Our guide to self-catering Charlestown holiday cottages
Charlestown’s about as close as you can get to winding the clock back and experiencing the real Poldark’s Cornwall. Used as the setting for many a ‘town’ scene in the BBCs Poldark series, the village is home to tall ships that sit gracefully in its harbour, and you can almost smell the history in the air.
Just a mile from St Austell, Charlestown feels a world away from the rest of Cornwall. The village’s Georgian port has changed little over the centuries, and it’s been the setting for so many films and programmes that the first time you visit you'll feel as though you've been before. Scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean, Poldark, and Hornblower have all been filmed with Charlestown as a backdrop, and as the sun sets behind the Georgian buildings that have made the resort famous it's easy to fancy yourself on the set of a pirate-themed production.
Things to do in Charlestown
Stand in front of the harbour when the tall ships are sitting calmly in the water and take in the sight of one of Cornwall’s most unspoilt corners. Charlestown’s still home to a fleet of beautiful square riggers ships and there's usually at least one in the harbour. So, if you're after that holiday photo that captures Cornwall's maritime history then this is the place to take it.
Speaking of holiday photos, one of the most picturesque things to do is to wander the coast path and admire the views. If you get the bus to Mevagissey and walk the 7.6 miles back to Charlestown, you’ll be able to walk the coast path to the beach at Pentwean, over the dramatically rocky cove at Hallane and then around Black Head. Eventually, you’ll reach Porthpean Beach, Duporth Beach and then find yourself back in Charlestown. This walk’s on the challenging side, but if you’re feeling energetic you’ll be rewarded with some of the area’s most spectacular scenery.
The Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre’s one of those things to do in Charlestown that’s perfect whatever the weather. Packed with artefacts that bring the local shipwrecks and maritime history to life for all ages, the centre’s a great way to find out more about the village’s long connection with the sea.
Places to visit in Charlestown
Just a short drive from the Eden Project, Charlestown’s a popular base for families planning to experience just how it feels to stand in the world’s largest rainforest in captivity. One of the best-loved attractions in the South West, Eden’s home to the infamous Rainforest Biome, the beautiful Mediterranean Biome, outdoor gardens that go on for miles, and the longest zipwire in the country. If you visit between October and February you’ll find the ice rink waiting to welcome you, and the Christmas Festival makes just the place to celebrate Cornwall in all its Christmassy glory.
There’s another day out just along the road from Charlestown that’ll have you planning your next visit before you’ve even finished your holiday, and that’s the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The gardens were forgotten when those who worked in them were called off to the First World War, and they lay silent and overgrown for decades. They were finally rediscovered 25 years ago, and we’re pleased to report that they’ve never looked more beautiful.
Covering 200 acres, the gardens are part of the Heligan estate, and they’re home to everything from Victorian productive gardens to The Jungle. With hanging tree ferns and giant rhubarb, The Jungle makes the perfect adventure with the kids, and the gardens are open all year.