Cornwall's secret riviera

With its unique climate and pretty houses, Flushing is the ideal place for a young family
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The Independent Online

Falmouth is a Cornish town familiar to most people, famous for its sailing connections and glorious countryside surroundings, as well as being the place where Ellen MacArthur landed after completing her record-breaking solo sailing trip. It's one of the largest natural harbours in the world, with a mouth a mile wide, and the working dockyard provides for ocean-going ships as well as many smaller marinas.

Falmouth is a Cornish town familiar to most people, famous for its sailing connections and glorious countryside surroundings, as well as being the place where Ellen MacArthur landed after completing her record-breaking solo sailing trip. It's one of the largest natural harbours in the world, with a mouth a mile wide, and the working dockyard provides for ocean-going ships as well as many smaller marinas.

Not so well-known, though, is the village of Flushing, lying on the opposite bank of the Fal Estuary. Originally known as Nankersey, it was built in 17th century by the Dutch, who came to build piers and sea walls. They found it such an idyllic spot that they settled here, naming it after their home town of Flushing in Holland.

With its fine buildings and picturesque location, it soon became known as a village of style and refinement, attracting captains of the fleets of packet ships and their families, who moved themselves in but sent their riff-raff crews to stay across the river at Falmouth and Penryn.

Sheltered by a headland overlooking the waters of Carrick Roads, Flushing is reputed to have the mildest climate in England, with temperatures a degree warmer than its surrounding neighbours. With a south-westerly aspect, the houses bask in the summer sun and the quay becomes bakingly hot.

Ten miles from Truro, with a mainline train service running directly to Paddington in four-and-a-half hours, Flushing is ideally situated for those who wish to enjoy some of the finest day sailing in the country, but who still appreciate city life: air travellers can fly from London Stansted to Newquay, only 35 minutes from Flushing.

The cosmopolitan population is created by the many old local families who have been joined more recently by members of the yachting fraternity and newcomers from all over the world. Most of the buildings are tastefully renovated 17th- and 18th-century houses, elegantly built in the Dutch Cape style, which sit side by side with some of Cornwall's finest waterside mansions.

Crucially, its situation at the end of the Trefussis road means that Flushing is spared the onslaught of holiday traffic that plagues so much of Cornwall - the narrow waterside streets of the village provide a safe environment and children run around unfettered.

The village has a post office, two pubs and a village shop, as well as a popular fish restaurant that sits right on the quay, The Sticky Prawn. There is also a primary school which is attended by village children and others from across the water in Falmouth. A ferry runs hourly throughout the day, half-hourly in the summer, taking schoolchildren, commuters and shoppers on the five-minute trip across the estuary to Falmouth, from where the Enterprise boats make frequent journeys up the river to Truro. Other ferries run the trip to St Mawes and Frenchman's Creek in Helford.

As a sailing centre, Flushing is unsurpassed, and most of the locals own boats of one type or another. Around the headland from Flushing, Mylor Sailing School, a former training ground for Ben Ainslie, the Olympic medallist, provides excellent tuition for keen sailors. There are yacht clubs at Falmouth, Mylor and Flushing, and plenty of moorings at all the waterside pubs.

Every summer, Flushing holds its annual regatta week. The locals take part in swimming and sailing races, including the mad bath-tub race, crabbing competitions, greasy pole fights, and snail races. There is also a sand-sculpture competition on the Trefussis beach.

When Mary Louisville moved to her quayside cottage in Flushing from London two years ago, she and her husband had spent months trawling through isolated countryside buildings in need of renovation.

"The area is the perfect compromise for us; the children have everything they need in Falmouth, and they can nip across the water on the ferry to meet their friends. And we have great bands down here, such as Athlete, who played during Falmouth Week. Flushing is a living fishing village, where the boats go out in all weathers. The only noise that disturbs us at night is the sound of the fishermen landing their catch on the quay outside our house."

There is a huge range in property prices, but the market is comparable to London, with prices starting at £185,000 for a two-bedroom cottage.

Fact Box

Celebrity quota

Ellen MacArthur recently landed at nearby Falmouth after completing her record-breaking solo sailing trip. And Ben Ainslie trained at the sailing school in Flushing.

Weather wise

Its microclimate means the village enjoys the mildest temperatures in England

How to get there

Flights from London Stansted to Newquay airport, which is 35 minutes' drive away.

Special events

Enjoy crabbing competitions and snail races? Flushing holds its annual regatta every summer

Cost of living

House prices from £185,000 for a cottage to well over £2m

Flushing's USP

Very little holiday traffic, as the town is situated at the end of the Trefussis Road

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