Gardens of Cornwall
Spectacular shows almost all year round
Cornwall is well known for its spectacular gardens. For every garden, there’s a story, from the painstaking restoration of the Lost Gardens of Heligan to pioneering work in conservation and education at the Eden Project. Both of these gardens are only a short drive away from Bosinver and well worth a visit all year round.
Thanks to the county’s milder climate, plants that struggle elsewhere in the country flourish here. Many of the gardens in Cornwall are actually part of the legacy of the mining industry: horticulture was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and wealthy mining families financed plant hunting expeditions across the globe. These expeditions brought back samples of exotic plants like rhododendrons (from India) and tree ferns (from New Zealand), and many more.
Most of them are at their best in April, May and early June, with spectacular shows of magnolias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Cornwall’s often quieter then, so take advantage of lower priced breaks and be prepared for some breathtaking displays of colour.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey PL26 6EN – Heligan’s award-winning historical restoration offers over 200 acres for exploration, including the Mud Maid, sub-tropical jungle with tree ferns and a pioneering wildlife project. There’s also a café serving great food, using much of Heligan’s own produce. Open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
The Eden Project, Bodelva near St Austell PL24 2SG – the iconic visitor destination nestled in a huge China Clay crater. Massive Biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity, and stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.
Pinetum Gardens, St Austell 10 gardens in one over 30 acres, including a water garden, courtyard, cottage, sunken and Japanese gardens. Open all year (except 24th-26th Dec), dogs welcome.
Trewithen Gardens, Grampound Road, Probus TR2 4DD – with its unique collection of tender and rare plants this garden is at it’s very best in spring and early summer. Includes a walled garden with a lily pond and summerhouse and a former quarry which is now a rock garden. Café on site. Open Mon – Sat (March to June)
Caerhays Estate Gardens, Porthluney PL26 6LY – The estate is world famous for the magnificent camellias and rhododendrons which transform the gardens in spring. Also home to the National Magnolia Collection. Tea rooms. Gardens open 10am-5pm every day mid Feb to mid June.
Lamorran House Gardens, St Mawes TR2 5BZ – 4 acre sub tropical garden on a hillside with fantastic views to St Anthony’s Headland and the sea. Water gardens are in Mediterranean and Japanese settings where palm trees abound with an extensive collection of rhododendrons, azaleas peaking in May. Open April – Sept NB Difficult for disabled in view of incline.
Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, TR11 5JZ – a delightful garden on the Helford river with its own private beach. Café at the beach during main season and all year round at the Visitors’ Centre. Open every day from 10am (last entry 3:30pm).
There are also several impressive National Trust gardens in Cornwall which are well worth a visit:
Trelissick Gardens Feock, near Truro TR3 6QL – a peaceful and varied garden in a fabulous position. Throughout the year, this 30 acre garden is awash with colour, while the parkland has breath-taking views down towards the sea. The estate is surrounded by woodland and full of wonderful walks – we have written numerous blog posts about the wonders of Trelissick!
Lanhydrock near Bodmin PL30 5AD – a magnificent late Victorian country house with extensive servants’ quarters, wonderful gardens and a wooded estate. It has a delightful collection of magnolias, camellias and rhodedendrons, although the garden is full of colour all year around. You can also follow numerous paths through the woods and parkland down to the river Fowey and they now have cycle trails – see our Lanhydrock cycling blog post.
Glendurgan Garden Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth TR11 5JZ – a wonderful subtropical garden, with special interest for families. Glendurgan is a place of great beauty and tranquillity. Three valleys converge and drop down towards the beach on the Helford river. It’s a magical place for children, with the laurel maze, the giant’s stride (rope swing) and the beach – see our Glendurgan blog post.
St Michael’s Mount, Nr Penzance TR17 0HT – a jewel in Cornwall’s crown and each year thousands of visitors flock to this ancient landmark to marvel at its beauty. The buildings date back to the 12th century when there was first a priory, then a fortress, a place of pilgrimage and finally a private home of the St Aubyn family in 1659. In 1954, the family went into partnership with the National Trust and the castle and its grounds were opened to the public. The Mount is home to several residents, has its own harbour, sub-tropical gardens, cafés and gift shops. You can walk across to the Mount along the ‘giant’s causeway’ at low tide – see our St Michaels Mount blog post.