Named after an early Celtic priest and saint, St Yestin, St Just is the most westerly town in Cornwall. Situated on the wildly beautiful Cape Cornwall coast, it’s an historic town that grew around the farming, fishing and mining industries that created great wealth for Cornwall in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The remains of a medieval amphitheatre or Plen-an-Gwary (‘Place of Play’) in St Just’s central square, behind the clock tower, are one of its visitor highlights. Plen-an-Gwary is a circle of stones that formed the seating portion of a theatre that dates back to the 1400s and is still used to stage annual musical performances and plays today.
In and around St Just are the remnants of Iron, Bronze and Stone Age monuments and the parish church dates back to the 15th century.
Nowadays known for its vibrant community of artists and musicians, St Just truly comes alive on St Just Day in November when local residents celebrate the dedication of the church. A children’s procession takes place in the morning followed by a community procession and a lantern procession in the evening.
The other big St Just celebration is the Lafrowda Festival in July. Lasting a week it attracts a lot of visitors.
Remains of the tin mines at Botallack and Owles and Growns star in the BBC adaptation of the Poldark. Both are National Trust owned. There is easy parking by the roadside and you can walk down to see them on foot. The tall, majestic mine chimneys perched on the cliffs and set against the sweeping, Atlantic view make very dramatic holiday photos!
St Just is known for its art and music culture. Be sure to visit the galleries around St Just’s main square and check for live performances in the local pubs and halls.