Walking Tour of Charlestown

Charlestown is the finest example of a working 19th Century port in the world. It was designed by John Smeaton and built by Charles Rashleigh the local landowner between 1790 and 1810 for the export of Tin, Copper and China Clay.

It was originally a small fishing village called West Polmear but with the development of the harbour the population quickly rose to 3000. A number of businesses thrived including the curing of pilchards, ship building, brick making and lime burning.

The character of this late Georgian town is unspoilt with many fishing cottages and Georgian town houses as well as many reminders of it’s industrial past. Charlestown is often used as the backdrop for period dramas including Winston Graham’s Poldark novels dramatised by the recent BBC series.

With a fleet of square rigged ships in the port you will be taken back in time to when the Cornish economy relied on these vessels to import coal and to export tin, copper and later China Clay.

There are many cafes, galleries and restaurants to visit as well as the Shipwreck Rescue and Heritage Visitor Centre which has recently undergone an exciting refurbishment.

Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum

After visiting Charlestown it’s just a short journey to the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum.

This award winning Heritage Museum takes you on a journey from the discovery of China Clay by William Cookworthy to it’s extraction, processing and final use of this vital commodity to the Cornish economy.

Why Not Take a Full Day?

The Eden Project

See how our industrial past can be transformed to house a spectacular structure which contains a number of exotic environments.