There’s something about the term ‘sub-tropical’ that fills a Brit with longing. It sounds like something that couldn’t possibly be found in cloudy, windy England. And yet…Trebah Garden, in a tucked-away little valley near Falmouth, promises something a little more exotic than we’re used to on these shores.
Trebah is a brilliant blend of stunning gardens and lovely Cornish beach. The steep valley that houses Trebah means that the garden enjoys the kind of sheltered environment that gives it its own unique climate. And don’t the plants love it – plants more often seen in far flung corners of the planet. And to add to the interest, this part of Cornwall has more than a hint of shady smuggling history about it - across the water is Frenchman’s Creek, immortalised by Daphne du Maurier .
There’s plenty for the green-fingered to get excited about here, from the Hydrangea Valley and the Giant Pink Tulip Tree to the rare evergreens and water garden. Children – who may sigh at the thought of a garden visit – will love Trebah. It’s not just that there are all kinds of child-oriented activities like the bamboo maze, the Elephant Rhubarb passage and the two cafes with an emphasis on local ice cream. Trebah has an irresistible ‘Swallows and Amazons’ quality, with secret pathways and bridges leading down to the pretty beach of Polgwidden Cove with its boathouse and views far out to sea. Complementary buckets and spades are available for children who can’t leave a beach without a stint of excavation, and the café even doles out sunscreen for those who’ve forgotten.
A busy calendar of events, particularly in school holidays, means there’s always something going on, from guided trails and workshops for the kids to art exhibitions and occasional music events for adults.
Trebah Garden is open every single day. There’s good wheelchair access (around 80% of the venue is accessible by motorised wheelchair, and Trebah has two of them available to use free of charge). The garden is dog friendly (except inside the cafes).
Mawnan Smith, Nr Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5JZ, Tel. 01326 252200