Forget trying to get a meal at one of the many top restaurants in Cornwall for Valentine's Day on February 14th. For atmosphere and a truly unique experience, I would definitely recommend booking early to secure a place at the Valentine dinner in Trelissick Garden. This National Trust property is at Feock, near Truro and is open throughout the winter for enjoying the lovely Fal estuary setting.

Valentine's dinner at Trelissick in the Barn Restaurant

OK, maybe the three course dinner does not actually take place in the family dining room of the grand stately home, but the barn setting with its high beamed ceiling is done out beautifully for this special evening event. The delicious meal is prepared by a team of chefs. What's more there is live entertainment provided by local musicians Chameleon Sounds. They will gently lull you through a most enjoyable evening with music from the 50s and 60s.

Tickets for this one-off event are £26 and it's a good idea to arrive for 7pm and enjoy drinks in the bar. Not only does it start the evening on a pleasant sociable note, it is also all in a good cause raising funds for the National Trust.

The dinner is scheduled to start at 7:30pm and as it in one sitting, you don't want to be late. The three course meal is served at a leisurely pace with everyone enjoying each course as part of the evening which goes on until the wee small hours ….well 10:30pm anyway.

Trelissick House opens its doors for the first time

Trelissick Garden has been delighting visitors to Cornwall for many years, but the house has only recently come into the hands of the National Trust. Many of the contents of this treasured family home were sold at Bonham's in the summer of 2013 and included some noteworthy Chinese porcelain and ceramics.

The National Trust also had a budget and bid for some of the smaller personal family items to enhance the house once it is open to visitors. The collection of treasures were previously owned by Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, former owner of Trelissick and best known as the deputy governor of the Bank of England and Harrods shareholder.

The Trelissick Estate passed to his stepdaughter, Ida Copeland who lived in the house for many years before finally handing it over to the National Trust “for others to enjoy”. They certainly will, including at the Valentine's Dinner.

Until recently the house was not open to estate visitors, although it was beautifully lit up for the Christmas period with the columned entrance lit with stunning coloured lights. A few of the rooms of this stately Cornish residence have now been opened for the first time in December 2013, nearly 60 years after it was acquired by the National Trust.

The family dining room is shown laid out as if for an Edwardian Christmas lunch with some of the family paintings, glassware and ceramics that the National Trust acquired at the recent auction of family contents. The restoration is an exciting work in progress with the first six rooms offering a new reason to visit Trelissick in 2014.

Gardens at Trelissick

Trelissick Gardens are already a popular attraction near Truro. They were given to the National Trust in 1955. It is the home of the National Collection of Photinias and Azaras for those who love horticulture.

Spring is a wonderful time to appreciate the established trees and plantings which include rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias. Palms and flowering cherry blossom are a picture later in the year. The large estate park and woodland are ideal for winter walks when views across the Fal River and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be enjoyed when the trees are bare.

Although February's Valentine's Dinner may be too early to appreciate the flowers, it will certainly whet your appetite to return and enjoy the gardens to their fullest in late spring.

Have you ever dined at Trelissick, either in the restaurant or at one of the special functions? We'd love to hear your eyewitness description ‐ feel free to share it with us.