Try before you buy: find your dream holiday home while you travel the world from Cape Cod to Cornwall


We continue our look at inspirational ideas for holiday homes and places for travels in 2019, this week taking in the US East Coast, European foodie tours and, closer to home, the appeal of the Cornish coastline.

Boston and Cape Cod

New England’s elegant and highly cultured city, Boston is just six hours from London and its airport is only three miles from Downtown so, helped by the hour’s time difference, it’s perfectly possible to breakfast in London and enjoy lunch in Boston.

The city has a reputation for charm and brains. Its many top-flight universities and colleges include Harvard, and its great history encompasses its role as the birthplace of the American Revolution.

£784,000: a stone-and-shingle Victorian four-bedroom detached house with a garden in the city centre close to Boston Common

Boston is a green and leafy city, easy to walk around and with exceptional architecture including more homes dating from the Victorian era than anywhere outside London.

Boston is also the gateway to New England where autumn brings hordes of “leaf-peepers” to see the trees’ magnificent kaleidoscope of colours, from Maine to Massachusetts and up into Vermont.

Where to buy in Boston

In the city centre close to Boston Common, the oldest public park in the US, a stone-and-shingle Victorian four-bedroom detached house with a garden is £784,000. Near Boston Harbour and waterfront in popular Eastside, a 2,110sq ft three-bedroom Victorian house is £803,000, both through Sotheby’s International Realty.

Where to buy in Cape Cod

Cape Cod extends into the Atlantic Sea southwest of Boston and has been a low-key but upmarket place to holiday ever since President Kennedy’s family bought their homes there in the Fifties.

It’s romantic and natural, filled with distinctive pastel-painted clapboard houses leading down to undeveloped beaches. Play a round of golf, cycle along the waterfront, tour art galleries, climb lighthouses and eat freshly landed seafood — simple pleasures in pretty, family-focused towns and villages.

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£1.1 million: 181 Surf Drive, Falmouth, Cape Cod, a three-bedroom detached house built in 2000 in traditional New England clapboard

Falmouth, directly across the water from the island of Martha’s Vineyard on the southern side of Cape Cod, is 80 miles southwest of Boston. Its 68 miles of coastline includes 10 public sandy beaches and 14 harbours.

And while much of Cape Cod is seasonal, Falmouth is the second-largest municipality on Cape Cod with a truly year-round community.

Beautiful old houses, once home to sea captains, encircle the village green. Yet for all its history, it is a young, vibrant town with an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Live waterfront at 181 Surf Drive, a three-bedroom detached house built in 2000 in traditional New England clapboard with beautiful views directly over Vineyard Sound. The 1,905sq ft house sits in a quarter-acre plot steps from the sandy beach and is priced £1.1 million. Through Sotheby’s.

European food tours

Europe’s wonderful culinary variety is a major part of its appeal and there are plenty of opportunities for travellers to get involved in local food and wine production.

At Costa Navarino on the Greek Peloponnese, guests can help to make olive oil, following the journey from field to table. Belmond Castello di Casole in Tuscany allows guests to join in the truffle hunt alongside the talented sniffer dogs.

Or in Bordeaux check into L’École du Vin in the city centre for a crash course on wine tasting and production, taking anything from two hours to two weeks, before touring the famous vineyards of St Emilion.

Where to stay: Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, France

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in the small village of Bommes 50 minutes from Bordeaux airport is the first “first-growth” vineyard in the Bordeaux region to open as a hotel and restaurant.

Housed in an elegant 17th-century château, the hotel’s main feature is the 90 precious acres of vines that produce exceptional, sweet Sauternes wines.

The 13-room hotel opened last summer after a £9 million refurbishment, with 3,000 pieces of bespoke Lalique crystal and a modern glass-and-steel conservatory dining room overlooking the vines overseen by a two Michelin-star chef. Rooms start from £260 including breakfast.

Estate visits are offered daily from 10am to 6pm from £18 per person. The restaurant is open Thursday to Monday.

Where to buy: Costa Navarino, Greece

Sixty-five per cent of Greece’s total olive production comes from the Peloponnese, including the highly prized Kalamata olives.

