Our guide to holidays in St Austell & Eden
Everything about St Austell Bay lends itself to the traditional family holiday, and the pretty little market town of St Austell sits just one mile from the coast. Wander the historic streets of the town centre, while the white peaks that tell the tale of the China Clay industry peer down on you from above. And, when that fresh air kicks in and you feel inspired to get on your bikes for a day, you’ll find the area criss-crossed with woodland perfect for those family bike rides.
If you’re a fan of BBC 1’s Poldark (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), you’ll be pleased to hear that a St Austell holiday places you very much in Ross and Demelza’s stomping ground. If you make your way to neighbouring Charlestown you’ll find the historic harbour and the tall ships that double up as Truro in many an episode…we just can’t promise you’ll bump into Poldark himself!
There’s one very special family attraction in the area that we’d say you put a day aside to discover, and that’s the world-famous biomes of the Eden Project. With something for every age group and a packed programme of events, you can’t miss Eden.
Places to visit in St Austell
Ok, so if you’ve yet to experience The Eden Project then it should be top of your list of places to visit in St Austell. Tucked into a crater the size of 30 football pitches, Eden has become one of those landmarks that attracts visitors from all over the world. This enormous tropical garden has been specially created to get us thinking about our relationship with the natural world, and it’s mind-blowing.
Home to the world’s largest rainforest in captivity, a day at Eden means you get to wander steamy jungles and tumbling waterfalls, so it feels like an adventure for the entire family. Don’t worry if you don’t feel up to walking the whole site, you’ll be able to hitch a ride on the free land train to help you make the most of your day.
One of our favourite parts of the attraction is the canopy walkway that takes you high above the trees for a whole new perspective…the perfect way to make memories with your monkeys. And, iIf you’ve a passion for art, look out for the world-class sculptures that dot the grounds as you make your way around.
Things to do in St Austell
The nice thing about a St Austell holiday, is that you’re in the perfect position to enjoy the coast and the country – depending on your mood. For those days that are all about wandering pretty pathways and feeling close to nature, The Lost Gardens of Heligan are home to 200 acres of historic, beautiful gardens. With a romantic story that makes them even more captivating, the gardens are open all year round, and what a way to soak up the colours of the season with a day out. If you’re planning a break with your dog, dogs are welcome on leads at this one too.
The historic village of Charlestown is less than a mile from St Austell, and visiting this historic port is about as close as you can get to going back in time. It’s not uncommon to see tall ships standing proudly in the Grade II listed harbour, and if the views look familiar, it may be because it’s used as the setting for Truro in the BBC 1 series of Poldark.
St Austell restaurants
They do love their food in Cornwall, and that means you can look forward to taking your pick when it comes to foodie spots to die for. If you pop to Charlestown, on the outskirts of St Austell, you’ll find yourself in the region’s best restaurants (as voted by the TripAdvisor brigade). The The Longstore Steaks and Seafood has got serving up local produce down to a tee, and rustic charm meets cosy elegance at this friendly restaurant.
Second, it’s the Polgooth Inn (how fabulous is the word ‘Polgooth’?!) over in Polgooth itself, and this traditional inn is perfect for that laidback lunch during a day exploring the area. You’ll find this one tucked in a pretty valley, not far from St Austell, and what better way to get ready for a long walk together in the surrounding countryside?
For that hearty plate of food with the sight of the seas to soothe you, it’s got to be Sam’s on the Beach in Par. The third favourite St Austell restaurant, we should start by pointing out that this one has a wood-burning pizza oven. Yum. The open kitchen means you can sit back and watch the chefs at work while you chat, and the floor to ceiling windows allow the views of Polkerris harbour to form the backdrop to your meal.
Dog friendly St Austell
If you’re planning to take your dog along on your holiday, St Austell’s home to plenty to keep your four-legged buddy entertained. For one thing, dogs are welcome to walk the miles and miles of pathways that make the Eden Project perfect for a day out, but just bear in mind that they can’t go inside the Biomes or other undercover areas. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are dog friendly too, so you can enjoy the gorgeous gardens in your own time with your pet in tow.
To be honest, Cornwall’s pretty much one great big dog walk, so you can always check out the paths and trails in the area and decide what you’d like to explore. And don’t forget, you can barely turn a corner without spotting a traditional pub or restaurant where your pet will receive a warm welcome. It’s always worth popping your head around the door to find out if you pass somewhere you like the look of…