While away the hours in the sunshine, enjoying impressive views of the historic Georgian harbour and the open sea. Tucked away just minutes from popular attractions such as the Eden Project and St Austell Brewery, Charlestown is a gem nestled away from the beaten track, yet ever-growing in popularity. Discover its charming harbour and escape to the South West this summer – you may even recognise the stunning views from a certain TV series set in Cornwall!
GET TO KNOW THE TEAM: MEET RIO
- What’s your role at the Pier House?
Assistant Manager and Social Media Champion
- What do you enjoy the most?
I am a local girl, and I am so proud of Charlestown and how popular it has become in recent years. I enjoy showing off our beautiful part of the South Coast, to both our guests and those that follow us on social media.
- How do you spend your free time in the local area?
My other half is a keen surfer, so we spend a lot of time on various parts of the north and south coasts. At this time of year, I love a sea swim, beach barbecue, and a pint of Proper Job in a beer garden!
- Do you have a must-visit spot in the area?
Vault Beach is my favourite hidden gem locally. It is around a 25-minute drive from Charlestown and there is parking, but I prefer to walk the coast path from Gorran Haven. It's beautiful!
- What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
My favourite dish from our Spring/Summer menu has to be the Tropical Trifle dessert. Pineapple, passion fruit, coconut, and rum ... you can't go wrong!
FEAST ON THE HARBOURFRONT
With both indoor and outdoor seating available, you can tuck into a delicious meal whatever the season. But, with the warm summer evenings of July rolling in, make the very most of the sunshine dining al fresco on the Pier House’s waterfront terrace. With a refreshed menu for the season, you’ll find well-loved pub classics alongside more contemporary, light dishes to satisfy every craving. Bringing together these feasts is Brynn Pearce and his team, utilising the freshest of ingredients.
As the waves roll in, why not pair one of our enticing dishes with a refreshing pint of korev lager, inspired by the Cornish coastline. Offering 27 bedrooms overlooking the harbour, book an overnight stay and make the very most of your time in the area.
G reat pub. Great food, lovely people in a fantastic position in Charlestown harbour. Outstanding outside dining. Attentive staff. Combined with a great selection of real ales and delicious korev lager, nothing not to like.
A LOOK INTO OUR PAST
For centuries, West Polmear was a small fishing village that busied itself catching and processing pilchards – records show that it’s population rarely rose above double figures! However, by the end of the 18th century, this sleepy village transformed into a thriving mineral port.
In 1791, Charles Rashleigh, commissioned engineer, John Smeaton, to build a harbour and dock, primarily to transport copper from Rashleigh’s nearby mines. Once copper supplies dwindled, China Clay took centre stage and in honour of the village’s newfound purpose, locals renamed it Charlestown.
The Pier House, originally known as the Charlestown Hotel, was built in 1794 as a boarding house. Little survives of the early hotel, although the two-room plan with central rear stair projection can still be seen. Over time, parts of the building have been demolished or destroyed, and several extensions have been added. For a brief period, after the Rashleigh Arms had been built at the top of the harbour, the Pier House reverted to a farmhouse but with the booming China Clay exports and farming in decline, it once again became a hotel.
Trading throughout the 20th century, the newly named Pier House was acquired by The Morcom family in 1986, running the business until 2016 when it passed into St Austell Brewery’s hands.
With the tall ships and historic surroundings, you may recognise the area from programmes suchas Poldark. In 1976, the hotel was used itself in a scene from ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ in which Liam Devlin (played by Donald Sutherland) is thrown through the pub window during a fight!
PLAN YOUR COASTAL RETREAT
Lying just a few minutes from the bustling town of St Austell, Charlestown is the welcome respite you’ve been looking for. Serving as the perfect launchpad for all your adventures, you can drift asleep to the ebb and flow of the ocean on your return. Your pooch is part of the family too, and of course, well-behaved pups are invited to join in on the fun, with much of the area dog friendly.
Just footsteps from your bed, you can wander onto the beaches of the harbour village – ideal for a morning swim if you’re feeling brave enough to face the chilly waters! Or perhaps you wake to gorgeous views and a morning coffee on the terrace overlooking the bay, you can go at your own pace. Whether you’re craving an action-packed weekend or a slower-paced staycation, Charlestown is the ideal escape.
