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St Austell Clay country

Top places to live in Cornwall St Austell

Often overlooked, what St Austell lacks in chocolate box cuteness it makes up for in good schools, reasonably priced property and urban essentials including a hospital - that said, the surrounding villages are beautiful, with prices to match. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

WHY? 

This old market town is still very much a working town and while the town itself isn’t the prettiest, it is benefiting from an influx of artists no longer able to afford more traditionally artistic towns, opening new studios and creating public and outdoor art. What was once probably somewhere to avoid is now a great place to be based to explore this part of the county. St. Austell has now been firmly put on the map, and is on the up. It’s ideal for those with a more modest budget as you can still buy a reasonably priced house even in the surrounding villages and be near to some of the county’s finest beaches and coastline.

EAT

The food options in St Austell itself are more functional than destination restaurants, although they do have plenty of drive-thru takeaway. There is however plenty to choose from nearby: locals love Edie’s Place, then The Longstore at Charlestown is a steak and fish specialty restaurant and Sams on the Beach in Polkerris serves pizzas and seafood from the old lifeboat house. Pubs nearby include the Polgooth Inn.

SHOP

St Austell is very much an example of a classic old market town with a high street to match but there are plenty of supermarkets, as well as Muddy Award finalists Beas (clothing) and Chy Blew (hairdressers). Nearby is the White River Place retail park and cinema complex as well as a retail park in the centre. If you’re after antique shops and a mix of independent clothing and homeware you’ll want to head to either Lostwithiel or Fowey, both a short drive away.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

The more conventionally pretty harbour town of Mevagissey is just down the road and Charlestown, an unspoilt late Georgian working port where many films are created, is only one mile away. The Eden Project and the Muddy Award winning The Lost Gardens of Heligan are both on the doorstep, as are the beaches of St Austell Bay. You’ll also find The Cornwall Hotel & Spa and Knightor Winery at Trethurgy – home to a great sparkling wine and they also make Cornish Vermouth. Just a little further away is the gorgeous Roseland peninsular where you’ll find empty beaches as well as some more upmarket eateries in Porthscatho and St Mawes. The nearby Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum is an interesting insight into china clay production and very kid friendly. Don’t miss local landmark Gribbin Head lighthouse on the SW Coast Path.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

St Austell recorded the second-biggest jump in asking prices in the whole of the UK, with average prices rising 20pc to £285,186, with detached houses in the town itself costing upwards of £375,000. The nearby villages are punchier, with 4-bed detached properties costing upwards of £700,000.

HOT PROPERTY

Got grand designs on Cornwall then this 5 bed contemporary property set in 2 acres with sea views is on the market for £3.45m with Strutt & Parker.

SCHOOLS

For independents, you’ll need to head to Truro. State school wise, St Austell is home to the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Penrice Academy secondary school, as well as ‘Good’ primaries Pondhu Primary School, Mount Charles School and ‘Outstanding’ Sandy Hill Academy. Nearby, Charlestown Primary School is also rated ‘Good’.

BEST KEPT SECRET

The Clay Trails opened in 2005 – the route from the Eden Project to Wheal Martyn is dubbed ‘the Cornish Alps’ as cyclists enjoy the series of switchbacks on a steep incline. Take the route from the Eden Project up to the Sky Spur viewpoint through a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or the shorter flatter Green Corridor from St Austell to Wheal Martyn, it is suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and scooters. Also coming soon is a new ceramic sculpture, Earth Goddess, which will be as tall as 2 double decker buses, designed as a celebration of St Austell’s connection to china clay and will sit in the town centre as one as 18 sculptures that will form a new ceramic art trail.

COMMUTE

St Austell is on the mainline to London Paddington which takes just over four hours, so doesn’t work for a daily commute, but you’re only an hour by train to Plymouth, or 15 minutes from Truro, which opens up more job options. Exeter can be reached by car in under 90 minutes and Truro in 30 minutes.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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