The best gardens in Cornwall
There are many wonderful parts of Cornwall, from the stunning coastlines to their harbourside towns. Many people visit Cornwall to appreciate the white sandy beaches, especially those who holiday in Looe, but the county is also home to some of the most magnificent gardens in the UK. Read on to find out where you can wander through nature and see colourful flowers, unique horticulture and breath-taking views.
Antony Woodland Garden
You can find the beautiful Antony Woodland Garden on the tip of the Lyner Estuary in Torpoint. When you visit, you’ll notice that life seems to slow down when you’re walking in the quiet amongst the trees and looking over the estuary. The woodland is so enchanting it was even chosen for the setting of Tim Burton’s film Alice in Wonderland.
We asked the team at Antony Woodland Garden why it is worth a visit: “It is one of only 4 National Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the UK and is home to many hundreds of varieties of camellia, magnolia, azalea and rhododendron, as well as an extensive collection oak, birch, beech and acer.”
“At this time of the year, the Gardens are awash with colour. With the camellia and magnolia in full bloom, wildflowers are beginning to carpet the wide rides sweeping down towards the river. The entire area is very much about space, place, the land and water – and taking visitors on a journey through the best of what nature has to offer.”
The gardens and woodland have been carefully designed to entice visitors to walk around each corner they see: “The wide, mown paths through the landscape are designed to ignite curiosity. We like to call it Cornwall’s best-kept secret.”
The Japanese Garden
Nestled in St Mawgan, you can find a little bit piece of Japan. This garden offers tranquillity and beauty with the design inspired by balance and peace.
We spoke to Natalie from The Japanese Garden to find out what it is about their garden that makes it worth a visit: “Set in approximately 1 acre, the Japanese Garden is a perfect example of what is small is beautiful. Diminutive it may be in size, but its paths lead into a myriad of divine features, including the Water Gardens, Stroll garden and a Zen Garden – created in accordance with the philosophy of the East.”
“A fusion of authentic Japanese gardening styles and the exotic varieties planted make this a horticultural hotspot that’s definitely worth a visit. Take a stroll amongst the spectacular Japanese maples, radiant azaleas and rhododendrons, ornamental grasses and bamboo grove. Whether you want to relax by the colourful pools swimming with Koi carp, listen to the tumbling waterfall or explore the Eastern World of horticulture, the garden has easy access making it a joy to visit for everyone.”
By combining the Cornish climate with Japanese designs the garden is the best place to go for peace of mind and to appreciate the true beauty of nature. Natalie continues: “Cornwall is a beautiful part of the world and provides a wonderful climate for growing trees and plants. The climate happens to be ideal for many Japanese plants including maples, azaleas, bamboo and cherry trees.”
“In the Japanese Garden, we grow these incredible species alongside many classic Cornish plants such as huge oak trees, English primroses, bluebells, willow trees and even snowdrops! Our garden is a fusion of Japanese style and Cornish beauty. The selection of plants grow in harmony together making this garden a relaxing, tranquil environment filled with nature sourced from the east and the west.”
A valley garden with wonderful views and sub-tropical plants, the Trebah Gardens has won many awards for its beauty and upkeep. Trebah is a brilliant garden to go to with children, because of the many play areas situated throughout the trails.
We asked Frankie from Meet Me By The Sea, a Cornish lifestyle blog, to reveal her favourite garden to visit: “It as to be Trebah Gardens in Falmouth, it’s absolute paradise! As children, my sister and I spent a lot of our time running through the giant gunnera leaves and playing on Trebah’s very own secluded beach that’s situated on the beautiful Helford river. Our subtropical climate here in Cornwall means that Trebah Gardens is home to so many magnificent flowers and plants, some that you wouldn’t expect to see. It is one of the Great Gardens and has been rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world.”
Trewithen, meaning ‘house of the trees’, is a magnificent manor house along with thirty acres of surrounding woodland and over 200 acres of parkland. Trewithen is rich in history, as you walk through the gardens and perhaps even explore inside the manor house, you will be transported in time back to the 18th century.
We asked Gary, Head of Trewithen Gardens and Parks, why the garden is well worth a visit: “The garden is surrounded by landscaped parkland, which is a destination, in its own right. Unusually for Cornish woodland gardens, we are on the brow of a hill and not deep in a valley, which allows our gravel topped paths, to be level with easy access to the plant collection and for visitors to explore.”
Expect to see an astonishing collection of different types of flowers, including their beautiful display of magnolia. Gary gives an overview of some of the beautiful flowers you may spot on your walk: “Our International camellia society Garden of Excellence, collection of camellia. Continuing with the rhododendron which, with the late scented hybrids, will flower late into June and July, just in time for hydrangea season to start. All along there is the understory of daffodils, bluebells and other wildflowers such as wild garlic, pink campion etc.”
The house of Mount Edgcumbe was built in 1550 and remains as magnificent today as it was then, along with the garden which offers a unique experience. The garden has been developed in different segments starting from the 16th century to 2017 with the ‘Black Bee Reserve.’ Other parts of the garden include; The Italian Garden, The Fern Deli and The Deer Garden. They are also the home of the UK’s national Camellia collection.
We spoke to David, Business Development Manager for Mount Edgcumbe, to find out the reason the gardens of Mount Edgcumbe are so different: “It is England’s largest Country Park and contains 17.9 kilometres of coastline, 35 kilometres of public pathway, 56 listed buildings and 5 ancient monuments. There are an 865-acre Deer Park and 7 acres of formal gardens, so there is much to explore.”
St Michaels Mount
The magic of St Michaels Mount is like no other, with the island being the home of mythical legends as well as glorious sub-tropical gardens. When the tide is out, visitors can walk to the island by foot if not, people journey there by boat.
The legend of St Michaels Mount says a giant lived on the island in a cave before the castle was built. Visitors are welcomed to explore the castle, island and wander through the gardens whilst enjoying they enjoy the sea views.
We asked the St Michaels Mount team why their garden is so different: “The one thing that makes it unique is that it is a cliffside coastal garden and our gardeners often abseil to tend to it.” On your visit to the island expect to find unlikely plants that you may have never seen before as tropical plants flourish in the salty winds and Gulf Stream climate.
What do you think makes a perfect garden? Frankie from Meet Me By The Sea answers: “The perfect garden is a place full of life. Somewhere that you can explore and feel close with nature. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to gardens in Cornwall and come rain or shine, there’s always somewhere for us to explore!”