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A small market town on the South coast once dominated by the clay mining industry, less important now but still having a large influence on employment in the area. Not usually acquainted with the tourist industry but this is rapidly gathering pace which is illustrated by the growing number of guest houses and tourist parks.
Click here for view, beaches and attractions in the St.Austell area
The town offers:
All shopping requirements including high street names
Multi screen cinema
Tourist information centre (found on the A390 St Austell By-Pass)
The Eden Project (probably the futures main attraction in the Country)
The Lost Gardens of Heligan (very popular with locals and visitors alike)
Lanhydrock House/Gardens (popular all year round, try a cream tea)
Charlestown Harbour (tall ships and popular with film makers)
Mevagissey (a popular working fishing port)
Numerous Country Inns (excellent good value meals)
Camping and Caravanning in the Pentewan Valley
Good safe sandy beaches at Pentewan, Porthpean, Crinnis and Gorran Haven
Truro City - 20 mins drive
Newquay - 30 mins drive
Summary: St Austell is understandably growing in popularity, it is a good central touring base with several interesting and popular attractions on its doorstep
St Austell nestles at a geographical intersection of three valleys, the Bodmin Valley, the Gover Valley and the Pentewan valley.
Over the years the town has enjoyed great prosperity thanks in the main to its mining heritage, tin, copper and clay. Unfortunately in 1865 there was a collapse in the price of tin and copper leading to the emigration of many miners to America, Australia and South Africa, this was widespread throughout Cornwall, hence the saying, 'Look down any pit in the world and you will find a Cornishman'.
However, the clay industry continued to grow at a pace and is still a major employer to this day. This is quite evident by the numerous 'sand burrow' ('The Cornish Alps') scattered around mid Cornwall, these can clearly be seen in the distance from many roads when entering Cornwall, and is indeed a major attraction for the area. This is explained in detail on: www.wheal-martyn.com.
For many years St Austell was a thriving market town with a large livestock market and a favourite shopping area for all the local villages. Today, the town is in the middle of a massive regeneration program. Although the town centre is largely unchanged it is no longer regarded as the main centre for shopping for the area. For essential shopping many locals use the large superstores on the St Austell by-pass, these include Asda, Tesco, Homebase and B & Q.
Close-by, near Par is also the Cornish Market World, the largest indoor market in the UK.
St Austell is in an excellent position in the county for touring, most places can be reached within an hours drive, it also benefits from being on the main rail link.
The accommodation in St Austell has grown considerably over recent years, due in the main to the Eden Project. This has brought many thousands of tourist to the area who otherwise would not have realized the potential of the area, this has encouraged other attractions to expand and improve their business.
Both the Bed and Breakfast in St Austell and the self catering in St Austell has become very successful and is well promoted by the Cornwall Tourist Board, people have discovered that the accommodation in St Austell is surrounded by interesting places to visit.
The picturesque fishing port of Mevagissey (see Mevagissey page for full information)
The little harbour at Charlestown with its Tall Ships and Shipwreck centre, see:
www.square-sail.com & www.shipwreckcharlestown.com
Just to the north of the town is the clay mining waste 'The Cornish Alps which have become an attraction in themselves. See www.wheal-martyn.com .Another major event for St Austell and the surrounding area is undoubtedly the Daphne Du Maurier Festival, held each year during mid May for one week. Each year there is entertainment, star names, drama, music, talks, concerts, guided walks, local events and free entertainment. This combination makes the Daphne Du Maurier Festival one of the most popular of its kind in the country. Full details can be seen on: www.dumaurier.org
Although the accommodation for the Daphne Du Maurier Festival is mostly centred around Fowey it does stretch to neighbouring places such as St Austell, Looe and Lostwithiel.
Fowey, a picturesque estuary town. (full description on the Fowey page).
St Austell probably has the best selection of Gardens in the county.
Gardens in St Austell
The Eden Project - The Eden Project is Cornwall's latest major attraction and is undoubtedly the reason for the town's initial rise in popularity. Although the Eden Project is not as popular as it once was it continues to be a major attraction for the Cornwall Tourist. (www.edenproject.com). Eden Project accommodation can be found mainly in St Austell but other accommodation for the Eden Project can be found in neighbouring villages such as St Blazey, Trewoon, London Apprentice, Charlestown and Grampound.
Most of the local accommodation for the Eden Project consists of small guest houses although there are some large hotels in St Austell.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan - Like the Eden Project the Lost Gardens of Heligan are St Austell based. One of the most popular in Cornwall, with long walks, nature trails and a nice cream tea in a very pleasant restaurant at the end of it; a very nice day indeed. See www.heligan.com for further details.
Pine Lodge Gardens - Pine Lodge Gardens is situated on one of the main approach roads into St Austell. Most of the accommodation in St Austell within easy access. A lovely garden with tea room. See www.pine-lodge.co.uk for further details.
