Once a quiet little fishing village, Charlestown now has the feel of a living, breathing museum of Cornwall's proud past. From charming Cornish cottages to the pristine port itself, time just seems to move at a different, much slower pace than the rest of the world. For a journey of exploration enjoy a visit to Charlestown.
Charlestown is a large coastal village situated about 4 miles west of Fowey and 3 miles east of Mevagissey almost in the middle of the St. Austell bay. Built between 1792 and 1799, it is a small and quite delightful Georgian Port designed by the foremost engineer of the day, John Smeaton, who was particularly famous for his lighthouse designs.
Originally a fishing village known as West Polmear, Charlestown was renamed and developed into a thriving port by local squire and entrepreneur Charles Rashleigh of Menabilly. From a population of 9 in 1790, the port grew to a total of 3184 souls by its hey day in 1911. As well as exporting china-clay, china-stone and copper, Charlestown was a busy pilchard fishing station mostly exporting its catch to the Mediterranean Catholic countries.
With its well preserved harbour and many period houses and buildings dating from the late eighteenth/early nineteenth Century, Charlestown has become a popular destination for film and television producers, featuring in such classics as the Onedin Line, Poldark (from the 1970s and now 2015), The Eagle has Landed, Frenchman's Creek, Mansfield Park, Rebecca and The Three Musketeers.
Today this delightful village makes an excellent destination for visitors offering a couple of pubs providing bar and restaurant meals, bistro, art gallery, post office/general stores and fascinating shipwreck and heritage centre. There are small beaches on either side of the harbour entrance and easy access to the coastal footpath both to the west and east. The annual Regatta at the beginning of August features a fun triathlon, water golf competition, children's sports, carnival and live music, including performances by local choirs.
Charlestown is an excellent centre for visiting local attractions: The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan etc. and is also less than 3 miles from St. Austell town centre with its brand new shopping centre which includes a state of the art 4 screen film centre.