South Cornwall is home to some of the most famous gardens of the entire county – from the fascinatingly modern, to the ancient and only recently rediscovered. Find out what’s not to miss in this corner of the county here.
Highlights: popular gardens in South Cornwall
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Find the fascinating and dog-friendly Lost Gardens of Heligan just off the south coast of Cornwall near Pentewan. One of the many famous Great Gardens of Cornwall, the garden began to be developed in the 1700s, but fell into disrepair and overgrowth during and after WW1.
Today, the traditional botanical gardens – including an impressive collection of rhododendrons and camellias – can be explored all year round, and there are plenty of family-friendly areas and activities to keep any little ones entertained.
Near the mouth of the Helford River, Trebah Garden not only promises a beautiful sub-tropical garden but also its very own private and secluded beach in an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB). Open every day of the year, this dog-friendly garden is another of the south’s Great Gardens of Cornwall. The hydrangea and rhododendron valleys are not to be missed, while the water garden at the centre of the Trebah features a series of pools and meandering stone paths surrounded by exotic blooms.
The Eden Project
With its two famous biomes housing the rainforest and Mediterranean gardens, The Eden Project has long been a favourite day out for families and adults alike. The packed programme of year-round events – from summer concerts to Christmas fairs – offers something for everyone.
You’ll find The Eden Project just outside St Austell in South Cornwall. Dogs aren’t allowed in the biomes, but are allowed to explore the miles of outdoor paths, as long as they are kept on their lead.
National Trust gardens
South Cornwall is home to two National Trust gardens – Glendurgan and Trelissick.
Head to Glendurgan in the spring to walk among the thousands of wildflowers that line the valley, or visit in autumn to see the warm colours on show from the collection of exotic trees. Perhaps the most famous attraction of this garden is its fantastic maze – but the spectacular views and relaxing walk down to the beach also must not be missed.
Speaking of spectacular views, Trelissick Garden overlooks the estuary of the River Fal and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland and coastal countryside. Grab a delicious lunch from the café after a morning spent exploring the woodland walkways, the sensory garden and the Cornish orchard – home to over 60 different apple trees.
Just outside Penryn is the tranquil Enys Gardens. Visit in spring – during which the gardens are open for an entire week – to see the spectacular bluebell meadow in all its glory. The gardens are open throughout most of spring and summer – although only on certain days so do check before you plan to visit.
Another of the area’s favourite private gardens – and one of the Great Gardens of Cornwall – is that surrounding Caerhays Castle. Typically open from February to June, visit Caerhays gardens to find the National Magnolia Collection.
Pinetum Park & Pine Lodge Gardens
This 30 acre estate near St Austell features over 6,000 labelled plants collected from all over the world. Open all year round, the garden offers a whole range of green spaces – from the expansive pinetum of 80 different conifers across 4 acres of land, to the intimate and peaceful Japanese Garden.
Want to discover more about what South Cornwall has to offer? See our selection of guides below.