Caerhayes Castle and Garden – situated in a deep valley alongside Caerhayes beach this splendid garden is only open at certain times of the year, see www.caerhayes.co.uk for full details.
Boconnoc Garden – near Lostwithiel, a nice way to spend a few hours, see www.boconnocenterprises.co.uk .
Headland Garden at Fowey - see www.headlandgarden.co.uk
Marsh Villa Gardens - see www.marshvillagardens.co.uk
Tregrehan Gardens - see www.tregrehan.org
Trewithen Gardens - between St Austell and Truro, a pleasant walk around the grounds, a good nursery and tea room, see www.trewithengardens.co.uk for further details.
Hidden Valley Gardens – a lovely little garden near par, see www.hiddenvalleygardens.co.uk for futher details.
Most of the self catering in St Austell can be found in the Pentewan Valley, between St Austell and Mevagissey.
In the main this consists of:
Camping in St Austell
Caravan parks in St Austell.
There is very little self catering in St Austell town area, most of this is found a short distance away towards the coast and Mevagissy
Like much of the accommodation in Cornwall, very little of the accommodation in St Austell provides an evening meals, a few of the larger hotels in St Austell however do provide this service. The main reason why the small guest houses in Cornwall do not provide this, is in the main due to the cost and the excellent value provided by local restaurants and pubs. St Austell is no exception to this, there is a wide choice available to suite every pocket:
Both the Asda and Tesco Supermarkets have restaurants at very reasonable prices, Asda probably being the best.
McDonalds on the St Austell By-pass
St Austell town centre has very little to offer in the way of restaurants but there is a good selection of tea rooms.
Many of the gardens also provide meals, this includes The Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Country Inns are always a good option, there are several around St Austell, these include the Polgooth Inn, the White Pyramid (www.thewhitepyramid.co.uk ), for a comprehensive list in the area, see www.wagtailinns.com
There are also an excellent choice of restaurants, to mention a few:
The 'Revival' restaurant at Charlestown. This directly overlooks the harbour and is of excellent quality. www.cornwall-revival.co.uk for full details
Also at Charlestown is the Pier House restaurant, again situated right on the harbour front. www.pierhousehotel.com for further details.
The Beeches restaurant at Charlestown - see www.thebeechescharlestown.co.uk
The Boscundle Manor on the outskirts of St Austell at Tregrehan, see www.boscundlemanor.co.uk
The Trewhiddle Inn in the Pentewan Valley – see www.trewhiddleinn.co.uk
The Kings Wood restaurant on the St Austell to Mevagissey road at London Apprentice, a very pleasant restaurant offering good quality meals at reasonable prices. Sorry, no website available.
The 'Reflections' restaurant at the Porth Avallen Hotel overlooking St Austell Bay. See www.porthavallen.co.uk
The Eastern Paradise Restaurant at Carlyon Bay on the outskirts of St Austell. See www.easternparadise.co.uk.
For a comprehensive list of restaurant in Cornwall please see: www.cornwalls.co.uk/food/restaurants_and_cafes/
Of course if you are staying in accommodation in St Austell and you wish to try something a little special or unusual not too far distant is:
Rick Stein Restaurant at Padstow - see www.rickstein.com
The Jamie Oliver fifteen restaurant at Watergate Bay - see www.15cornwall.co.uk
This website is designed to provide the would-be visitor to Cornwall with as much St Austell tourist information as possible including a comprehensive list of good value and quality accommodation in St Austell and the whole of Cornwall.
Should you not be able to find what you require whilst in St Austell, the Cornwall Tourist Board with a good selection of St Austell tourist information is available on the St Austell by-pass.
It is not realized but like most accommodation in Cornwall is near the sea, the St Austell accommodation is no exception.
The nearest is at Charlestown which is only a few minutes drive. Although very popular with its tall ships and good pubs and restaurants the beach is covered with large pebbles and not recommended.
The second nearest is at Carlyon Bay - like St Austell this is under a massive regeneration and not recommended.
Pentewan beach is both sandy and flat. Situated just a 10 min drive from St Austell. Access to the beach is restricted and it is recommended that vehicles are left in Pentewan village car park and the beach is just a short stroll away.
Porthpean Beach - a lovely little sandy cove offering safe bathing, just a few minutes drive from St Austell. Park virtually on the beach. Toilets/beach café/shop .
Caerhayes Beach is approximately 20 mins drive - lovely sandy beach – toilets/café
Gorran Haven beaches – very popular sandy coves approximately 20 minutes from St Austell.
Vault Beach – a long stretch of sand under the Dodman Point – largely undiscovered and not the easiest to get to. Can be approached either along the cliff path from Gorran Haven or from the National Trust car park above Gorran Haven.
There are several more little coves and headland walks around the Mevagissey/Gorran Haven/Caerhayes area.