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Family-friendly gardens and historic house at Lanhydrock near Bodmin

Lanhydrock is a family-friendly place to visit. There's an adventure playground, off-road cycle trails with challenges and a quiz sheet to keep kids busy.
must be on everyone’s list to visit in spring. The established magnolias in gorgeous bloom along with multi-petalled camellias and vibrant azaleas make this a garden full of ooh-and-aah moments!

However, I have visited this popular property in all seasons and there simply isn’t a “bad” time to visit. Just pick a sunny day and follow the A30 or A38 to where they intersect at Bodmin and you’re within spitting distance of Lanhydrock’s grand entrance. The house is closed during the winter months but the estate, gardens, courtyard restaurant, shop and tea room are open throughout the year, generally from 10am to dusk.

New additions since my last visit include the plant centre where you can purchase you own little pot of greenery as a lasting souvenir of your visit. There is also a new display of the Lanhydrock Atlas in the museum.

Tour of Lanhydrock House

Entry to the grand Victorian house is controlled, so make sure you get your timed ticket when you arrive and plan the rest of your visit around it. Once inside you can see everything in each of the 50 stately rooms that are open for self-guided tours without them being overcrowded.

Although most of the house dates back to the Victorian era, the original house is Jacobean. An unfortunate fire in 1881 meant that much of the house had to be rebuilt but this meant that the latest technology was added during the restoration. Fire hydrants, warming cupboards in the dining rooms and even central heating was added.

The room known as Tommy’s bedroom has some interesting exhibits from Word War 1, now a century old. Trench maps, photographs and war diaries are also on display.

One of the most unexpected highlights is the huge kitchens which echo with below-stairs life made famous from period dramas such as Downton Abbey. Trying to guess what all the unusual mechanical devices were used for can keep you busy for quite a while.

The splendid family rooms remain furnished in comfortable yet mostly unpretentious style. The ornate plasterwork and delicate porcelain collection draw admiration from those with an eye for detail.

My favourite room is the nursery with its traditional doll’s house, and Noah’s ark. It’s hard not to want to pick them up and play. Although most antiques cannot be touched, you can tinkle the ivories of the Steinway piano in the gallery as you pass.

Family photographs show the wonderful style of dress of the family and their servants. Apparently the Agar-Robartes family were fair masters to work for, but hours were long and the domestic work was hard.

As well as the park and riverside walks there are often free tours of the formal gardens with a volunteer guide.

Lanhydrock Trails and Cycle Hire

The cycle hire centre is open from mid-February to late autumn where you can pick up a map of off-road cycle trails around the estate. They are graded from easy to difficult and include rollers, rocks and jumps for practicing your skills. If you arrive by bicycle you even get a 10% discount voucher to spend in the restaurant or shop, so it pays to be green!

Family Visits to Lanhydrock

The park and woods at Lanhydrock are ideal for children to run and play. Dogs are also welcome but must be kept on a lead. If you are visiting with babies there are baby slings to hire so you can walk around the house and gardens hands-free.

Pick up a children’s trail and quiz sheet which is suitable for school age children and provides a purpose in looking for things while adults enjoy the historic and botanical features. The children’s adventure playground is a nice place to rest while the children are happily occupied.

If you plan to visit, look out for some of the special events that Lanhydrock hosts during the school holidays and make your visit extra fun.

Have you visited Lanhydrock? Dis you find it a great place to take the family? Share your top tips for a fun visit to Lynhydrock, we’d love to hear them…

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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