Location Guide: Charlestown
August 21st, 2023
Imagine an unspoilt seaside village with an undisturbed Georgian harbour full of tall, historic ships, pretty cobbled pathways, endless views and cosy sea-front cottages that overlook turquoise Cornish water that touches a calm, tranquil beach. It sounds like a coastal dream, doesn’t it?
Well, this place does exist. Welcome to Charlestown! Charlestown is one of Cornwall’s gems known for being the set of many major Hollywood productions and full of welcoming and homey eateries.
Where is Charlestown?
Charlestown is an idyllic, picturesque village on Cornwall’s south coast. Only a 40-minute drive from our luxury cornish cottages, this peaceful village hosts a small shingle beach on either side of its Grade 2 listed harbour that overlooks St Austell Bay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect place for couples and families to relax and take in the beauty Cornwall has to offer.
Image credit: Steve Cook under CC BY-NC 2.0
How Far is Charlestown From St Austell?
Charlestown is approximately 2 miles from St Austell’s town centre, so quite close! If you’re keen to stretch those legs and walk from St Austell to Charlestown at a relaxed pace, it’ll take roughly 25-30 minutes. Or, if you’d prefer to jump in the car, it’s only a 5-10 minute drive (depending on traffic).
Just a heads up, don’t be surprised if you struggle to find parking during the summertime (as this is a small village). You will most likely need to pay for parking, too, so our advice would be to arrive as early as possible during the summer holidays to make the most out of your day!
What to do in Charlestown, Cornwall?
If you want to visit a film or TV set, simply walk around Charlestown Harbour! Initially known for being a thriving fishing port of West Polmear exporting china clay, Charlestown is now famous for being the set of many major Hollywood productions such as Pirates of The Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, Doctor Who, and was recently the primary set of major BBC’s hit TV series, Poldark. In our previous blog, we go into more detail about movies and shows filmed in Charlestown. You may be able to recognise some parts of the village that have been on the big screen!
Charlestown is also home to Europe’s biggest shipwreck museum, the ‘Shipwreck Treasure Museum’, where you can see thousands of shipwreck artefacts recovered from over 150 wrecks.
Looking for a bite to eat? Charlestown has a range of traditional pubs, restaurants and tasty cafes, and you won’t be disappointed with the food or drinks. Indulge as much as you’d like (guilt-free) on the Cornish quayside!
How does a breathtaking coastal walk sound? Enjoy the beautiful views on offer by walking the circular route from the port of Charlestown to the sheltered cove of Porthpean. Charlestown is also on the South-West coastal path, so stop off here and look around if you’re passing through. It’ll be worth it.
Image credit: Mr Eugene Birchall under CC BY-SA 2.0
If you’re in the Charlestown area, another must-see attraction you should visit is The Eden Project. Hosting the world’s largest indoor rainforest biome and a huge Mediterranean biome, immersing yourself in this architectural and biological engineering paradise will feel other-worldly.
Are Dogs Allowed on Charlestown Beach?
If you’re travelling with a furry friend, you won’t be able to take your beloved dog onto Charlestown Beach. Charlestown’s shingle beach is relatively small, so it’s understandable that there is an all-year-round dog ban, making it perfect for those looking for a dog-free beach to relax. However, you can bring your pet along the harbour and enjoy the rest of this stunning village, so don’t let that put you off from visiting! Our previous blog recommends the best dog-friendly beaches when making a trip to Cornwall.
Image credit: N Chadwick under CC BY-SA 2.0
Is Charleston Harbour Open?
Exploring Charlestown Harbour is free of charge, and the inner harbour is open from April to October to the public all year round. The harbour may only be closed to the public if there’s exceptionally stormy weather. If so, check out our blog on rainy days in Cornwall. There’s still a lot of fun to be had.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and explore while enjoying good food and refreshments by the untouched blue Cornish coast, then adding Charlestown to your adventure is the perfect choice.
Feature image credit: Chris Hodrien under CC BY-SA 2.0