Classic Cornwall gardens

Cornwall is known around the world for the breadth and splendour of its gardens. The legacy of the Victorian plant-hunters, Cornwall boasts an array of horticultural jewels that are worth visiting again and again.

The Eden Project

eden-projectlocation: St Austell, PL24 2SG

Eleven years ago this place was a barren, exhausted china clay pit. Now its massive Biomes (one of which is the biggest greenhouse in the world) and millions of plants bear witness to what can be achieved by a can-do attitude and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Eden is as potent a symbol of hope for the future as you could find anywhere on earth. That's the big stuff…simple pleasures await you here too: imaginative children's play areas, impromptu storytelling, workshops for all ages, a wide choice of delicious food, a shop full of amazing stuff from all over the world – and just sniffing the flowers of course!

Lost Gardens of Heligan

lost_gardens_heligan1_originallocation: Nr St Ewe, PL26 6EN

Heligan was recently dubbed 'The Nation's Favourite Garden' by BBC Gardeners' World viewers after the award-winning restoration of its productive gardens, but this is just one of many features that make this a fantastic year-round destination.

The 22-acre 'jungle' was created as a horticultural playground to indulge the passion for sub-tropical plants that swept the country over a hundred years ago. Now some of the most lush vegetation in the country can be found in this steep-sided valley garden, including the largest collection of tree ferns in Europe, thickets of bamboo and a banana plantation.


gardens-trebahlocation: Mawnan Smith, TR11 5JZ

Trebah is our favourite! Steeply wooded, sub-tropical 25 acre ravine garden, falls 200 feet from 18th Century house to private beach on the Helford River. A stream cascading over waterfalls through ponds full of Koi Carp and exotic water plants, winds through two acres of hydrangeas and spills out over the beach. Glades of huge sub-tropical tree ferns and palms mingle with a multitude of trees and shrubs of ever-changing colours and scent, beneath an over-arching canopy of 100 year old rhododendrons.

Enys Trust

location: Penryn, TR10 9LB

Said to be one of the oldest gardens in Cornwall, Enys is a historical garden that deserves a visit by any garden connisseur with a passion for the past. The displays of bluebells are the most amazing spectacle, and are not to be missed. With so much to explore, from the water wheel and lakes in the lower valley, to the parkland of bluebells in spring, it comes as no surprise that the scenery here has been much photographed over the years. Enys makes a wonderful garden for walkers, and it's also dog friendly, so bring your four-legged friends!


Trelissicksmllocation: Feock (Nr Truro), TR3 6QL

Perched at the head of the Fal Estuary, Trelissick boasts jaw-dropping views and a huge array of plant species. Quite literally at the water's edge, you can catch the ferry from Truro, Falmouth or the Roseland Peninsula to land at this waterside garden and exotic wonderland. At its heart, the 20-acre garden itself is a year-round display of colourful blooms, noted for its camellias, rhododendrons and a collection of photinia and azaleas. There's plenty of room to let the kids run wild, and you can lead their imaginations across the globe as you discover foreign trees and shrubs.


trevarnolocation: Crowntown (Nr Helston), TR13 0RU

A true hidden gem nestled in a valley just three miles from Helston, this horticultural hotspot has only been open to the public since 1998. This historical garden is home to a beautiful Victorian boathouse that sits on the tranquil lake, but it also boasts many more features from the past such as a century-old Yew tunnel. The jewel in its historical crown is its fascinating National Museum of Gardening. Even young imaginations will be captivated by the intriguing museum, but there is much more on offer that makes Trevarno a family friendly garden.


carwinion-bamboo-gardenlocation: Mawnan Smith, TR11 5JA

Twelve-acres of wild Victorian gardens nestled in the Helford Valley, Carwinion is home to one of the most spectacular national collections of bamboo in the country. Carwinion is a wild and untamed spring garden prolific with wild flowers, primroses and blue bells and let the colourful camellias, hydrangeas, ferns and wild flowers flood your senses of sight and smell. In the summer explore the banks of the ponds, streams and enormous groves of gunnera. Bring your four-legged companions to explore this dog friendly plot, and take a stroll up the sides of the valley that are brimming with large rhododendrons, palms and a wildly exotic atmosphere.


location: Grampound (Nr Truro), TR2 4DD

This horticultural hotspot has been described as "perhaps the most beautiful woodland garden in England" (Penelope Hobhouse), and is internationally famous for its collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias. With 28-acres of paradise to explore, Trewithen is a fantastically family friendly spot to let the kids loose. The stunning magnolia fountain will leave them wide-mouthed in amazement, and big, beautiful trees will keep their imaginations sky-high. Other distractions to keep them wonderfully amused include viewing platforms, a camera obscura, a play area and a tearoom for a well-deserved break.