Things to do near St Austell China Clay pits

The 5 Best Things to Do Near St Austell

It makes a lot of sense to stay in the same place when you’re exploring Cornwall – and St Austell is a great place to base yourself. And whether you prefer to visit gardens – Cornwall has some great ones and many within easy reach of St Austell, or country houses, or beaches. There are some super things to see and do near St Austell. Here are the 5 best things to do around St Austell, Cornwall.


One of the great reasons for staying in St Austell and the surrounding area is that you’re close to being able to visit heaps of great South Cornwall attractions.  Location, location, location, as they say! You can find our recommendations for the best places to stay in St Austell here – and when you base yourself in St Austell, be sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in St Austell.

St Austell is a great place to base yourself in Cornwall to explore the nearby area – here are the best things to do near St Austell.

The 5 Best Things to Do Near St Austell

You don’t have to travel far from St Austell for some fabulous attractions, gardens and places to visit – so here are the highlights and our recommendations for the best things to do that are close to St Austell, Cornwall.

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1. Visit Lanhydrock House

If you like gardens, free parking and magnificent old country houses, then you’ll do well to invest in a National Trust Membership for your trip to Cornwall.  I think the free parking is worth its weight in gold, but you’ll also be able to visit some stunning gardens and houses for free too.  And Lanhydrock is one of the best.  Lanhydrock is a magnificent late Victorian country house above the River Fowey in Cornwall, only 10 miles from St Austell. Although today we’re looking at it from the perspective of St Austell, it is one of the best things to do in Fowey too!

The house at Lanhydrock was rebuilt after a fire in 1881, yet it still has parts from the 1600s. The 890-acre home is a Grade I listed structure that has been owned and administered by the National Trust since 1953.  It’s a great place to learn more about the two sides of Victorian life. The ‘upstairs’ living portion, which includes the stylish dining room and huge bedrooms, exemplifies the luxury of a large family house. And there’s a ‘below stairs’ portion with nurseries, Victorian kitchens, and servants’ rooms.

Lanydrock House near St Austell

Lanhydrock is about more than just the house though, this stunning country estate also has 30 acres of grounds filled with camellias, magnolias, and rhododendrons. Spring flowers are glorious here too, in fact, there’s a magnificent display of flora whatever time of year you come.  Keen cyclists will also enjoy off-road bike tracks. Keep an eye out for the museum and used bookstore.

  • Address of Lanhydrock House: Lanhydrock House, PL30 5AD Bodmin, United Kingdom
  • Opening Times for Lanhydrock House: Luxulyan Valley is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Admission Prices for Lanhydrock House: The admission fee to Lanhydrock House is £17.00 for adults and £8.50 for children.  National Trust members get in for free (and park for free too!)

2. Visit Restormel Castle from St Austell

Restormel Castle is the greatest remaining example of a circular castle in the United Kingdom. It is, unfortunately, however, in ruins, but has beautiful gardens and spectacular views of the Fowey Estuary.  Twice visited by Edward, the Black Prince, Restormel is now a ruin and a haven for wildflowers.  You can, however, still see the remains of large fireplaces and towering windows, and the ghost of the Great Hall will be seen.

Restormel Castle near St Austell

From the courtyard, you can ascend the stone stairs for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Restormel Castle is especially beautiful in the spring when daffodils, bluebells, and rhododendrons bloom. A walking route connects Restormel Castle to the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery. As an English Heritage member, you’ll get free entry to Restormel Castle. You can read more about the best castles in Cornwall in our guide here.

  • Address of Restormel Castle: Restormel Rd, Lostwithiel PL22 0EE, United Kingdom
  • Opening Times for Restormel Castle: Restormel Castle opens daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm 
  • Admission Prices for Restormel Castle: The admission fee at Restormel Castle is £6.50 for adults and £3.90 for children.  English Heritage members get in for free (you can join EH here).

3. Visit Mevagissey from St Austell

Mevagissey is a gorgeous small, quintessential Cornish fishing village, nestled around a harbour.  It was formerly the heart of Cornwall’s pilchard fishery and now has a thriving harbour with a few dozen modest fishing boats. Mevagissey has a boat-building heritage that dates back to 1745 and many of the houses here, made of cob and slate, bear witness to a period when the village’s income was based on vast shoals of pilchards.  

Mevagissey visit from St Austell

Most people visit Mevagissey on a day trip – you’ll need to get here early and park on the outskirts of town.  If you plan on staying longer, then our guide on what to do in Mevagissey is here.  You can take fishing trips from the harbour, but one of the more popular ways to visit is by taking a ferry from Fowey (so consider driving to Fowey and taking the ferry instead, it’s a glorious trip!).  The times of the Mevagissey to Fowey ferry are here.

4. Visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan from St Austell, Cornwall

Heligan’s ancient gardens were forgotten and unseen thirty years ago, buried in the mists and brambles of time since the onset of WWI. Only the accidental discovery of a door in the ruins contributed to the restoration of this once-grand house.

Visit Lost Gardens of Heligan from St Austell

Today, The Lost Gardens have been restored to their rightful position among England’s best gardens. A visit here is stunning, whatever time of year you come.  They’re one of Cornwall’s best gardens (more on them here).

  • Address of The Lost Gardens of Heligan:  Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, Saint Austell, United Kingdom, PL26 6EN
  • Opening times of The Lost Gardens of Heligan: The Lost Gardens of Heligan are open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with the final admission at 4:30 pm.
  • Cost to enter The Lost Gardens of Heligan: Main Season – April 1st – October 31st
    • Adult – £22.50
    • Child (5-17 Years) – £9.50
    • Child (Under 5) – Free
    • Family Garden Admission (1 Adult & up to 3 Children) – £45
    • Family Garden Admission – (2 adults & up to 3 children) – £58
    • Student – £12
    • Carer/Personal Assistant – Free

5. Head to one of the Beaches near St Austell

Whether you choose to go to Pentewans Sands (its glorious, or Charlestown Beach, there are plenty of beaches here in South Cornwall and many in easy reach of St Austell. Read more about South Cornwall beaches in our guide here.

Pentewan Sands near St Austell

Travel Tips for Exploring Cornwall


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Final Words on the Best 5 Things to Do Near St Austell

When you’re heading to South Cornwall St Austell might be one of the more cost effective places to stay, and its a great spot in which to base yourself. There are some super day trips from St Austell that you can manage (although you’ll need a car to get to most of them). and you can easily explore the area – the gardens, National Trust properties and beaches – all are fabulous things to do close to St Austell.

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