Cornwall is blessed with some truly wonderful gardens which are open to the public to enjoy. A temperate climate and mild winters ensure that a huge array of flowers and plants flourish including sub-tropical plants, towering trees, laurel mazes and the early blossoming of spring colour. Many happy hours can be spent exploring the gardens and revelling in the peace of these beautiful established estates. Here are ten of our favourites…
National Trust Trelissick House and Gardens
Feock, near Truro TR3 6QL
Set in more than 400 acres of sweeping parkland with beautiful views of the Fal River and Estuary, these National Trust gardens are well worth a visit. In the early summer a riot of rhododendrons, camellias and hydrangeas provide vibrant colour, and tree ferns and sub-tropical plants bring an exotic feel to the surroundings. Dogs are allowed on the woodland walks and down to the small beach, but not within the landscaped gardens and house. There is also a restaurant, gallery and shop.
For more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick
National Trust Glendurgan
Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth TR11 5JZ
Almost 200 years old, Glendurgan Gardens are nestled in a 30 acre woodland valley. This sheltered position creates a very mild climate, the perfect conditions for many exotic and rare trees and shrubs. In spring there are beautiful displays of camellias, azaleas and magnolias followed by foxgloves and hydrangeas in the summer.
Enjoying beautiful views of the Helford Estuary, the gardens also have a mature cherry laurel maze with a thatched summerhouse in the centre and the ‘Giant’s stride’ swing, both popular with families.
For more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/glendurgan-garden
Penryn TR10 9LB
The gardens at Enys are wonderfully tranquil. In contrast to landscaped flower borders, Enys offers peaceful informal walks, walled gardens and ancient trees, creating a magical feeling of stepping back in time. In spring the show of bluebells in the open meadows is breathtaking, and the ponds, waterwheel and orchards also well worth exploring. Behind the little café, where you can get a cream tea, a very tall Ginkgo biloba tree is said to the second tallest in the UK after the one at Kew Gardens.
To find out what will be in flower during your visit, click on http://www.enysgardens.org.uk/
Pencarrow House and Gardens
Bodmin PL30 3AG
A mile long drive, flanked by rhododendrons, camellias and blue hydrangeas, makes an impressive entrance to this imposing mansion and gardens. The gardens are best visited before mid-June to appreciate the 700 different types of rhododendrons, unusual flowering shrubs, and (in early summer) a multitude of tadpoles in the ponds!
For more information visit http://www.pencarrow.co.uk/
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Pentewan, St Austell PL26 6EN
Immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings of the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the astonishing story of their restoration. After the First World War the 19th century gardens, which cover over 200 acres, were neglected and became completely overgrown, only to be rediscovered in the 1990s and restored to their former glory. There’s so much to see, including Europe’s only remaining pineapple pit, sub-tropical tree ferns, an Italian garden, Victorian gardens and a series of lakes fed by a ram pump that’s over 100 years old. A garden for all seasons, Heligan makes for a fascinating visit all year round.
To find out more visit https://www.heligan.com/
Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth TR11 5JZ
Rated amongst the finest gardens in the world, Trebah Gardens are a 26 acre, sub-tropical paradise above the Helford River. 100 year old rhododendrons and magnolias provide colour in the spring and the giant gunnera (also known as giant rhubarb) is a must-see in the summer. In the cooler months spectacular ancient trees dominate the landscape.
For opening times and information visit http://www.trebahgarden.co.uk/
National Trust Lanhydrock House and Gardens
Bodmin PL30 5AD
Situated at the bottom of a hill, in the midst of rolling parkland and woodland, Lanhydrock House and Gardens are an impressive sight. Many of the trees date from 1634 and the variety of rare trees and flowering shrubs make Lanhydrock worth visiting all year round. The house is surrounded by herbaceous borders and formal gardens which are ablaze with colour in the spring and summer, including magnificent magnolias and a superb rose garden.
The house is also a must-see, with beautifully furnished rooms providing a fascinating glimpse into the past, including historic kitchens and servants’ quarters.
Visit Lanhydrock’s website for visitor information: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock
Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden
Barnoon Hill, St Ives TR26 1AD
Created by the sculptor Dame Barabara Hepworth, this small garden provides an oasis of calm from the bustling centre of St Ives. Gravel paths meander past a raised pond, between exotic plantings and iconic sculptures, to Hepworth’s workshop. More of her important works can be viewed at the Tate Gallery in St Ives.
More information can be found at https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives/barbara-hepworth-museum-and-sculpture-garden
The Eden Project
Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
Described as the eighth wonder of the world, the Eden Project transformed a vast disused china clay pit into the world’s largest greenhouse, with more than a million plants from all around the globe. The biomes house a vast rainforest complete with cascading waterfall, fruits of the Mediterranean, flowers of South Africa and California, and there are also extensive outdoor gardens. Exploring our relationship with the living world, Eden provides a great opportunity for education, and also regularly hosts art, stories, exhibits and events.
Open all year, the latest opening hours and programme of events can be found on their website: https://www.edenproject.com/visit
National Trust Trengwainton Garden, near Penzance
Madron, Penzance TR20 8RZ
A gardener’s paradise, the garden at Trengwainton is bursting with exotic trees and shrubs, tree ferns, a striking collection of magnolias and beautiful beechwood providing colour throughout the seasons. Take a picnic and make yourself comfy on the Terrace – a large grassy expanse with summerhouses and seating - and marvel at the views to St Michael’s Mount; on clear days you can see right across the 25 miles of Mount’s Bay to the Lizard Peninsula.
Dogs on leads are welcome. Please note Trengwainton is not open on Fridays or Saturdays.