Forty minutes from Kalamata airport — with direct BA flights — in the eastern Peloponnese, Costa Navarino is a five-star resort with two hotels, 21 restaurants, beach clubs, numerous pools, two golf courses and some of the best sports and children’s resort facilities in Europe.

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From £534,000: flats at five-star Costa Navarino resort with superb facilities in the eastern Peloponnese, Greece

Costa Navarino has sold freehold villas for the past two years and new for this year are two-suite apartments of 1,290sq ft, some with a private infinity pool and some directly beside the mile-long sandy beach.

Owners can use their apartment for eight weeks each year, otherwise putting it into the fully managed rental programme with guaranteed four per cent rental returns for the first five years. Prices start from £534,000.

Cornwall

Last summer’s sun-filled days have British tourism hoping for a positive 2019 boost as more of us choose to holiday at home — a staycation trend that was already on the rise. Cornwall, our favourite summer holiday destination, has been working hard to offer sophisticated families more choice, catering for surfers, young families and sport-mad visitors at a variety of price points.

Celebrity chefs including Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver have inspired local foodies to raise their game. Try Pavilion Bakery in Newquay, the latest outpost of the family-run London bakery and restaurant, or sample the wood-fired menu at local favourite Scott and Babs in Retorrick Mill, St Mawgan.

Where to stay: Watergate Bay Hotel

Families have holidayed at Watergate Bay Hotel along a two-mile sandy stretch of North Cornwall since the Sixties. Even when the Cornish weather does its worst, guests have plenty to do at this family-run resort: swim in the indoor pool, relax in the spa, use the first-class Kids Club or zip into wetsuits and brave the surf.

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Keep busy: dip in the indoor pool, use the spa or the Kids Club, or zip into wetsuits and brave the surf at Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall

New this summer is Watchful Mary, a lively waterfront bar set on the sea wall that replaces the original RNLI hut. The lifeguard will be based on the first floor with the bar and terrace above, serving cocktails, craft beers and small plates to enjoy as the sun sets.

Rooms from £185 bed and breakfast.

Don’t miss Europe’s cultural highlights for 2019

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and both Italy and France, where he died, have commemorative events.

Villa rental company Tuscany Now & More has introduced a cultural tour of Florence and Tuscany celebrating the maestro’s life and works for guests staying in its villas. Prices for the three-day tour are £465 per person including transport.

In Basilicata, southern Italy, the extraordinary city of Matera is the European Capital of Culture 2019 and a Unesco World Heritage Site built around 7,000-year-old Sassi, cave dwellings cut into the steep limestone cliffs.

EasyJet joins BA this summer with flights from Gatwick to Bari airport, one hour away.

Paris unveils a Francis Bacon exhibition at the Pompidou Centre from September to January 2020 and in the same month, extends the Entente Cordiale with a Musée du Luxembourg exhibition entitled The Golden Age of British Painting, a homage to 18th-century greats Gainsborough, Turner, Constable and Reynolds.

Where to stay: Hotel Grand Boulevards, Paris

Close to Leonardo’s masterpiece the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and within 20 minutes stroll of all Paris’s main highlights, Hotel Grand Boulevards opened last year in an 18th-century townhouse.

A sister to London’s Henrietta Hotel, it focuses on laid-back style, an extensive cocktail list and warm service. Nightly room rates start from £200.

Where to buy in Paris

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£631,000: a fully-remodelled one-bedroom flat on the fifth floor of a Marais building. Through Vingt Paris

The Marais is prime historic Paris, its narrow, characterful streets packed with boutique shops and bijoux bars and cafés. This is where you get closest to the medieval city, with pre-revolutionary buildings that are a world away from the wide, central Haussmann boulevards. A pretty one-bedroom flat on the fifth floor of a mid-1800s building — which has a lift — in the Marais offers romantic views over Parisian rooftops from its narrow balcony. Fully remodelled, the flat is for sale at £631,000, with proven rental returns of a least £2,220 a month net. Through Vingt Paris.

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