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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.

St Austell Clay country

WHY? 

This old market town is still very much a working town and while the town itself isn’t the prettiest, it is a great place to be based to explore this part of the county. With the Eden Project nearby, St. Austell has 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, but there is plenty to choose from nearby. The Longstore at Charlestown is a steak and fish specialty restaurant and we also love Fitzroy, in Fowey (their new venture, the North Street Kitchen Seafood Pop Up, also in Fowey, sounds great). Sams on the Beach in Polkerris serves pizzas and seafood from the old lifeboat house.

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. 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 towns of Fowey and Mevagissey are just down the road. Charlestown, an unspoilt late Georgian working port is only one mile away. The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are both on the doorstep, as are the beaches of St Austell Bay. 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

£241,054. Detached properties cost an average of £311,145, semis £198,805 and terraced properties cost £180,688. The nearby villages are punchier, with 4-bed detached properties costing upwards of £700,000.

HOT PROPERTY

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, suitable for buggies, wheelchairs and scooters.

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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