Cornwall Life takes a look at life and property in Launceston, Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 10:51 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:39 20 February 2013

Cornwall Life takes a look at life and property in Launceston, Cornwall

Cornwall Life takes a look at life and property in Launceston, Cornwall

With its winding streets, interesting architecture and a thriving community of over 8,000 people, Launceston has become a popular place to call home, writes Bernard Cole

Lets move to... Launceston

With its winding streets, interesting architecture and a thriving community of over 8,000 people, Launceston has become a popular place to call home, writes Bernard Cole

As the largest town in the area between Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, Launceston began life as an early Celtic settlement. As the settlement grew, the inhabitants and their first Christian church were established at nearby St Stephens, the subsequent site of a royal mint and an ecclesiastical foundation.

Responsible for centuries for guarding Cornwalls border, Launceston was also the countys ancient capital. As a fortress town overlooking the Tamar Valley its always been notable for its strategically important castle, built in the late 11th century. Over the centuries it has changed hands, been redeveloped and fallen into disrepair several times. It even housed the county jail until 1842.

Launceston has proudly guarded its history and unique character. Stroll along its quiet streets and youll come across examples of virtually every architectural style since the Norman Conquest. One of the best ways to get a feel for the towns character is to follow the Town Trail. There are long and short versions and they wind their way through much of the medieval town, now a designated Conservation Area of Outstanding Status. Along the way, take in the enchanting Lawrence House Town Museum, which provides a fascinating insight into the social history of the town and its inhabitants.

Modern-day Launceston, with its winding streets, interesting architecture and colourful specialist shops, boasts a lively and thriving community of over 8,000 people and has become an increasingly popular place to call home. Its easy access to the main A30 has seen a surge in recent years of both light industrial development and house building to meet the demands of its expanding population. With five schools serving the town and surrounding area and an impressive range of sport and leisure facilities on the doorstep, theres little reason not to play an active part in this attractive community.

What can I get for my money?
Most of the properties coming onto the market at the moment are family homes. From Victorian town houses to period terraced cottages and modern two, three and four-bedroom houses, there is a wide range of styles from which to choose.
Price is, of course, dependent on the style and size of property but the market over recent months has seen a number of substantial period four- and five-bedroom family homes upwards of 280,000 offered for sale. Smaller two- and three-bedroom houses start at around 130,000.

Transport links
Though bypassed by the main A30, but only just, Launceston is perfectly placed on the countys main road network for the visitor, resident or business user. Almost equidistant between the north and south coasts, this means that the commercial centres of Truro, St Austell, Penzance, and even Plymouth and Exeter, are all within easy reach. The same goes for the many tourist resorts and beaches throughout the county. Newquay airport is just a 30 minute drive away. The nearest main line rail station serving both inter-city and commuter services is 20 miles to the south at Liskeard.

Unlike many towns of similar size, Launceston has a vibrant, friendly and diverse shopping centre, with intimate shopping arcades and narrow shop-lined streets radiating from the High Street. Edge-of-town retail parks, with outlets for just about everything, also provide for most other requirements. From ironmongers and drapers to furnishers, banking and professional services, specialist food shops, quality restaurants and supermarkets, the town has them all. In fact, many customers travel to the town looking specifically for items no longer stocked by city-centre department stores. Theres even a small multi-storey car park within walking distance of the town centre. So, if the bustle of the larger city shopping areas doesnt appeal, a helping of retail therapy in Launceston might just be whats needed.

Out and about
Bodmin Moor, Cornwalls largest open space, with its granite tors and population of free-roaming ponies, sheep and cattle, is just a couple of miles away, and nearby is the glorious Tamar Valley with its fishing, walking trails and wooded hillsides.

With its huge selection of plants and a showroom crammed full of horticultural delights, Homeleigh Garden Centre has everything from snakes to dog food, and an angling department. There are greenhouses and gazebos, garden furniture, country clothing and a new food/delicatessen hall.

Visit the town museum at Lawrence House. This fine Georgian building is located in a street described by John Betjemen as having the most perfect collection of town houses in Cornwall. The Launceston Steam Railway has two-and-a-half miles of narrow gauge track runs down through the beautiful Kensey Valley and attracts visitors from across the country. Dont forget beautiful St Thomas Church that was first mentioned in 1288, though its present structure dates from the early 1400s.

With an impressive range of sport and leisure facilities, including the Phoenix Leisure Centre, golf courses, rugby, cricket and soccer clubs, and a host of other activities to pursue, theres no excuse for having nothing to do in Launceston.

The town has a thriving cultural and arts community. Check the town visitor centre for details of local clubs and societies. For sport fanatics, the Phoenix Leisure Centre has a heated pool, squash courts, fitness suite, an activity hall and a range of grass and synthetic turf pitches. Launceston Golf Club is at St Stephens on the outskirts of town.

For further information contact Launcestons Tourist Information Centre on 01566 772321.

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