There’s no shortage of great days out for you to tick off in St Austell. We’ve picked out four of our favourite beaches where you can simply lay on the sand, bask in the sun and take a dip in the sea. Horticulturalists will know all about the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. On top of that, there’s the nearby Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre, and the marvellous St Austell Brewery, the birthplace of Tribute.
Activities in St Austell
It’s one of the best indoor activities in Cornwall, so we’ve put together a page dedicated to the Eden Project. Take a look and learn more about the iconic pair of giant biomes which you can find a couple of miles away from St Austell. You can also read about the incredible Eden Sessions music concerts which take place each summer and rank among the best festivals in the country.
Beaches in St Austell
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Next up is one we named among our favourite attractions in Cornwall. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are a 20-minute drive from our St Austell hotel. It’s worth making the trip, as they’re some of the most impressive gardens in the UK. In the aftermath of WWI, this patch of land near Mevagissey was left to grow wild. It was rediscovered and years were spent restoring the gardens to their former glory. Over the past quarter of a century, since they were reopened, they’ve grown to become some of the UK’s most popular gardens.
Spread across more than 200 acres, with several distinct areas to explore, the Lost Gardens of Heligan will comfortably fill your day with breathtaking vistas and fascinating flowers and plants. It’s also worth mentioning that the Heligan Tearoom is a delight, should you get peckish during your visit.
St Austell Brewery
If you have any kind of affinity for ales, you’ll likely sample something from the St Austell Brewery during your stay in Cornwall. It’s one of the UK’s favourite breweries, most famous for its multi-award winning Tribute. Funnily enough, St Austell’s favourite beer was made to commemorate the 1999 solar eclipse. It was only meant to be a one-off called ‘Daylight Robbery’. However, it proved so popular that St Austell Brewery had no choice but to continue making this most delicious of nectars.
If you want to find out more about this wonderful independent Cornish family brewery, which has been concocting excellent beverages for more than 160 years, be sure to pay a visit to the St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre during your stay. Don’t forget to pop into the adjoining Hicks Bar for a sample, or a few.
Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre
In nearby Charlestown, you’ll find the largest private collection of shipwreck artefacts in Europe at the Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre. In total, there are around 8,000 artefacts taken from more than 150 shipwrecks and collected over the course of the last 50 years. It’s an incredible body of items ranging from the Titanic to 400-year-old cannons dredged from the depths of the sea. For anyone interested in the maritime history of Britain, this wonderful museum will be right up their street.
While you’re there, you should also check out the tall ship anchored in the harbour, and the pasty shop we’ve picked out in our favourite places to eat in St Austell.
White River Cinema
If the weather takes a turn for the worst and you’re stuck for things to do, an excellent option is always a trip to the cinema. You won’t find any major cinema chains in St Austell. However, the White River Cinema has four screens and shows all the latest blockbusters. Ticket prices are good, and there’s a selection of goodies if you want something to munch through during your film. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of town, next to the White River Place shopping centre.
Nearby, you’ll find four excellent beaches to enjoy during your stay at our St Austell hotel. Carlyon and Porthpean are your closest options. However, the alternatives are still no more than a 15-minute drive away. So, grab your bucket and spade – a wetsuit is advised if you’re thinking of taking a dip in the sea – and go enjoy a day on the sand.
On the eastern side of Carlyon Bay, you’ll find Polkerris Beach. It’s part of the Polperro Heritage Coast. You can see St Austell from across the water. The sandy beach is clean, pretty and has all the amenities you could need. It’s sheltered by the headland, and the waters are lovely and calm, making it perfect for families. You can hire water sports equipment or take lessons for windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding and sailing.
Your nearest beach option is Carlyon Bay. It actually consists of three beaches – Crinnis, Shorthorn and Polgaver. It means there’s always plenty of sand, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding somewhere to plonk your towel. Like all of the beaches in the area, it’s lovely and clean. The cliffs help to shelter sunbathers. Plus, it’s great for swimming as the drop off is reasonably near the shore.
It’s not the biggest, but Porthpean Beach is a popular sandy beach on the other side of Charlestown. At its western edge, you’ll find some great rock pools, perfect for dropping your crab lines and looking out for little fishes. The sand is fine, the sea is crystal clear, and the surrounding cliffs are cherished by birdwatchers. Again, it’s popular for watersports too; it even has its own sailing club.
Last of our recommendations is the wonderful Pentewan Beach. It’s the furthest from our St Austell hotel. However, at more than half a mile of stunning white sands and clean ocean, it’s arguably the pick of the bunch. The beach faces due east, so early birds can enjoy the sun rising out of the ocean. As far as Cornish beaches go, it ticks all the right boxes. It’s also near the Lost Gardens of Heligan, if you want to tick them both off in one fell swoop.