Life in St Austell

Whether you are Cornish and proud or settled in the Duchy from elsewhere, we all have one thing in common. We have chosen to live in one of the most stunning regions in the country.

Cornwall’s white gold, china clay, put St Austell on the map. In the early 19th century, the china clay industry was big business for Cornwall. It revolutionised the town, shaping the landscape and clay country communities.

Celebrated as the UK home of China clay, St Austell was once the world centre of china clay extraction and had one of the largest deposits in the world.

Today St Austell’s china clay is still shipped all over the world, on a smaller scale, and used to produce ceramics, paper, toothpaste, skincare and pharmaceutical products. The good news is that the clay legacy still lives on, being reimagined by the work of the Austell Project, the Wheal Martyn Museum and Clay Works.

The list of why we love being here is long, but it’s easy to forget just how lucky we are. And while economically speaking we traditionally trail cities anywhere north of the Tamar, we are definitely richer in plenty of other ways.

There’s always an adventure to find…

It may be an obvious place to begin, but for good reason. No matter where you find yourself in St Austell Bay, one thing is for sure, you’ll never be too far from a beach or somewhere you can catch a glimpse of the stunning Bay.

From the big beaches of Par Sands and Carlyon Bay, to the smaller coves of Polkerris and Readymoney, St Austell’s got it all. And the beauty of enjoying the beach in St Austell is that you’re not restricted to just a good old-fashioned day of building sandcastles and paddling in the water. St Austell Bay has carved itself a place in the watersport and leisure market, giving people the chance to hire equipment to snorkel, sail, kayak, water-ski, fish, dive and stand-up paddleboard, among many others – all right here on our doorstep. What more could we ask for?

We’re all guilty of taking where we live for granted from time-to-time. With modern lives getting increasingly busy and chaotic, we can forget to stop and take stock of what we have in front of us. But don’t worry, this is easily rectified – the next chance you get, simply take two minutes to stop, take in a beautiful view – and we’re not short of them here – and breathe in the fresh, countryside air.


Gorran Haven Beach

Gorran Haven beach is a hit with the locals; sheltered from the wind by Dodman Point.


Carlyon Bay Beach

Carlyon Beach is a perfect place for all ages.


Pentewan Beach

Pentewan is perfect for swimming, windsurfing, sea canoeing and sailing.

Getting Outdoors

One of the unique things about living in St Austell is the diverse range of landscapes we have. For example, just a 20 minute walk up Caerloggas Downs on a clear day will reward you with shimmering sea views on one hand, but turn around and you’ll find sprawling countryside, rolling fields and evidence of Cornwall’s mining and China Clay heritage.

Even better, it’s now easier than ever to explore most of the wider St Austell Bay area thanks to a fantastic network of cycle routes, walking trails and Imerys’ re-purposed Clay Trails. With countless opportunities from coastal walks right across the Bay, providing stunning sea views and a range of terrains for all walking abilities, to more rural, leisurely walks around our smaller villages, there’s plenty to do with your family – all you need to do is pick which one to do!

Just one part of this is the Clay Trails. They’re a fantastic example of what can be done with a bit of vision and commitment to the local area. Land in-and-around the area’s former China Clay pits have been re-purposed into a unique network of walking, cycling and horse-riding routes, snaking their way through the Clay Country.

For some of our favourite walks, full details on the Clay Trails and to get some inspiration into what to do with your family, simply click here


Clay Trails Network

The clay trails are a network of short walking, cycling and horse riding trails through China Clay Country.

Days Out & Attractions

Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum

Wheal Martyn in St Austell is Cornwall & the UK's only China Clay mining museum.


Caerloggas Downs

This walk takes you around a restored clay spoil heap and offers panoramic views of the area’s clay tips.


In an ever-developing digital word, it’s important for an area’s digital connectivity to go from strength-to-strength and that’s exactly what has happened right here in St Austell.

The town was actually one of the first places in the UK to get fibre to the premise’s broadband technology and it’s easy to see the positive impact of this. The Super-fast Cornwall Scheme has been a catalyst for large-scale economic growth both in the area and on a county-wide scale, firmly establishing and reinforcing the county’s place at the forefront of digital connectivity. Back in 2015, research estimated more than 12,000 Cornish companies were connected to the high-speed network and as a result, 2,000 news jobs were created and a further 2,500 safeguarded – how great is that!

On top of that, more than 3,000 homes and businesses in-and-around St Austell are set to benefit from a pilot scheme of a new ultra-fast service known as G.Fast, which will provide speeds of up to 330Mbps – that’s 10 times faster than the national average.


Road and air connections

And while there’s always room for improvement, our road and air connections continue to be improved, which is good news for everyone.

Cornwall Council have recently heard from the Government that their bid for £85 million to create a new link road from the A391 through to the A30, has been successful. Their plans now granted and funding secured, will see journey times and conditions into St Austell improved, as well as relieving the pressure on towns Roche and Bugle.

Meanwhile, just a short drive down the A30, Cornwall Airport Newquay continues to go from strength-to-strength, with passenger numbers continuing to increase. This arguably makes it even easier for people to access St Austell Bay and helps shape the area’s appeal as an ideal destination – as well as giving locals the chance to easily jet away across Europe on holiday, making it an even more desirable place to live.

But no matter where you travel, there’s something quite special about travelling down the A390 or A391 and seeing the Bay glistening in all its glory in front of you, a familiar sight, signalling you’re nearly home.

Cornwall's Gateway

Meanwhile, St Austell Bay remains the perfect gateway to the rest of Cornwall making it the ideal place to live and stay, allowing you to explore the rugged peninsulas and ancient heritage of the west and the fishing villages and moor land of the east, with relative ease.

