A half an hour drive from St Merryn Park heading down towards the South coast takes you to the old market town of St Austell

As one of Cornwall’s biggest towns, it’s no surprise St Austell boasts a great day out for all the family. Charlestown beach has been made famous for its appearances in Poldark, but St Austell is also a hub of history from china clay to shipwrecks and even beer, as well as being home to popular tourist attractions such as the St Austell Brewery – that stakes claim to many of the pubs and free-houses dotted around Cornwall, the mystical expanse of creativity that is Lost Gardens of Heligan, and, of course, the now iconic biome domes at the Eden Project.

For a touristy day out, we recommend St Austell, so we’ve put together a list of the best things to do, see, eat and drink while you’re here…

The Eden Project

You’ll need more than a day to see everything, but don’t worry as your ticket is valid for a year. The rainforest dome climate makes it a great to warm up in on a cold day – and if you visit in summer there is a cooling room to cool to keep you comfortable. We recommend lunch at the Med Terrace Cafe surrounded by chilli plants. Throughout the year there’s a range of exhibitions and entertainments, from dinosaurs and ice-skating to the must-see Eden Sessions.

Eden is child and dog friendly as well as being wheelchair accessible.


Moustache Jacks

A quirky little place in Biddicks Court that’s definitely a must for a winter warmer – we recommend Fat Jack’s Hot Chocolate for a real sweet treat.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Twenty-five years ago, Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown and unseen; lost under a tangle of weeds. It was only the chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the restoration of this once great estate. Today, the Lost Gardens have been put back where they belong: in pride of place among the finest gardens in Cornwall.

A host of family friendly events occur every year, and dogs are welcome all year round. Spend the day getting lost and stumbling across the mud mad, jungle rope walk, flower garden, and animals.


St Austell Brewery

St Austell Brewery pubs are dotted far and wide across Cornwall… so it really would be sacrilege not to visit the brewery! Take the tour, browse the shop, warm your cockles with free samples, or even stop in for – what else? – a good pub lunch and a pint of Tribute.

If you’re down in November, don’t forget to check out the Beer Festival!


Wingz Bird Sanctuary

It’s not all about birds! While Wingz focuses on birds (of all shapes and sizes), it also houses Wallabies, Meerkats, Tortoises, Prairie Dogs… and many more animals.


Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre

Charlestown has grown in fame thanks to featuring in Alice in Wonderland, Dr Who, and – of course – Poldark. The town is a great place to just wander around, but if your looking for some history, the Shipwreck Centre houses one of the most unusual and interesting collections around.

The exhibitions reflect village life in Charlestown, it’s history, shipwrecks and the once thriving China Clay industry. The exhibition shows a tremendous range of maritime history dating back to 1715 and one of the largest underwater diving equipment collections in the country, including various suits used for treasure seeking and naval purposes.


Charlie’s Boathouse

If you’re looking for a romantic spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Charlie’s Boathouse is a quirky, intimate restaurant with beautiful views of Charlestown’s famous harbour.

Visit in the summer and relax on the sun terrace, or spend a winter evening indoors watching the sun go down over the water.

Football Golf

It’s really fun, a bit different, and anyone can play!

What is it? Football Golf uses the same rules as golf but instead of using a club players kick a football into a hole. There are hazards and obstacles along the way helping make the game fun and enjoyable for everyone. There are two courses to suit all ages and abilities. One on level ground called Parkland and one on the hills called Hillside.


Wheal Martyn

26 acres of woodland walks, nature trails, Cornwall’s largest waterwheel, Victorian clay works, working pit, children’s play area… this is so much more than a museum with lots to entertain young children as well as interest adults.


Bystro at the Bank

Head over after a long day sight-seeing for an evening meal out.

This new restaurant in the spectacular setting of an ancient bank not only features a function room in the vault but also hosts regular live entertainment – from comedy club to music nights.


Kidzworld has plenty for everyone and the majority of areas are undercover – so this is a great family day out on a rainy day.

All attractions are included in the admissions price so kids can whoosh down the slides, beat the Digiwall climbing challenge, be a winner on the mini golf course, scale the SkyTrail, bump about in the dodgems, and take aim in LaserTag!


Sam’s at the Bay

Great for chilling on the beach listening to some live music.

A relatively new addition, Sam’s food, coffee and lager is already widely celebrated across Cornwall – couple that with live music and theatre and you’ve got the perfect place to relax and take in some of the spectacular views that stretch to Polkerris and beyond.

Marsh Villa Gardens

A real gardeners garden.take a plunge into adventur

This magical little water and woodland garden lies in a former tidal creek. A hornbeam avenue forms a central axis whilst meandering paths lead from one ‘room’ to the next – explore the large natural pond, the formal enclosed garden, the small woodland areas with under plantings, the boscage and the marsh, and discover the plenty of comfortable corners which provide opportunities to enjoy the peace and tranquillity.


Porthpean outdoors

enjoy an activity day with the family ages 6+ get engaged in climbing ,archery and high ropes. With so much to choose from you can be sure that there will be something for everyone. You need to bring a packed lunch and suitable clothes for all weathers.