From ancient woodlands and marshy waterways to lordly family dynasties and medieval peat-mining – geography and history go hand in hand...
Cornwall has always been a great destination for history buffs, thanks to its rich and varied past. Nothing encapsulates this more than the diverse array of National Trust properties that can be found here; ranging from grandiose stately homes through to stunning gardens, they come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve put together a handy guide on some of the best that you can find in Cornwall.
Found just outside the hustle and bustle of Newquay, Trerice is a stunning Elizabethan manor house that has been under the stewardship of the National Trust since the 1950s. The house dates all the way back to the 1570s and has endured a somewhat tumultuous history. The Trust’s first tenant had to devote many years to restoring the house to its former glory, but it seems as though all of the hard work has paid off.
These days, Trerice is one of the best surviving examples of Tudor architecture in the South West. It houses a collection of rare artefacts, including a 300-year-old longcase clock, as well as plenty of rare artworks. Outside, you’ll be able to find beautiful landscaped gardens that are perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon, whether it’s finding your way through the turf maze or exploring the new knot garden, which features around 800 yew trees.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trerice before visiting.
Facilities: Tearooms, shop, free parking, electric car charge point.
Prices: adults £9.45; children £4.73 (gift aid available); free for National Trust Members.
Contact: 01637 875404, email@example.com
Looking for somewhere to eat after exploring this beautiful National Trust property? Check out 5 of the best restaurants in Newquay to find the perfect place to dine in the nearby town.
A Grade I listed building at the heart of a 400-acre estate, Lanhydrock is one of the finest attractions in all of Cornwall. Although the majority of the house had to be rebuilt following a devastating fire in the 1880s, some sections of Lanhydrock still date back to the 17th century, making it one of the oldest surviving country houses in the area. These days, Lanhydrock offers something of a Downton Abbey experience: guests are able to explore both the opulent family living areas, as well as the original servants’ quarters, showcasing both the upstairs and downstairs life from days gone by. Then, there are the gardens. Laid out in the Victorian period, Lanhydrock’s gardens feature a huge array of rare and beautiful flowers, including a collection of over 120 different species of magnolia – quite the sight when they’re in full bloom!
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock before visiting.
Facilities: Restaurant, gift shop, plant centre, free parking, picnic areas.
Prices: Adult £13.55; child £6.75 (gift aid available); free for National Trust Members.
Contact: 01202 65950, firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking out over the River Tamar, Cotehele claims to be one of the most complete original medieval houses in all of Britain. The ancestral seat of the Edgcumbe family for hundreds of years, Cotehele eventually came under the care of the National Trust back in the 1940s and has flourished ever since. The house itself was deliberately remodelled by its Georgian owners as a throwback to the Tudor period and is still filled to the brim with century-old antiques and relics, ranging from tapestries all the way through to weaponry and armour.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele before visiting.
Facilities: Shop, two restaurants, secondhand book shop, free parking, info point.
Prices: Adult £11; child £5.50 (gift aid available); free for National Trust Members.
Contact: 01579 351346, email@example.com
Starting out life as the private gardens of the local Fox family back in the 19th century, Glendurgan was acquired by the National Trust back in 1962 and its gardens have been lovingly preserved ever since. Thanks to the temperate microclimate of the Helford Estuary area, Glendurgan is able to support a wide range of subtropical plants that wouldn’t be able to survive elsewhere in the United Kingdom. As well as these rare and colourful plants, you’ll be able to attempt Glendurgan’s famous laurel maze, which has been a firm favourite with younger visitors to the gardens for many years. And, if you happen to get a bit peckish during your visit, don’t forget to stop off at the ever popular National Trust tearooms.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/glendurgan-garden before visiting.
Facilities: All day parking, shop, tea house, toilets, picnic area.
Prices: Adult £9; child £4.50(gift aid available); free for National Trust Members.
Contact: 01326252020, firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover the other stunning National Trust gardens in Cornwall in our guide, including Trengwainton, Cotehele and more.
Now there are some of you out there who may well recognise Antony House from the big screen. The world famous director, Tim Burton, handpicked the house to be used in the filming of his 2010 interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland. Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts may all have moved on but there’s still plenty to see and do at Antony House. You’ll be able to find a fantastic collection of rare and valuable portraits including many of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ works, not to mention a famous painting of Charles I’s trial. Moving outside of the house, you’ll be able to get a taste of Antony’s stunning gardens. Dating all the way back to the Georgian era, when they were originally designed by the celebrated Humphry Repton, they’re now complete with an array of more modern additions including William Pye’s ‘Antony Cone’ water sculpture and Peter Randall-Page’s ‘Jupiter Stone’.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/antony before visiting.
Facilities: Gift shop, tea room, free parking.
Prices: Adult £9.60, child £4.80,free for National Trust members.
Contact: 0172812191, email@example.com
Now let’s be honest, no list of National Trust properties in Cornwall would be anywhere near complete without at least a mention of St Michael’s Mount. The view out over the castle and Mount’s Bay from the mainland is one of the most recognisable in all of Cornwall and has featured on countless postcards and holiday snaps over the years. To get over to the Mount and have a look around, you’ll either have to wait until a lower tide when you’ll be able to use the famous granite causeway, or you can always take a boat across if the tide happens to be in. When you reach St Michael’s, you’ll be able to explore the castle itself with its collection of rare artefacts, take a look around the sub-tropical gardens and maybe even treat yourself to a snack in the highly recommended Sail Loft Café.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/st-michaels-mount before visiting.
Facilities: Restaurant, café, gift shop, paid parking on mainland (not National Trust owned).
Prices: Adult £11.50, child £5.50, free for National Trust members.
Contact: 0136710507, firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally, we’ve got a true taste of the Cornish mining heritage with the Levant Mine and Beam Engine. With a dramatic setting looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, Levant was one of the finest undersea mines in all of Cornwall that at its height stretched out a mile under the seabed, at points reaching depths of over 600 metres. These days you can follow in the footsteps of the miners of yesteryear, whether it’s through exploring the tunnels and the old man-engine shaft, or having a look around the arsenic works and dressing floors. What’s more, Levant is home to a rare, original Cornish Beam Engine – in fact, it’s the only one in the world that has been restored to full working order whilst still in its original setting.
Opening Times: Vary by time of year; remember to check www.nationaltrust.org.uk/levant-mine-and-beam-engine before visiting.
Facilities: Free parking, info point, small gift shop.
Prices: Adult £7.70, child £3.85 (gift aid available), free for National Trust members.
Contact: 01736486156, email@example.com