Just a few miles journey across the Bay will get you to the beautiful Roseland and its Heritage Coast and in the other direction; you can easily drive on to the Bodinnick Ferry at Fowey and cross the river as a fun way of exploring areas such as Lerryn, Polperro and beyond.

But if you don’t fancy venturing that far, then you’re also in luck! The central St Austell area is incredibly lucky to be surrounded by some stunning coastal villages which all provide endless fun and things to do with the family.

Mevagissey, with its picturesque twin harbour setting, is bursting with community events all year round, from the annual Feast Week to Christmas lights and carols and their very own Community Action Group to ensure the village is always looking its best. Even if you can’t visit there’s always the harbour webcam for a quick Mevagissey fix. Just a hop, skip and jump across the way brings you to the parish of St Goran, known equally for its stunning stretch of coastline, popular beaches and incredibly welcoming community.

Meanwhile if you’re heading in the other direction, make sure you find time to appreciate the beauty of Polkerris Beach and the food offerings you’ll find there as well as surrounding yourself in all things nautical in historic Fowey. From exploring St Catherine’ Castle with your little ones, to enjoying a boat trip on the river and sampling some of the freshest fish you’re likely to find, there’s plenty to love about Fowey.

Towns & Villages


Fiercely proud of their working and  growing fishing industry, the ocean sets the tone for much of town life.

Towns & Villages


Whether you live in Fowey near St Austell or just visiting there are plenty of opportunities to try something new.

Towns & Villages


Transport yourself back in time by visiting the delightful Georgian harbour village of Charlestown.

World Class Gardens

Often overlooked by us locals is the amount of world class gardens and horticultural offerings we have right here, all within a few short miles. The Eden Project has deservingly been dubbed by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World and with the world’s largest indoor rainforest, huge biomes and an ever-changing programme of events; it’s easy to see why. Meanwhile with The Lost Gardens of Heligan offering romantic gardens, enthralling wildlife and ancient woodland paths, there’s plenty to discover time and time again, so looking into buying an annual locals’ pass is a must.

For even more fauna and flora, pay a visit to Pinetum Gardens in Holmbush. Prepared to be surprised by the 30 acre estate which includes several different sections of gardens and over 6,000 plants. Just a few miles down the road tucked away in Treesmill in Par, you’ll find the Hidden Valley Gardens. This three acre, award winning garden is perfect for escaping it all and exploring its many themed areas, including a Mediterranean area, iris garden and colourful herbaceous.

Days Out & Attractions

The Eden Project

Inside the eden biomes are plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments.


The Lost Gardens Of Heligan

One of the most mysterious and romantic estates in England and one of the area’s most popular attractions.


Pinetum Gardens

A garden for all seasons, a botanical delight for gardeners and a wonderful retreat for walkers.

Delectable Food

On a tastier note, there is an oh-so delicious truth about living in-and-around St Austell Bay. Fresh fish delivered to restaurants daily, succulent steaks reared within a matter of miles and more pasties and fresh cakes than you can shake a stick at – it’s enough to make your mouth water. Our villages, town centre and sea side eateries are all on hand to offer some of the freshest food around. Whether you’re feeling peckish for steaks and burgers or have a hankering for fresh fish, the area is peppered with plenty of restaurants, cafes and bistros to choose from.

What’s more, the area’s reputation for good food – and customers who appreciate it – is growing. This tasty revolution has resulted in an increase in fantastic pop-up beach restaurants, food vans and modern bistro cafes. So, grab a taste of the good life, make a reservation at a fantastic eatery near you and get eating!

Of course, enjoying a good life and having home-town satisfaction doesn’t just stop at the beauty of a place, or how many walks there are. It’s clear there are also more practical things to consider. What are the schools like? Can you easily access the shops you need? Well, it’s good news on these fronts.

Schools and Community

While it’s always important to look to the future and ensure as a town we appreciate the demands of a growing population, our young people are currently well catered for when it comes to education. From infant and primary level, through to secondary and further education, the majority of the wider St Austell Bay’s schools are rated either Good or Outstanding by OFSTED. To find any school in the area, click here.

Meanwhile, easy access to a number of supermarkets and retailers mean it’s incredibly easy to run your day-to-day family life. And while the town centre continues on its journey to meet everyone’s needs as best it can, there’s plenty already there to celebrate and enjoy. With a healthy mix of national and local brands on offer, adequate parking facilities, a locals’ discount card scheme run by the BID and a handful of restaurants and a very popular cinema, there is already plenty to build upon in the town centre. For shop and business listings please click here

There’s also the fantastic additional shopping opportunities in our adjoining villages such as Mevagissey, Charlestown and Fowey, where you’ll find plenty of country and coastal-living fashion stores, art galleries and craft barns as well as gift and home ware shops.

And finally, let’s not forget about the people of St Austell. People make community – and what a rich and diverse community we have here. From all the unsung heroes who pick up litter off our paths, parks and beaches, to those who hold various community and charity events and fundraisers throughout the year, to the business stakeholders within the town who devote their time for free, away from their businesses, passionately trying to improve the areas for everyone in the community.

Everyone has their part to play and each is as important as the last. Every time someone contributes to the community, no matter how big or small, the society in which we live, work and play becomes further enriched and the ripples of these good deeds are felt across the area.

So there we have it, just some of the reasons why St Austell and all its surrounding areas are great places to be. The future is looking positive and we should feel so too.

Towns & Villages

Bugle, Penwithick, Stenalees

Bugle and Penwithick both enjoy a traditional Cornish village feel.

Towns & Villages

St Dennis & Nanpean

Just a few miles from St Austell town, St Dennis and Nanpean are villages that have grown over many years.

Towns & Villages


You can expect to find plenty of community spirit in Roche.