Gardens in Cornwall

Places to Go

Gardens in Cornwall

You’ll find plenty to do in the great outdoors in Cornwall. From golden sandy beaches to acres of bluebell-carpeted woodland to explore in spring, there's no end to the diverse natural beauty across the county. Rolling fields aside, a huge part of Cornwall’s greenery is the hundreds of public and private gardens that are carefully tended to all year round, providing endless opportunities for green-fingered visitors to explore tropical paradises and wild havens.

The National Trust gardens and fascinating historic houses are fantastic days out for families with children – they always have fun activities during school holidays and welcome those inquisitive questions from little ones. While some extra special gardens are only open for a few months of the year, so you have to plan your trip and book tickets around their exclusive open weekends.

From giant gardens on the Lizard Peninsula to secret spots off the beaten track, there’s a garden to suit everyone in Cornwall. Your adventure starts here…

 

The Japanese Garden, nr Newquay

Serene moss covered stones and flowering trees create an peaceful scene at The Japanese Garden in Cornwall

Just outside Newquay, the Japanese Garden takes inspiration from traditional gardens in Japan. It has been artistically refined alongside the nuances of nature to create a space for meditation and reflection. There is even a Bonsai nursery where you pick out and take home a little souvenir of your visit to the Japanese garden and Cornwall. These beautiful Asian-inspired gardens are open between March and November, seven days a week, making them a great place to stock up on peace, quiet and worldly beauty. They’re also nearly entirely accessible with around 90% of the gardens benefiting from flat, gravel paths.

 

Lanhydrock, Bodmin

The beautiful bluebell woods at Lanhydrock in spring

The incredible grounds, gardens, and house at Lanhydrock make for the ultimate family day out. On rainy days, head into the stately home to learn about the architecture of the building and the day-to-day lives of the people who lived here. When the sun shines, step outside to find miles of parkland to walk, run, and even cycle around. There’s a cycle hire on-site so you won’t even have to worry about bringing your own. The gardens provide a stunning spot for a sunny ice cream or a picnic while the surrounding countryside is just waiting to be explored by the whole family.

  

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell

A natural archway of branches at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most popular gardens in Cornwall

Just inland on the south Cornish coast is this hidden green gem. The Lost Gardens were once grand and glorious but fell into rack and ruin, hidden by decades of brambles. They’re now being slowly rediscovered, with each section being lovingly restored. Heligan has an amazing array of events throughout the year so it’s worth taking a look at their website if you’re after something special to do while on holiday. Or you can just rock up and explore the seemingly never-ending secrets of this once-forgotten place. The best part? Dogs and their well-behaved owners are welcome year-round at Heligan so the whole family can enjoy the array of interesting sights and smells at this natural Cornish treasure trove. 

 

The Eden Project, Par

The iconic biomes at the Eden Project in Cornwall

The biomes of the Eden Project have become synonymous with a Cornwall holiday and are great for any rainier days. If you haven’t been here before, the biomes are essentially special greenhouses built in a disused quarry. In one, you’ll find a rainforest and in the other is a lush Mediterranean garden. Surrounding the biomes are more gardens that are constantly being updated, allowing you to travel the world without even leaving Cornwall. Increase your adrenaline with a journey over the top of Eden on the zip wire or by doing one of the other adrenaline rush activities – who hasn’t longed to see a garden such as this from a great height and at an even greater speed! While dogs aren’t allowed in the biomes, they are welcome in the outside gardens, which provide lots of opportunities for some good sniffs and walks.

 

Caerhays, St Austell

The historic castle and manicured lawns at Caerhays in Cornwall

Open from February until June, you’ll have to be quick to catch a glimpse of the beautifully curated gardens at Caerhays. Built from the former owner’s passion for exotic plants, there are lots of incredible varieties here and plenty of pathways to lose yourself on a day exploring in the sunshine. While the main draw to the estate is undoubtedly the 140 acres of woodland and gardens (which welcome dogs), you can also take a look around the Cornish castle with a guided tour on the weekends or head to the beach after your walk for a quick swim and a cup of tea at the beachside café.

 

Tregrehan Gardens, Par

A bird's eye view of the historic Tregrehan Gardens and house in Cornwall

One of Cornwall’s great gardens, Tregrehan is a family-run estate near St Austell. The botanical oasis is sheltered by surrounding hills and huge trees, making it Cornwall’s very own temperate rainforest. The gardens themselves are open from March until August and outside of those months by appointment so you can get your fill of Cornish beauty throughout the spring and summer months - make sure to visit the glasshouse, which sits at around 60m long and dominates the pretty walled garden. There’s even a small shop and nursery on-site, so you can take home a lovely little botanical reminder of your holiday.

 

Trelissick, nr Truro

Looking across the water and up the grass at Trelissick House in Cornwall

Visit the heart of the Carrick Roads between Falmouth and Truro at Trelissick estate. Boasting beautifully kept gardens you can explore throughout the year, watch the garden transform through the seasons each time you return to Cornwall. For a longer walk, take the route on the edge of the estate that goes along the river, across the road by the King Harry ferry, and over into the rest of the estate – it’s a wonderfully varied Cornish walk. There’s a stately home at the heart of Trelissick, which is open at certain times of the year and offers beautiful views across the fields and the river as well as a little bit of Cornish history.

 

Glendurgan, nr Falmouth

A bird's eye view of the maze at Glendurgan gardens in Cornwall

A peaceful patch on the Helford River, Glendurgan is one of the most popular National Trust gardens in Cornwall for very good reason. Wander through the garden, explore the old schoolhouse, jump on the giant rope swing, find your way through the living maze, and then round it off with a swim at Durgan beach. Spend an hour or a whole day here, it really is the kind of place where time seems to stand still. We definitely recommend checking out the café here too… the coffees and cakes are enough to distract even the most green-fingered botanist!

