52 Weekends - wk7

52 Weekends - wk7

Stunning St Austell

This historic Cornish town has so much to offer

St Austell is located a mile inland from Cornwall’s beautiful south coast.

It is a medium-sized town of 20,000 people built, literally and metaphorically, on clay! After a tin and copper boom in the eighteenth century, clay took over in the nineteenth century and much of the town’s prosperity is as a result of the vast clay pits dotted around the area.

So, once you’ve toasted yourself on the local (and lovely) St Austell Bay beach (St Austell is one of the warmest places in Britain with summer averages of 24 to 25°C), you should consider a culture activity day at nearby Wheal Martyn, where world-renowned clay is still mined. Wheal Martyn Clay Works is open from 10am to 5pm, and offers lots of entertainment, insight and activities for young and old alike.

Afterwards, you can slake your inevitable thirst at the brilliant family-run St Austell Brewery, where fine ales have been brewed for 168 years. Here, you’ll find a modern visitor centre where you can learn all about the artistry required to create tasty and consistent beers, plus, you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of its delectable brews.

Head from here towards the sea and you’ll reach Charlestown, home to the Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre. This small museum has many excellent artefacts collected from shipwrecks, and there’s also a full sized ancient sailing ship moored in the harbour.

Of course, no visit to the area would be complete without a day spent at the world-famous Eden Project and another at the intriguing Lost Gardens of Heligan (see pages 14, 15), which are both nearby.

Make Your Stay Better

Until 30 August 2019 - Clay Stories
Wheal Martyn, St Austell PL26 8XG
T: 01726 850362
W: wheal-martyn.com
Price: Free
Local experts share their knowledge and tales from the region’s world-famous clay industry.

21 September 2019 - Whitegold Festival
White River Place, St Austell PL25 5AZ
W: W whitegold.org.uk
Price: Free
Local fest celebrates all things clay related… and it’s genuinely fascinating! Artists, clay workers and designers from all over the world gather here. A full and diverse programme of craft, music, dance and demonstrations from 10am to 4pm.

Until 1 September 2019 Leaf Necklaces
Wheal Martyn, St Austell PL26 8XG
T: 01726 850362
W: wheal-martyn.com
Price: Free
Kids can make beautiful leaf necklaces with leaves collected in Wheal Martyn woods.

21 October 2019 Land-Rover Clay Tour
Wheal Martyn, St Austell PL26 8XG
T: 01726 850362
W: wheal-martyn.com
Price: £15 inc museum entry
Explore Wheal Martyn’s world-famous clay pits from the comfort of a Land Rover, on this compelling tour. From mining and mixing, to drying and transporting. You’ll be an expert by the day’s end!

Places of Interest

  • The Eden Project

    Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
    T: 01726 811972
    W: edenproject.com
    Price: Adult from £26, Child £13.50 (in advance)

  • Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre

    Quay Road, Charlestown, St Austell PL25 3NX
    T: 01726 69897
    W: shipwreckcharlestown.co.uk
    Price: Adult £6, Child £3

  • St Austell Brewery

    63 Trevarthian Rd, St Austell PL25 4BY
    T: 01726 66022
    W: staustellbrewery.co.uk
    Price: Brewing Experience £15

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