Sample a taste of South Cornwall: a local’s guide to Charlestown
Coastal walks, first class dining and that famous harbour wall
Charlestown is one of Cornwall’s most picturesque villages, lined with traditional fisherman’s cottages, boutique shops and much-loved restaurants. Whether you’re stopping by for lunch after a walk along the coast path or enjoying a leisurely afternoon by the water, this south coast gem offers a tranquil slice of Cornish life. From waterside pubs to walks with the dog, here are our top recommendations for what to see and do in Charlestown.
Explore the village’s rich maritime past
As soon as you set foot on Charlestown’s harbourside, you’ll be welcomed by the towering masts and iconic sails of the village’s tall ships. A picturesque backdrop for a reel of Cornish films and TV programmes, the boats that line the working harbour have appeared in the likes of Mansfield Park, Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Who and of course, Poldark.
Visit the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre to uncover a treasure trove of seafaring artefacts curated over the last 40 years. Housing ancient trinkets and coins recovered from historical ships including the Mary Rose and Henry VIII’s famous warship, the museum tells the story of some of Britain’s quarter of a million wrecks beneath the sea. Rooted in Cornish culture, children and historians alike will be fascinated by the maritime stories the museum has to tell.
Stop by for a barbecue at The Longstore
South Cornwall’s holy grail for steaks and seafood, The Longstore is a firm favourite for those in the know. The restaurant menu celebrates locally sourced ingredients from the land and sea, with a great choice of salads and starters for smaller appetites, plus plenty of hearty dishes from the grill. Book a table to celebrate an occasion or wander down at the weekend for bottomless coffee and Saturday brunch.
Perfect for a summer’s day, The Longstore’s latest passion project has welcomed a pop-up barbecue to Charlestown’s waterfront. The aptly named HarbourQ is complete with a purpose-built smoker and outdoor communal seating, making it a lovely option for dog friendly dining. If you’re more tempted by breakfast, don’t miss Short and Strong – a Cornish deli tucked beneath The Longstore. Serving a wonderful selection of sweet and savoury favourites, it’s a quaint harbourfront setting for coffee and croissants with a view.
Indulge your sweet tooth at Tall Ships Creamery
Once used as a weighbridge for Cornwall’s precious commodities, the family-run Tall Ships Creamery sits in the centre of Charlestown, proudly serving its old-fashioned sweet shop flavours. With an award-winning repertoire of ice creams, sorbets and frozen yoghurts, the pint-sized shop makes each recipe from scratch, from Cornish sea salt to caramelised fig.
After a walk along the beach or a dip in the water, stop by the creamery for a scoop or two of your favourite flavour. Named after their nautical surroundings, children will love the novelty of ‘banana boat’ and ‘pirates peanut butter’, with gluten and dairy free diets taken care of too.
Explore the surrounding coast path with the circular Porthpean walk
Charlestown is perfectly placed for exploring the beautiful South West Coast Path that surrounds it. With Carlyon Bay, Polkerris and Pentewan all within walking distance, it’s a lovely spot to visit whether it marks the start, end or all-important lunch stop of your walk.
Explore the nearby Porthpean by taking to the bridleway from Charlestown and following the tunnel of trees which spans the golf course and passes by the church at Higher Porthpean. Watch the boats come sailing in from your vantagepoint above the harbour and enjoy a wander through the fields, before heading down the coast path via the beach on the return route.
If you’re feeling more energetic, you can follow the coast path towards the Gribbin Daymark and Menabilly Beach near Fowey – a lengthier day trip to enjoy with a dog by your side.
Sample the maritime menu at The Rashleigh Arms
A charming yet modern take on a Cornish pub, The Rashleigh’s nautical interiors and enticing menu make it one of our favourite spots for lunch. The dog friendly pub sits in the heart of Charlestown, offering great food and a casual setting to drink and dine. Choose from an ever-changing menu of pub classics and coastal specials, from lobster salad to Cornish dressed crab. Spice up your Tuesday evening with weekly curry nights, or just stop by for coffee and cake.
If you’re visiting in the colder months, sink into a leather armchair and warm your hands beside the wood burner, or eat outdoors in the sunny patio garden and enjoy views across the harbour.
Book in for a leisurely afternoon at The Cornwall
After a day spent trampling the coast path, nothing soothes a walker’s aches and pains quite like a trip to the spa. Located just outside Charlestown, the Cornwall Hotel, Spa and Estate is the perfect setting to relax, unwind and slow down the pace.
Book in for a treatment at the Clearing Spa with an impressive 43 acres of natural parkland as your backdrop, or take tea in the all-new Laura Ashley tea room. Serving relaxed brunches and quintessentially English afternoon tea, the bright and airy conservatory serves a wonderful selection of cakes and sandwiches, suitable for vegan diets and children’s appetites alike.
Retreat to Ocean View in nearby Mevagissey
With its open plan design and beautiful beachy interiors, Ocean View sits just around the coast from Charlestown, in the equally charming fishing village of Mevagissey. Complete with an abundance of outdoor space and a hot tub for the summer months, plus a toasty wood burner and games room for when the weather takes a turn, it’s an idyllic retreat come rain or shine.
Explore your wonderful south coast surroundings with family friendly day trips to The Eden Project and nearby china clay bike trails or stay local and enjoy Mevagissey’s tempting array of boat trips and lunch options.
To book a south coast staycation at Ocean View, call 01208 895570 and speak to one of our property experts. From recommending the best family friendly day trips to advising on the best restaurants in the area, they’ll be happy to help you plan the perfect getaway. Alternatively, click here to browse our holiday homes.