Whilst on a cottage holiday in Cornwall, the town of St. Austell and the surrounding area are well worth visiting. Inland St. Austell is one of Cornwall’s biggest towns and administrative centres, but is largely bypassed in order to reach the nearby beaches further along the coast, the main reason for any visit usually being to the nearby Eden Project. Far and away Cornwall’s most visited tourist attraction, this unique vision of the future has been created out of St. Austell’s past. The town’s main industry was once the extraction of china clay, a key component required for the production of porcelain. The Eden Project was built in a disused clay pit to showcase the vital symbiosis between people and plants. Three ‘biomes’, or massive geodesic domes, house the warm Temperate Zone, where Mediterranean species flourish, the Tropical Zone, planted with rainforest, and the Outside Biome, where plants indigenous to the UK, and particularly to Cornwall itself, are painstakingly nurtured on gigantic terraces. Thought-provoking play areas and nature trails provide both enjoyable and educational activities for younger visitors.
Another of St. Austell’s attractions inextricably linked to its mining past is the China Clay Country Park & Heritage Centre at Carthew, just north of the town. This family day out offers an exhaustive insight into every aspect of the extraction of china clay from the region’s mines, through reconstructions and interactive games, as well as providing plenty of fun for children, including a woodland walks and nature trails, commando-style adventure course, picnic areas, restaurant and shop. The St. Austell Brewery and Visitor Centre offers a chance to see the traditional brewing methods and the history of Cornish Ale in practise, with tours providing ample opportunity for sampling and purchase of the local brew.
Charlestown is the nearest stretch of sea to St. Austell, on the coast a mile or so from the town, and is home to the old-fashioned square-rigged ships often seen moored in the harbour. Stony beaches flank the harbour here; the sandier beaches of the wider St. Austell Bay area can be reached via cliff top walks to Polkerris and Carlyon bays, or Gribbin Head, location for Menabilly House, long-time home to author Daphne du Maurier. Visit the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, a vast collection of shipwreck artefacts and memorabilia including those from the Titanic and other famous wrecks, plus a detailed exhibition on Britain foremost admiral, Lord Nelson. For days when the weather is less than kind, Ben’s Play World will provide refuge and distraction for those with younger children. With its collection of bikes and cars, ball pits, mega slides, tubes and soft play areas, it provides an ideal environment for a wet weather day with little ones.
Why not take a look at our self catering cottages in St. Austell?