 

Enys Gardens, Penryn

A beautiful carpet of bluebells at Enys Gardens in Cornwall

Enys Gardens might have a limited opening season (April to September), but the 30 acres of dog-friendly land surrounding the house more than makes up for it. The wildflower meadow at the heart of the garden known as Parc Lye, is particularly beautiful, especially in spring when great washes of bluebells appear – a truly magical sight and one worth making a special trip to Enys for. The stumpery is always an interesting sight at Enys and resembles an incredible natural sculpture park made entirely from upturned sweet chestnut roots. Finish your visit off with a visit to the Garden Café, which fills with local food vendors during the many fantastic events at the gardens including live theatre and fairs.

 

Trebah, nr Falmouth

The lovely koi pond at Trebah Gardens with the river Helford in the background

Just outside of Falmouth, Trebah is a sub-tropical paradise with the stunning Helford river as a backdrop. Open every day of the year from 10am, you’ll always find something to see or do in the dog-friendly, Cornish gardens. Situated within a perfectly temperate valley, Trebah manages to grow a wide range of natural marvels from all over the world. Ogle at the bamboo forest, sit in tranquillity in Alice’s seat, and watch the fish go about their day in the koi pond - oh, and did we mention there’s a beach? They also make a mean breakfast and have a delicious lunch menu so a visit to the café is a great way to round off your visit.

 

Bonython, nr Helston

One of the pretty walled gardens at Bonython in Cornwall

You’ll find Bonython hidden away on the Lizard peninsula, making the most of the sunny aspect. It stretches from the Helford river all the way to Poldhu Cove, making it a true adventure to explore. This huge expanse of land has various sections that have been grown and cultivated and you’ll even find a woodland walk, a walled garden, and a few lakes. A South African summer garden, a tranquil lakeside fairytale, and a ghostly quarry lake inspire the planting of the estate and make for a fascinating wander. This vast garden offers you the perfect place for quietude  and to enjoy a romantic moment with your other half.

 

Tregothnan, nr Truro

A pretty garden pond surrounded by trees at Tregothnan in Cornwall

Home to Britain’s first homegrown tea, Tregothnan is a beautiful estate to visit for a walking tour or one of their special experiences from tea masterclasses to beekeeping courses. The gardens started dabbling in tea when gardeners in the 19th century thought the estate’s microclimate would lend itself well to the growing of Camellia sinensis and not just ornamental Camellias - and boy, were they right! Tea lovers will enjoy the huge choice of flavours to take home for friends and family (or just for yourself). There are very limited opening times so keep your eyes on their website to make sure you get a ticket for this private garden.

  

Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, Penzance

A family walking through the gardens at Tremenheere Sculpture Garden in Cornwall

Combining nature with art, Tremenheere is captivating in every way (the kitchen is pretty inspiring too). As you walk around the coastal gardens, you’ll get to enjoy a bizarre mix of natural and manmade beauty from the luscious borders to the many intriguing sculptures. Tremenheere opens up this art form to the public in a beautifully presented outdoor gallery, ready for you to explore. Not just for art fanatics, anyone can appreciate a beautiful garden and how the sculptures perfectly complement the space and views over Mounts Bay. You’ll also find some fantastic exhibitions throughout the year. 

 

Trengwainton Gardens, nr Penzance

The historic house and gardens at Trengwainton in Cornwall

Surrounding a stately home where a family still live, Trengwainton has lots of paths leading to various parts of the garden. There’s a walled vegetable patch with a second-hand bookstore, a woodland walk with a pond, and a spectacular panoramic view across to the sea. Throughout school holidays, the National Trust runs a fantastic array of events for kids and families so you’ll have somewhere to take your energetic little ones. If you need some help touring the gardens, you can hire the National Trust’s handy electric all-terrain mobility scooter.

 

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gardens, St Ives

One of the many incredible sculptures to be found at the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gardens in Cornwall

One of Britain’s most important 20th-century artists, Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures take inspiration from nature. How fitting, then, that her work is now exhibited in the garden of what was once her home and studio. This is an interesting insight into both her life and work and a lovely garden to look around whether you’re a lover of art, nature, or a mixture of the two. We heartily recommend making the short stroll to the Tate St Ives, which lies nearby and provides even more artistic viewing as well as easy access to the iconic beauty and charm of St Ives itself. 

 

Trewithen, nr Truro

One of the perfectly manicured lawns surrounded by beautiful trees and borders at Trewithen Gardens

The 30 acres of woodland gardens and over 200 acres of parkland at Trewithen are open from March until June and feature tons of beautiful Camellias, winning them the title of International Camellia Garden of Excellence. This along with the horticulture of the estate and impressive collection of ancient and towering trees makes for a lovely day outside in the fresh Cornish air. Oh, and if you recognise the house and gardens, it’s because Trewithen has featured in a number of films and TV productions including Cornish great, Rosamunde Pilcher.

 

Lamorran Gardens, St Mawes

Looking down one of the many fern-lined paths at the beautiful Lamorran Gardens in Cornwall

This garden is a subtropical, Italianate garden looking out to sea on the Roseland peninsula. Lamorran offers more foliage than flowers, something a little bit different to the usual gardens of Cornwall but no less stunning. An eclectic collection of plants from all over the world grow here as the garden remains frost-free all year round – lucky! From the unusual and surprising plants that lie around each corner to the eye-popping ocean views, there is always a sight to behold at Lamorran, which is perhaps why it appeared in the top ten of the BBC’s ‘Nation’s Favourite Gardens’.

 

Ready to start exploring the many gardens of Cornwall? Take a look at our lovely holiday cottages in Cornwall and start planning your green-fingered stay.

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