A firm favourite with many Cornish locals and visitors alike. Formerly called West Polmear, Charlestown near St. Austell is a wonderfully picturesque little working harbour. It was developed between 1790 and 1810 for the export of copper and china clay by local landowner Charles Rashleigh, an entrepreneur who saw the opportunity for a new port to service these burgeoning mining industries in Cornwall.
It has appeared in countless feature films and TV adaptations, including Tim Burton's 2010 film Alice in Wonderland, mainly because of Charlestown's quaint 'pirate harbour' appearance, which has remained largely unchanged to this day. Much of the docks and the surrounding buildings are in a conservation area.
The village has pubs, restaurants, small shops and Charlestown Shipwreck Centre, as well as two small but attractive beaches. The harbour is also brought to life by the continuing export of Cornish china clay, and by Square Sail shipyard, who have a fleet of tall ships one or two of which are regularly to be found gracing the little port with their beauty and sailing heritage.
Like many ports, Charlestown was vibrant in the nineteenth century with the hustle and bustle of industry - though not a busy place now, that history remains reflected to this day. Located on the south coast of Cornwall, Charlestown is a great base for your self catering holiday. Check out our Cornwall Guide to discover more about what's on, places to eat, places to visit and things to do in Charlestown and the surrounding area from your Charlestown cottage.