Not sure when to visit? Plan your trip around one of these events and get involved with the local community.
Charlestown Regatta Week – 23rd – 29th July
Raising funds to support the local community, the Regatta Week in Charlestown is the perfect event for all the family. A week of fun, from donkey derbies and raft races to live music and colourful carnival, it’s a must-visit summer event.
Shanty sing-along – 16th July
Singing voices at the ready! Just a short drive from the Pier House, you’ll find the Wheal Martyn on the historic China Clay, revealing part of the area’s mining past. Join the local shanty group Stuns’ls and Bristol’s Severn Whalers on the terrace for an evening of pasties, cream teas and, of course, plenty of sea shanties.
I AM KEVIN – 6th – 20th August
Internationally renowned, Cornwall’s theatre company, Wildworks, is bringing its latest show just a stone’s throw away from Charlestown. Described as a ‘bedtime story to set the world on fire’, I AM KEVIN will be performed in the stunning setting of Carlyon Beach. Grab your tickets now and embark on this unforgettable, open-air experience.
Discover Shackleton – 9th April – 30th October
A stay in Charlestown is incomplete without a visit to the harbourside Shipwreck & Heritage Centre. Adventure into the past with this immersive experience and learn about the treacherous expedition undertaken by Shackleton and his crew. Ahoy!
Go wild with Beano at Eden – 23rd July – 4th September
Get ready for an action-packed summer of fun. Perfect for little ones, join Dennis and his friends as they take on the dreaded CO²-Zilla and rebel against climate change. Just minutes away from Charlestown, this is the ideal day out for all the family to enjoy with it promising to be an unforgettable one!
PACK YOUR WALKING BOOTS
Wheal Martyn to St Austell
Also known as the Green Corridor, this is a great choice for walkers of all ages and abilities. Running through woodland paths, the small village of Ruddlemoor and historic mining landmarks, there’s something to spike your interest at every turn. Unique to the area, you’ll discover the White River – so named because of the clay run-off that turned it white, which can still sometimes be seen along with the towering chimneys of an old clay drier. While nature has reclaimed these, the Carlyon Farm Kilns, were once the largest coal-fired china clay drying kilns. Want to learn more? Why not take a trip to the Wheal Martyn museum to learn more about the area’s past?
With stunning views of the clay hills, often dubbed Cornwall’s answer to the Alps, this is a walk unlike any other. While in the area, why not stop off at the Hicks Bar too for a bite to eat, and enjoy a refreshing pint in the home of our award-winning beers.
Porthpean to Black Head
Follow the winding coastal path from Porthpean around St Austell Bay, passing through the Ropehaven Cliffs Nature Reserve on your way to Black Head. Enjoy stunning views across the bay, and marvel at the swooping seabirds nestling on the inaccessible cliffs. Look out for the granite memorial as you approach the Black Head, engraved with ‘This was the land of my content’ erected in the memory of Arthur Leslie Rowse, a Cornish writer and historian – you can certainly see why!
This is a fantastic walk to explore the local area; pack your swimmies and take a dip midway through at the Hallane Beach – at low tide, you may even be able to walk around the arch to the waterfall though beware of the slippery algae. Head back to the Pier House to warm up in the sunshine after your adventuring.
There are two popular walks through Luxulyan Valley, one 2.5 miles and another just under 4 miles. Both will take you along the Treffery Viaduct where you’ll be able to take in some of the historic, impressive mining remains. Walk through Cornwall’s past, gazing at nature as she reclaims the valley from its previous employment.
Meaning ‘alder tree valley’ in Cornish (Glynn Gwernan), this is a beautiful, sheltered hike taking you away from the beaten track of the more-favoured coastal path. Various flora and fauna line your path, making it an important conservation site.
STAY WITH US
We’re offering you an exclusive 10% discount for stays at the Pier House, booked in July. Use the code ‘PUB10’ to redeem and escape to the charming harbour of Charlestown.
* All bookings must be made before July 31st. Only available for use on bookings made before the January 18th at the Pier House.