Houses and Gardens

The Lost Gardens of Heligan - St Austell

Recently voted “The Nation’s Favourite Garden” by BBC Gardeners’ World viewers, the award-winning restoration of Heligan’s productive gardens is only one of many features which combine to create a destination with a breadth of interest around the year. In excess of 200 acres are open to the public, including a magnificent complex of walled gardens, and 22 acres of subtropical ‘jungle’ valley.


Beyond the gardens, visitors are encouraged to explore woodland, lakeside and farm walks through beautiful Cornish countryside, where sustainable management practices promote habitat conservation, and a pioneering new wildlife project offers visitors a close-up view of wildlife native to the estate.

Pencarrow House - Bodmin

Pencarrow estate has been the home of the Molesworth family and their descendants sice Elizabethan times. A guided tour around the 50 room Georgian mansion does much more than display a superb collection of antique furniture, paintings and porcelain; it makes the family’s history come alive whilst having that warmth which reminds you it is still the privately owned and lived in home of the Molesworth-St Aubyn family.


Pencarrow is approached by a magnificent mile-long carriage drive. Around the Palladian mansion are formal gardens, a large Victorian rock garden and 50 acres of parkland, lake and woodland with more than 700 varieties of rhododendrons and many camellias, easily accessible along well-maintained footpaths. There are lovely Tea Rooms, and a Wendy House with plenty of toys…<visit website>

Lanhydrock - Bodmin

Magnificent late Victorian country house with extensive servants’ quarters, gardens and wooded estate. One of the most fascinating and complete late 19th-century houses in England, Lanhydrock is full of period atmosphere. Although the gatehouse and north wing (with magnificent 32yd-long gallery with plaster ceiling) survive from the 17th century, the rest of the house was rebuilt following a disastrous fire in 1881.


The new house featured the latest in contemporary living, including central heating. The garden has a stunning collection of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias, and offers fine colours right through into autumn. All this is set in a glorious estate of 364ha (900 acres) of woods and parkland running down to the River Fowey, with an extensive network of footpaths. <visit website>

Trerice - Newquay

Elizabethan manor house with fine interiors and delightful garden. Set in a beautiful secluded spot, the house contains fine fireplaces, plaster ceilings, oak and walnut furniture, interesting clocks, needlework and Stuart portraits. The highlight of the interior is the magnificent Great Chamber with its splendid barrel ceiling.


The garden has some unusual plants and an orchard with old varieties of fruit trees. In the hayloft behind the Great Barn is an exhibition on the history of the lawnmower. Visitors are welcome to play ‘Kayles’ (Cornish skittles) on the parade ground. <visit website>

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle stands on the wild and rugged north coast of Cornwall, suffering much erosion over the centuries. The site is split into two distinct segments: the landward section containing the remains of the upper and lower wards that stand rather precariously on the edge of a crumbling precipice; and the inner ward that lies on the narrow ridge linking the island to the mainland.


It is not known for certain who built the medieval castle but evidence suggests it was Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother to Henry III), as he acquired the site c1234, which seems to coincide with the date of the current remains. The castle was not inhabited for very long, as documented evidence records that the castle was in poor repair during the 14th century…<visit website>

Tintagel Castle

The Eden site is bigger than it looks. There’s a lot of walking if you want to see it all so please bear in mind that a rewarding visit can also be a tiring one. A land train runs between the main site and Visitor Centre to save you the steepest climb, but you will still face some slopes within the Biomes. Manual wheelchairs are available on a first come first served basis.


Remember: Tropical plants like it hot and the Humid Tropics Biome can reach 28oC (80oF). Some cloakroom space is available in the Biome link. There is an exit near the Malaysian House (H.03) if you are finding it uncomfortable and a cool room further up in tropical South America (H.05) for emergencies. The Biomes let through UV light so you can get sunburnt – remember suncream and hats on sunny days. <visit website>