There’s a slight ‘Brigadoon’ quality to Boconnoc – like the mythical Scottish village, some days you can see it, most you can’t as it’s open to the public on Sundays in May only, no other time. No gift shop, no tea room – the estate is totally unspoilt so it’s no wonder Boconnoc has been used as a film location for a variety of prestigious period dramas.
This glorious estate dates back to the Domesday Book; the architecture there now is 17th and 18th century. As you arrive, you would be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into a Jane Austen novel. Boconnoc House, at the end of a dramatically sweeping drive and surrounded by pristine formal laws and its own church, is a perfect piece of architectural history. Inside is room after room of extravagantly grand proportion and elegance. If you take a guided historical tour of the house, you’ll see the bedroom where King Charles I hid during the Civil War. Outside, the Georgian Bath House gives you a hint of the lavish lifestyle of previous occupants.
200 acres of woodland, deer park, valley and lake give you plenty to explore. May is the chosen month for public access for good reason; the gardens are filled with azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons in bloom during the month.
In the grounds you’ll find the fascinating water turbine-powered Boconnoc Sawmill, recently restored and now busy producing oak beams, lintels and similar products from the estate’s own timber – these are available to buy.
The public access days in May allow you to wander the gardens; occasional dates for guided tours which enable further access to the estate are publicised on the website – booking is a must for these. The story of Boconnoc is staggering and features an array of royalty, Prime Ministers and other movers and shakers from the mists of time, so for history buffs the tour will be really special. Other events through the year include steam fairs, sheepdog trials and a Michaelmas Fair – all information can be found on the Boconnoc website.
Boconnoc House & Gardens
Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0RG, Tel. 01208 872507