St. Austell is situated close to the east coast of Cornwall, some 16 km south of Bodmin.
St Austell © TAB
The name comes from the ancient dedication of the Parish Church to St Austol, a Breton saint. The church is now dedicated to the Holy Trinity and it was once said that the only notable feature of St Austell was its Parish Church. However, the area sprang into importance when vast deposits of china clay (Kaolin) were discovered in the hills north of the town. The population then quickly grew until today St Austell is reputed to be the most populous town in Cornwall.
Many tourists are drawn to the area by nearby beaches and the surrounding holiday attractions. The town centre recently underwent a £75 million redevelopment and a covered shopping centre, White River Place, was opened to the public in 2009. There is also a weekly market by the church selling local produce.
The Eden Project, located just outside St Austell at Boldelva, is undoubtedly Cornwall's prime visitor attraction. The Project is a revolutionary concept and consists of a series of giant greenhouse domes set in a former china clay pit. Three "biomes": the Outdoor, the Rain-forest and the Mediterranean Biome permit visitors to experience plant life as it really is in these three environments.
Originally the brain child of Tim Smit, who also fathered the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Eden was funded by a £55.3 million grant from the Millennium Commission and is sustained by a charitable trust. Since it opened in 2001, more than 8 million visitors have passed through its doors. Visiting the Eden Project
The China Clay Country Park is set in 26 acres of woodland some 3 km north of St Austell. Visitors can follow nature and historical trails which lead to a high level viewpoint over Wheal Martyn Pit, a present-day working clay quarry. An exhibition explains the process for extracting the clay, which is a prime ingredient in ceramic production. The clay is produced when granite decays over long periods of time. Until the discovery of St Austell's kaolin deposits in the mid 18th century the clay could only be obtained from China.
Charlestown harbour is a popular tourist spots just a km and a half from St Austell. The small port is named after Charles Rashleigh a local landowner who in 1801 was responsible for the harbour's construction, mainly for the export of china clay. The Heritage Visitor Centre shows the life of the port in Victorian times and contains artifacts from 150 odd shipwrecks which have occurred along this wild stretch of coast. There are usually one or two impressive replica tall ships, moored at the quayside. These may well be familiar from their use in several film and TV productions
The St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre is located at 63, Trevarthian Road. The Centre is an interactive museum that tells the story of many of Cornwall's pubs and beers. You can walk through the old Victorian brewery and see exactly how beer is brewed.
Cornish Market World is located just outside St. Austell on the A390 road to St.Blazey. There you will find a large indoor market with over 300 stalls offering all manner of gifts, curios and useful items. The site includes Kidzworld a sizable indoor play zone for children