Cornwall has over 66 splendid gardens which are open to the public, from magnificent estates belonging to some of the National Trust's finest properties to enchanting private gardens, created by their owners to be shared with fellow plant lovers. Here are five favourites ‐ something for everyone, but the other 61 are well-worth visiting too!
Lost Gardens of Heligan
The 200-acre Lost Gardens of Heligan captured the imagination of Tim Smit and the nation as it was gradually restored in the 1990s from an overgrown wilderness, left untouched since World War I. It now features magnificent themed gardens, specimen rhododendrons and exotic shrubs. The Hidden Valley is a lush sub-tropical jungle alongside a series of pools and the Ride takes visitors through ancient woodlands to the old mill pond.
Lanhydrock House and Garden
Lanhydrock House and Gardens, one of our national treasures, stands in 1,000 acres of wooded parkland. As well as viewing the 50 rooms in this magnificent house, the gardens include an idyllic walk with spectacular views overlooking the River Fowey. The formal gardens include dazzling beds of showy colour and formal parterres with neat gravel paths.
Lanhydrock specializes in what Cornwall gardens do best ‐ acres of cream and white magnolias, tree-sized rhododendrons and vibrant azaleas which put on a splendid show in spring and early summer. Whether you want a long walk, a good restaurant or a splendid garden, Lanhydrock has it all.
Tregothnan Botanic Gardens
This world-renowned 40-hectare botanical garden is a real treat for serious gardeners. For those who want to know the names of new and unusual species, this botanical garden is right up your street. Enjoy the unusual South American garden, idyllic water gardens and the camellia maze before enjoying a Cornish cream tea in the historic summerhouse ‐ home of the first English tea. Note that this exclusive garden is open by appointment only.
St Michaels Mount Gardens
Known for its 12th century castle on the rock island in Marazion Bay, the zig-zag path up to the house is lined with fantastic gardens, well worth a visit in their own right. Despite salt-laden gales and steep rocky terrain, these terraced gardens are some of the loveliest in Cornwall. Giant agaves, yuccas and strelitzia flourish here, along with many species brought back from remote southern hemisphere explorations.
Poppy Cottage Garden
At the other end of the scale, visitors to Cornwall will delight in a trip to this inspirational plantsman's garden. Set in the heart of the beautiful Roseland peninsula, which incidentally is one of Cornwall's unspoilt hidden gems for holidays, this miniature size garden is divided into small garden rooms, each with their own colour theme. Brimming with spring bulbs, herbaceous favourites and ornamental shrubs, the Poppy Cottage Garden has something beautiful to offer in every season.