Porthpean means “Little Cove” in the Cornish language.
In ancient times it was a thriving fishing port, with fish cellars and a malthouse although now it is best known for its safe bathing beach, with a cafe and toilets (both seasonal). It has an old village square and lovely church, a sailing club, a golf club and a croquet club. Porthpean Outdoor Centre is widely used by Cornish Schools.
Above Porthpean and just outside the parish boundary are St. Austell Community Hospital, Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and the Children’s Hospice known as Little Harbour, which was built on land donated by a local farmer.