City and people are saying, “We’ve had enough – let’s go.”’
There is a substantial influx of people into the Taunton area and those buying permanently might go further inland where there are more period homes costing around £3-£4 million. The South Hams are not ideal, however, as there not many good schools, while there are plenty around Taunton and Sherborne, he adds.
Dr Simon Travis, a radiologist at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, is selling Bridge House in a hamlet near Truro for £565,000 (through Humberts 01872 278288, www.humberts.co.uk). Having holidayed there as a boy, he bought the house nine years ago for his own family – his children are now 15, 11 and 17 months.
‘The place has so many good memories from when I was younger and also, when we brought our own children to the area on holiday when they were small.
‘In addition, it fits in with our interests today. My wife enjoys riding and other equestrian events and I like to go boating, fishing and surfing, which I’ve been able to do in buckets. We chose quality of life over the rat race and enjoy living so close to the sea,’ Dr Travis says.
If you favour having a babbling brook running through your garden and a stone bridge leading to your property, like Dr Travis, then perhaps one of these houses for sale in holiday spots in the UK might appeal.
Callachally House, Glen Forsa, Isle of Mull £420,000
James Carnegy-Arbuthnott of Buccleuch Town & Country (0131 220 7925, www.buccleuchtandco.com) says that ‘like salmon returning to spawn in the rivers where they started life, holiday-makers often are drawn back to the places where they have happy memories. Fond recollection of tranquil, stress-free hours spent on the riverbank catching salmon can encourage people to settle down permanently in these areas.’
Mr Carnegy-Arbuthnott is selling seven-bedroom Callachally House with a sun room and 1.2 acres within walking distance to the shoreline of the Sound of Mull only 10 miles from Craignure.
The Beach House, Porthpean, St Austell, Cornwall £2.25 million
A splendid late 19th century three-storey eight-bedroom villa with direct access to the beach, a home that rarely comes to the market according to Sandy Davenport from Knight Frank (01392 423111, www.knightfrank.com) could suit someone who wants to cash in his chips and move to Cornwall full time. The golf course is a five-minute walk and St Austell only three miles away.
A touch of LA glamour imported to Bexhill with Acorn Property Group’s Romy Summerskill’s family beachhouse. Mrs Sumerskill’s seven-bedroom contemporary home (designed by Glas Architects) was modelled on Richard Neutra’s Californian homes mixed with elements from the Thirties’ De La Warr Pavilion down the coast. More information from Acorn Blue 01637 876000, www.acornblue.co.uk