Charlestown - Charlestown Harbour - Tall Ships - Poldark

Mevagissey | Fowey | Charlestown | Portholland | Port Loe | St Austell | Lost Gardens of Heligan



Mevagissey | Fowey | Charlestown | Portholland | Port Loe | St Austell | Lost Gardens of Heligan

Holiday Cottages in Charlestown | Bed and Breakfast in Charlestown


The harbour village of Charlestown was a Georgian 'new town', a port development planned by local landowner Charles Rashleigh (after whom it was named) and built between 1790 and 1810 for the export of copper and china clay.

Throughout the nineteenth century the little dock was packed with ships and the harbourside sheds and warehouses thronged with complementary businesses: boatbuilding, ropemaking, brickworks, lime burning, net houses, bark houses and pilchard curing.

 Charlestown Harbour

Charlestown Harbour

Charlestown Harbour

View across Charlestown harbour - from The Shipwrech centre

Today there are two remarkable things about Charlestown.

One is that, against all the odds, it has survived as a working port and a small amount of china clay is still exported in an average of 30-40 ships a year, and this saves the place from becoming a cosy caricature of itself with plenty of 'heritage appeal' but no real life.

The second is that - again, against all the odds - it has largely escaped 'development' and remains one of the finest and most fascinating places on the Cornish coast.

Perhaps the words "so far" should be added to these two observations, for who knows what will happen to Charlestown in the future?

At the time of writing, the harbour is the home port for a famous collection of old ships which are employed in film projects all over the world - they have brought work and life to the quays and harbour buildings and are a particular draw for visitors.

The beach and entrance to Charlestown Harbour | The Charlestown Shipwrek Museum

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Porthpean Beach

Porthpean Beach
ideal local spot for family days at the beach, Parking, Toilets and cafe available on the small beach front. The sands are ideal for family days out, swimming, snorkeling or Rock pooling

Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre

Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre
Located in a historic china clay building, the centre has the largest U.K. collection of artifacts and treasure recovered from shipwrecks.

Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre. Quay Road Charlestown Tel: +44 (0)1726 698 97

Shipwreck and Heritage Centre

Quay Road Charlestown
Tel: +44 (0)1726 698 97

Charlestown's Centre commemorates achievement and heartbreak in a unique 18th century setting barely touched by time.

The achievement belongs to one man, Charles Rashleigh, whose vision created a thriving port out of an obscure fishing village. His reasons are, literally, a part of the Centre, which is built over the tunnels of an old China Clay "Dry". Down these - as you can see today - stevedores pushed wagons full of Cornwall's "white gold" to waiting ships.

The activity and facilities generated other trade - in pilchards, stone, tin, copper ore, timber and coal - and with it, a large commercial infrastructure.
Full-scale tableaux in the ' Heritage section show a cooper, blacksmith and others at work, drawn to Charlestown by the magnet of trade. In the Audio Visual Theatre you can see the saga unfold, from the optimism of the 1791 blueprint, through a century of growth to recession and decline at its end.

The Shipwreck section flips the coin of enterprise to show the forces it cannot control. Round Britain's coasts are over 250,000 wrecks, many with stories of courage and cowardice, greed or sacrifice to tell. The Centre shows a rich sample, in photography and wreckage or salvaged cargo: here, a 400-year old cannon; there, priceless Nanking porcelain: the artefacts recovered from the tragic sinking of HMS Ramillies in 1763, and - in a unique display - the history of underwater exploration, from the original wooden diving barrels to the latest 'bell".

Fittingly, the Centre's latest addition emphasises the saving of life at sea. While remaining fully operational, the Lifeboat "Aurelia" is on display for all to see how the RNLI volunteers face the elements.

Charlestown Holiday Cottages - B&Bs

Holiday Accommodation in Charlestown


Rescorla Farmhouse  Parking Available Rescorla Farmhouse
Tel: 01726 851669.   En-Suite B&B Stays in St Austell sleeps 6.

Lantern Cottage  Parking Available Lantern Cottage
Tel: 07599 922569.   Self-catering Holiday Cottage Rental in Mevagissey sleeps 4. Sat Changeover, Prices from £275

Sun Valley Holiday Park  Pets Allowed Parking Available Sun Valley Holiday Park
Tel: 0333 200 2780. CTB member,, Quality in Tourism / Visit England 4 Star \ AA 5 Pennant Holiday Park Self-catering Holiday Caravan Rental in St Austell sleeps 6. - suitable for Large Groups, Fri, sat, sun, mon, tues,wed, thurs Changeover, Prices from £10 to £200 - onsite swimming pool - Pets Welcome

The Old Shop Apartment  The Old Shop Apartment
Tel: 07599 922569.   Self-catering Holiday Apartment Rental in Mevagissey sleeps 4. Sat Changeover, Prices from £235

East Crinnis Mongolian Yurts  Pets Allowed Parking Available East Crinnis Mongolian Yurts
Tel: 01726 813023. Visit England / Quality in Tourism 4 star Self-catering Holiday Rental Camping and Touring in Par sleeps 4. - suitable for Large Groups, Sat Changeover, Prices from £125 to £545 Pets Welcome

Piskey Cove  Parking Available Piskey Cove
Tel: 01726 843781.   En-Suite B&B Stays in Pentewan nr St Austell

Tregrehan Garden Cottages  Pets Allowed Parking Available Tregrehan Garden Cottages
Tel: 01726 812438.   Self-catering Holiday Cottage Rental in St Austell sleeps 8. variable Changeover, Prices from £420 to £1280 Pets Welcome
  • Mews, slps 2, beautiful aptmt from £330/3 nights to £560/week
  • Spry’s, slps 2, affordable snug aptmt from £300/3n…£, less 20% for single occupancy.
  • Coach House, 3 bdrms, less 10% for 3, £800/4nights to £1140/6n pets welcome, private walled garden

updated 22 June 2022

East Crinnis  Pets Allowed Parking Available East Crinnis
Tel: 01726 813023. Visit England 4 star Self-catering Holiday Rental in Par sleeps 8. Sat Changeover, Pets Welcome

Courtyard Cottage  Parking Available Courtyard Cottage
Tel: 07599 922569.   Self-catering Holiday Cottage Rental in Mevagissey sleeps 8. Sat Changeover, Prices from £396

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