When throwing a right Royal knees up, nobody does it better than the British.
But might this summer’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations also provide an insight into the best places to buy a home?
The race for space since the pandemic has meant an outflow of people from big cities to smaller towns and villages — the places where some of the biggest and best Jubilee celebrations are being held over the special four-day weekend beginning on June 2.
Indeed, if community spirit is high on your list when thinking about moving home then it’s worth checking out the standard of Jubilee parties.
Community spirit: Topsham’s Longest Table street party for the Queen’s Jubilee
The Government says there are more than 800 events of different kinds and 1,100 street parties planned.
Many are on a modest scale and are being organised by councils, but some of the most spectacular will be run by volunteers.
A good example is Topsham on the edge of Exeter in Devon, where volunteers already run a successful museum, swimming pool, library and a string of community groups.
The population of 6,000 will be commemorating Her Majesty by organising a picnic, food festival and a procession, with the weekend culminating in a street meal called the Longest Table, where over 2,400 people will celebrate with food and fizz at 5pm on June 5.
‘This is such an active place that the Jubilee weekend is just one of many events. Every year there’s an Open Gardens event, a 100-mile cycle ride, a special Charter Week celebrating the town’s history, and 25 clubs and associations.
Celebration: There are 1,100 street parties being planned across the UK, the Government says
‘This sort of community is what draws in buyers from elsewhere in the country — they love it,’ says Chris Taylor, a partner in the East of Exe estate agency in the town.
Topsham is not alone. In the Cotswolds, the pretty village of Broadway is also putting on the style with a classic car demonstration, open-air screening of a recording of the 1952 Coronation, plus a display of circus skills on the green.
‘The village has a thriving community of varying interests that often draws both visitors and new residents in.
‘Many events are held on the Lower Green, for instance the Broadway Arts Festival, recognised as being the Cotswolds’ leading arts festival and attracts visitors from far and wide,’ says Richard Righton, of Hamptons estate agency.
In Lincolnshire, meanwhile, the small town of Horncastle has brass bands, decorated floats, a Spitfire fly-by and a Great British Sunday Lunch — again, organised by dedicated locals.
‘The pandemic has altered the concept of ‘community’. So many people have become good friends with neighbours who previously only exchanged a cursory greeting,’ says Craig Fuller of Stacks Property Search, a buying agency.
‘Home-owners have created sitting-out space at the front of their houses, villagers without a front garden will put a couple of chairs on the pavement. It’s a big positive that’s come out of a terrible time.’
This trend is one of the reasons why the largest house price rises have been seen in Wales, up 14.2 per cent in the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics, followed by Scotland on 11.7 per cent.
Within England, the regions seeing the biggest price hikes over the past 12 months have been the South-West and East Anglia — both up 12.5 per cent.
London and other urban areas where there has traditionally been less community cohesion have fared less well.
However, agents report that the majority of movers shifting from cities have been notable for moving to towns and larger villages — typically not to extreme countryside locations.
‘Most people don’t want to be stuck out on a limb in the middle of nowhere but want a property located somewhere with a bit of life.
‘I’m acting for some Americans who are moving over to retire to England and want to be almost parachuted into a community,’ says Robin Gould, director of Prime Purchase, a buying agency linked to Savills.
‘The first question buyers ask us is ‘what’s the place like?’ It’s an age-old trend and one that’s unlikely to change,’ he adds.
So how can you judge an active community and explore facilities before taking the plunge and buying a home?
You can use the internet either by feeding the location name into Google or checking out villagesonline.com which lists community websites. If you’re moving to London, local websites are listed on london-se1.co.uk.
Party time: Some of the Jubilee events being planned include food festivals, processions and screenings of the 1952 coronation
Phil Spencer’s top tips
Meanwhile, TV property guru Phil Spencer, who runs the Move iQ website for people considering buying and selling has four additional tips.
First, he says if there’s a local pub, community centre or village hall near where you consider moving, make use of it. ‘You’re bound to get the lowdown of what’s on and what’s not to be missed,’ he says.
Second, he suggests becoming a tourist before you move in. ‘Get a local map, don your walking shoes and take yourself on a tour of your new area.’
Third, when you do move in, throw a housewarming party to get to know neighbours, and fourth do some volunteer work if you have time: ‘It’s a great way to support your community and quickly get to know local people,’ says Spencer.
Or you can wait for the fragrance of Coronation Chicken to reach you from the best of those street parties in June — it’s likely to be a weekend to remember, and a way of finding Britain’s liveliest localities to boot.
On the market… with parties planned
Devon: Located in the centre of Topsham, this house on Retreat Road has three bedrooms, two living rooms and retains some 1930s features. Wilkinsongrant.co.uk, 01392 799 061. £550,000
Worcestershire: Dating back to 1660, this house in Broadway has five bedrooms plus a one-bedroom holiday flat, and has good views of this Cotswolds village. Hamptons.co.uk, 01386 210 184. £1.35million
Lincolnshire: This partly-converted watermill in Horncastle has one bedroom, comes with over an acre of land and has fantastic views over open fields. Savills.com, 0339 873 648. £425, 000