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Home away from home

Words by Ysy Lees

With beautiful properties in every corner of Cornwall, this family-run agency is the gateway to your dream Cornish retreat.

Established in 1964, Cornish Traditional Cottages remains the oldest holiday lettings agency in the county, and with the best interests of the Duchy in mind it’s no wonder the company has stood the test of time. It was over a decade ago that the original owners, Michael and Dawn, bought a derelict, old cottage in Padstow for family use, the first of many they would reclaim over the next ten years. Very soon, friends, and friends of friends, began asking the couple if they could market their holiday homes too; before long they were managing a whole portfolio of properties, and Cornish Traditional Cottages was born. 

Comprising a close-knit team of six individuals, all native to Cornwall and proud residents of the county, this independent and family-run business stands out against larger corporate entities, national agencies and regional firms. The hard-working team takes pride in their knowledge of Cornwall and naturally the properties that call it home; loving every inch of the land that surrounds them they are true experts on the area, meaning they can hand pick the perfect property for you. With over 50 years of experience, the agency has fine-tuned everything they do with exacting standards for both the quality of properties it markets and the service it provides. Because of its fantastic customer experience, Cornish Traditional Cottages is a Platinum Trusted Feefo member so you know you can book with confidence every time. The team’s stability, with members remaining unchanged for over six years, fosters strong working partnerships which allows business to flourish. Often selected for its personal touch, the consistency of Cornish Traditional Cottages means homeowners are greeted by familiar faces in its office and individuals who are well-acquainted with them, their holiday homes and their needs. 

These homes range from a selection of more than 170, situated throughout Cornwall, encompassing inland, coastal, village, moor and town locations. In the beginning, as the name suggests, Michael and Dawn focussed on traditional Cornish cottages but, as time went on, this evolved into a portfolio of cosy fishermen’s cottages, contemporary apartments and stylish, spacious homes. From family and dog-friendly properties complete with swimming pools to cosy coastal breaks for two, the agency promises a variety of unique and equally as beautiful retreats. While Cornish Traditional Cottages ensures something for everyone, it also has a commitment to diversity. Rather than narrowing its focus to a specific area, it consistently offers a broad assortment of holiday homes across the entire county, with the exclusion of homes on holiday parks, lodges, or glamping accommodation. 

The variety of properties, both in terms of location and character, is important in helping visitors make the most of Cornwall’s diverse landscape, which provides a tapestry of natural wonders. Inviting exploration and adventure, it is these homes that are the gateway to making every inch of the Duchy accessible. From rugged cliffs and golden beaches along the dramatic coastline to the rolling hills of the countryside, Cornwall offers a multifaceted playground. Hike the South West Coast Path for breathtaking sea views or delve into the idyllic countryside, discovering hidden valleys and quaint villages. The inland moors beckon with their wild beauty and historic sites while Cornwall’s varying terrain creates a canvas for a range of activities. From cycling and horse riding to hot air ballooning, an immersive experience in the heart of nature is never too far away. If you prefer to spend time in the water, embrace the countless opportunities for surfing and kayaking in the tranquil River Fal or spend time relaxing by the water’s edge as waves lap against the golden shores. Whether you seek serenity in the countryside or the thrill of coastal adventures, Cornwall’s diverse landscape ensures there’s something for every explorer, which is exactly why Cornish Traditional Cottages don’t play favourites. With a love for the county that runs as deep as theirs, the team knows there’s something special here for everyone to enjoy. Take your pick from 170 holiday cottages throughout Cornwall; choose a sea-salty surf holiday in Newquay, Perranporth or Polzeath, book a romantic getaway in the ancient fishing villages of Port Isaac and Mousehole, or explore the picturesque sights of St Ives.

This love of its homeland is perhaps why the agency has stood the test of time. Staying true to its values and principles means its status as a family-run business hasn’t once faltered during its existence. In a market often driven by rapid wins, deceptive marketing promises and high staff turnovers, Cornish Traditional Cottages takes pride in maintaining its authenticity. This sometimes means standing firm in providing genuine advice, even if it doesn’t always align with the preferences of owners or guests. Despite this, retaining the reliable family values that have ensured the agency’s success is of utmost importance to the team. The autonomy of team members enables them to make decisions that ultimately prioritise the customer’s best interest over the immediate financial gains of the business. With a commitment solely to Cornwall and no plans to diversify outside of the Duchy, the goals of the agency are simple: to continue its impressive legacy as a family-run enterprise, offering a diverse array of holiday homes throughout the region. 

I think when trying to capture the essence of Cornish Traditional Cottages, Managing Director George Edward-Collins says it best: “Cornish Traditional Cottages is more than a mere booking agency; we are a cherished, independent, family-run business, proudly holding the title of the oldest in the county. Our dedication extends far beyond conventional services, crafting a truly personal and bespoke partnership that embodies the core of our family values.”

From the initial interaction with owners extending throughout its partnership, the genuine family ethos of the agency is what lies at the heart of its longevity and sets it apart from others offering a more corporate approach. As a result of these carefully nurtured relationships, the best and most varied of Cornwall’s properties wait to welcome you with open arms to immerse yourself in the county’s captivating landscape and coastal climes. 


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