13th March 2020
Cornwall is home to an abundance of garden wonderlands thriving with sub-tropical species – and spring is a great season to explore them. Picnic in carpets of bluebells, tunnel through bamboo jungles, and play hide and seek in magical woodlands. These are our top six spring gardens in Cornwall.
This sub-tropical garden tumbling down to the banks of the Helford River is one of our favourite destinations for a family day out – and dogs can come, too. Wend your way through magnolias and rhododendrons bursting into bloom, tunnel through bamboo jungles and giant gunnera, and emerge on a divine sandy beach where you can order a mug of tea from the Boathouse Café and skim pebbles to your heart’s content.
More info: Open daily from 10:00. Dogs welcome.
Whether it’s still cool and blustery, or a blue-sky day with wall-to-wall sunshine, Trelissick’s stunning 300-acre estate is the perfect place for a springtime excursion. Wander through woodland along the banks of the River Fal, climb magnificent beech trees and explore the gardens, then take afternoon tea in the cobbled courtyard, where you can nose around the gallery and second-hand bookshop. Ramp up the adventure by arriving by ferry from Falmouth or Truro, or why not hop aboard the King Harry Ferry and head on to explore the verdant Roseland Peninsula?
More info: Open daily from. Dogs welcome on the woodland trails, but not in the gardens.
Once home of a legendary giant, part of a pilgrimage route and an all-round enchanting spot to castaway to a fairy-tale castle, St Michael’s Mount is also home to stunning terraced gardens, where exotic plants cling to steep granite cliffs. Stand high in the castle turrets and look down upon stonework and lawns bursting with colour, or follow the trails through flower-lined paths beaten by the salty breeze. More info: The gardens are open from April to September; there are I Spy cards for children, and tours are available.
As we step into springtime, these ancient woodlands, water meadows and productive gardens burst into colour and scent. Daffodils and snowdrops line the paths, beneath tree ferns, banana palms and gigantic rhubarb plants. This historic sleeping beauty was re-awakened from the brambles in 1990 and is now Europe’s largest garden restoration project, with family-friendly trails, farm animals, adventure play areas and secret hides where you can spy on the wildlife.
More info: Open daily, except Christmas day.
Squirrelled away in a lush landscape close to Mounts Bay, art and nature merge seamlessly at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens. Climb trees, wander through woodland, and nature’s wonderland through a series of art installations including a camera obscura and a series of contemporary sculptures including a Minotaur and a brick throne overlooking St Michael’s Mount. Amongst a series of exhibitions and creative workshops held in the grounds and gallery, this spring you can catch Cousin Jack’s Theatre Company’s performance of Percy Pengelly and the Wibble Wobble. What with a kitchen serving scrumptious seasonal delights, a gift shop and nursery, it makes a great day out for the whole family.
More info: Open daily from February.
One of the most magical times of year to visit Lanhydrock is during spring, when the woodlands of this sprawling country estate are carpeted with bluebells. Explore a labyrinth of footpaths winding through 900-acres of countryside, along the banks of burbling stream and into landscaped gardens where the rhododendrons and magnolias are coming into flower. Step into history in the Victorian manor house, take part in a range of family activities and freewheel along the bike trails – from easy-going family routes to demanding woodland tracks.
More info: Open daily – see website for times and details.
Photo credit: Janine Forbes