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Charlestown: Johnny Depp swinging in the rigging?

I suppose the images in my mind of Johnny Depp flying through the rigging persuaded me that we should follow my son's demands and go and visit one of Cornwall's most popular tourist attractions, Charlestown. This little village, close to St Austell, is effectively a nautical film set - complete with tall ships in a tiny port with a row of small Georgian cottages sitting prettily on the hill above.

After a rather good mussels and chips at the Rashleigh Arms we set off to explore. I imagine that this place can be a bit of a nightmare when it's full of crowds but the joy of going places, especially on the coast, out of season, is that you can often have the place to yourself. And Charlestown was surprisingly peaceful. Though sadly there was no sight Captain Sparrow swinging through the rigging, there was something rather wonderful about going back in time and I certainly did - with the first few bars of the Onedin Line theme tune (yes filmed here too, and Frenchman's Creek and Hornblower) resounding in my ears I could easily imagine myself, a few centuries ago. There's a small crescent of sandy beach here, an excellent Shipwreck museum and some eclectic galleries and antique shops scattered about. But what is an absolute rite of taste passage is the incredible ice-creams at the Tall Ships Creamery. Proper home-made ice-creams and sorbets that deserved their national top ten status. And staring out to sea, while eating one of these, banished any lingering thoughts of sexy pirates.    

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