This time of year is one of the most beautiful season's to visit a Cornish garden, with Rhododendron and wildflowers flourishing. We have scoured the county for the most stunning gardens around...
A Cornish garden steeped in history, Trebah Garden near Mawnan Smith is an absolute must-see. The garden really is a picturesque paradise, where plants you’ll struggle to believe can grow in Great Britain absolutely thrive. Among the many highlights are 100 year old rhodedendrons, a giant bamboo maze and 9 tree ‘Champions’ – the largest specimens of their kind in the country.
Out of the garden follow the path through the Hydrangea Valley down to Trebah’s very own private beach on the Helford River. Polgwidden Cove was used in 1944 as a D Day Embarkation point by some 7,500 US infantry soldiers, and is now the perfect place to sit in the sun enjoying a coffee or an ice cream from The Boathouse before exploring further. Don’t miss the amphitheatre, where comedy clubs, Shakespearian plays and even a Fisherman’s Friends concert will be taking place this summer.
Glendurgan is yet another garden lucky enough to enjoy its own beach. Whilst it is just around the corner from Trebah, it’s worth taking to time to visit this National Trust managed garden as well. Created as a ‘heaven on earth’ for a family of 12 children, Glendurgan features a Cherry Laurel maze which was originally planted in 1833 – making it over 180 years old!
Carpeting the 3 valleys Glendurgan is set across are meadows of wildflowers, where you can spot an array of bees and butterflies weaving amongst different varieties of flora depending on the time of year. There’s also the Giants Stride, a rotating rope swing that’s been providing fun for kids and grownups alike since 1915. We’d start at the Giants Stride, head down to the quaint hamlet of Durgan, enjoy an ice cream from The Fish Cellar, then head back up the valley to stop at the maze on the way back. There is, of course, a café – we highly recommend their cakes!
The story behind the aptly named Lost Gardens of Heligan is a fascinating one. Like a real life version of the 1911 children’s novel The Secret Garden, the derelict gardens were discovered in 1990 following decades of neglect as a result of the First World War. The gardens, once lost under a tangle of weeds, have now been open to the public for 25 years and continue to flourish, winning countless national awards over the years.
With its charming walled gardens and lush foliage, Heligan strikes the perfect balance between formal garden and sub-tropical jungle. Don’t miss the 100ft long Burmese rope bridge in the jungle area, just be warned that there are some steep gradients to and from it. While you’re there you can also enjoy a bite to eat from The Heligan Kitchen – 23 of their 25 food suppliers are based within Cornwall, so you can literally get a taste of what our county has to offer.