Residential Rural second homes

Where should you buy your second home?

Q4 2023

Whether your second home will be an investment or a weekend bolt-hole, here’s our pick of the top locations in England for a second home.

Figures published by the Resolution Foundation show that one in ten British adults now own a second home. For some, it’s an investment, whereas others want a place to stay for weekends and holidays. If you’re not sure where to start looking, then first consider what you want to get from your second home.

For example, if you live in London and want to use your property as a weekend retreat, then a place on the Kent coast will be more practical than a home in Cornwall, where you’ll spend half your weekend travelling. If you want to rent out your second home for some additional income, then it’s wise to choose a location where there’s a strong demand for holiday homes.

Bearing all that in mind, here are some of the best places to buy a second home.

An escape from the city

Many Londoners look south to Kent for an easy-access weekend getaway. The seaside towns of Margate and Broadstairs offer a mix of seaside nostalgia and a burgeoning café culture, with the bonus of fast, direct trains to London.

The Kent Downs stretch from the London/Surrey border down to the white cliffs of Dover and are renowned for their natural beauty. If you’re after a peaceful rural retreat, this charming family home is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside. Or have the best of both worlds, with a countryside home, less than fifteen minutes’ drive from the popular seaside town of Hythe.

Heading east out of London, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just a few miles from Ipswich, which has fast train connections to London. This tranquil and unspoilt landscape of shingle beaches, heather heathlands, estuaries and forests is peppered with picturesque villages. Situated between the Rivers Orwell and Deben just a few miles from the coastline of Felixstowe, 37 High Road is a 4 bedroom family house with games room and bar.

Head to the coast

One thing Britain is blessed with is a huge coastline. From golden-sand beaches to rugged cliffs, tiny fishing villages and breath-taking vistas, it’s no wonder that so many people dream of a home by the sea.

Cornwall tops many people’s list of UK summer holiday destinations and a hotspot for holiday homes. There’s a huge demand for self-catering accommodation, so you won’t struggle to rent your property to holidaymakers. This 3 bedroom home with indoor swimming pool is located in an elevated position in Looe, with stunning views across the Cornish coast.

Cornwall’s next-door neighbour, Devon is just as popular and a little closer to the rest of the country. Salcombe was voted the UK’s favourite coastal town last year, and with its golden sand beaches, great pubs and restaurants, and famous ice cream, it’s easy to see why. 9.7 per cent of properties here are second homes, one of the highest in the country.

Further along the coast, the traditional seaside town of Torquay has a bustling marina and excellent restaurants.

For vast windswept beaches, look to the north Norfolk coast or the north-east county of Northumberland. It may not have the look (or feel!) of the Mediterranean, but its raw beauty is second-to-none. You can get a lot for your money here from coastal apartments to countryside homes, and with historic market towns and castles on your doorstep, it’s the perfect place for family holidays.

Jason Roberts, Head of Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office, explains why Northumberland continues to be a property hotspot. “We’re so lucky here to have vast open countryside, protected rugged landscapes and heritage coastal towns with brilliant character – what’s not to love?”

A countryside retreat

The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are the home of the quintessential English country cottage. Stretching across five counties, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the largest in England and Wales. The honey-coloured villages and towns feel as if they’re from a different century, but many of the period homes, such as this Grade II listed Cotswold stone cottage, have been renovated to give a contemporary feel inside.

If you want to make money from your second home investment, the Cotswolds is a good choice. A holiday home here can generate up to £40,000 of income a year, compared to the English average of £36,000.

This three bedroom, period cottage would work well as a holiday let or a bolthole from city life. It’s situated in the village of Meysey Hampton which boasts an excellent pub. Pack your wellies and make the most of the fresh air and country walks.