• Trebah Garden
  • Eden Project
  • St Michael’s Mount Gardens

Cornwall Gardens: Ten Must-Visit Places for Gardeners

If you love visiting gardens, Cornwall is the best place for a holiday. Our mild climate lets our gardeners’ imaginations run riot, so as well as beautiful native plants, you’ll come across all sorts of subtropical wonders in Cornwall. Here are ten of our favourite Cornish gardens to see during your stay here.

Trewidden Gardens

If you’re in Cornwall in the spring, you’re in for a treat at Trewidden. This 19th-century garden is one of West Cornwall’s early bloomers, with a magnificent collection of magnolias and camellias. It’s just west of Penzance and like nearby Trengwainton Gardens (NT) is part of the historic Bolitho estate.

The paths through the 15-acre garden are easy-going and clear, taking you through trees and ferns – towards one of the loveliest little tea rooms in Penzance.


Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

On the other side of Penzance, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is set on a sheltered hillside overlooking Mount’s Bay. Follow the paths upwards, looking out for art installations along the way. Thanks to its sunny location, much of Tremenheere’s planting is subtropical, creating a beautiful and exotic-feeling oasis.

At the entrance to the Gardens, pause a while at Tremenheere Kitchen (we especially recommend the brunch or Sunday lunch) and don’t miss the RHS Gold medal-winning nursery, Surreal Succulents.


Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

If you enjoyed the sculpture at Tremenheere, cross the peninsula to St Ives and the Tate-managed Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The artist moved to St Ives in the 1940s and made Trewyn Studio her permanent home. Hepworth designed the planting to interact with her sculptures, which are displayed in situ in the gardens.

Look out for Trewyn Gardens near the museum, one of St Ives’ best-kept secrets. This pretty little public garden makes a lovely, peaceful spot for your picnic lunch or take-out coffee.


St Michael’s Mount Gardens

Our final West Cornwall garden is a rare find: a spectacular subtropical garden planted on vertical terraces. Originally created in the 1870s, the formal gardens at St Michael’s Mount were designed to be viewed from above, looking downwards (pause on the castle terrace for the full effect). Built into the side of the island, the granite acts as a radiator for the gardens, helping the exotic plants thrive.

The gardens belong to the St Aubyn family rather than the National Trust, and in order to preserve the fragile paths, opening hours are restricted. Please check the website before booking your island visit.



Pencarrow House and Gardens (near Bodmin) belong to another branch of the St Aubyn family, the Molesworth-St Aubyns, which has owned this beautiful 50-acre estate for almost 500 years. The house is fascinating; however, it’s the gardens that we really love. There’s a choice of circular walks through the varied gardens, including wheelchair-accessible paths. Kids are free and dogs are welcome.

Highlights to look out for include the remains of an Iron Age fort and the family’s old ice house. Wander through woodlands and formal gardens before arriving at the Peacock Cafe.


The Lost Gardens of Heligan

One of Cornwall’s best-known gardens, Heligan, is as famous for its story as it is for its glorious planting. The 200-acre estate near St Austell fell into disrepair after its gardening staff were tragically lost to the First World War. Heligan was uncovered in the 1990s, and the painstaking tasks of restoring the magnificent estate began.

Today, there are kitchen gardens, pleasure gardens, a home farm, a “jungle” and woodlands to explore, along with a full events’ programme. One not to miss.


Eden Project

The Eden Project is much more than a garden; however, plants and their stories are at the heart of this world-class attraction. Heligan’s sister attraction is also just outside St Austell, sited in the dramatic setting of a formef clay pit. Take the path or road train downwards, passing through seasonal, native and subtropical planting on your way, before arriving at those iconic biomes.

Eden does everything well, and there are excellent cafes, take-aways and shops as well as a full and varied events programme. There’s plenty to occupy younger visitors, and you can always lure the teens here with the zip wire…


Trebah Garden

Now it’s over to the lush and tranquil landscape of the Fal and Helford and the subtropical beauty of Trebah Garden. This sunny spot near Falmouth is one of our favourite places for a stroll (especially as it’s so dog friendly). Paths wind down towards Trebah’s private little beach where you can pick up a delicious ice cream.

Trebah is known and loved for its catering as well as its planting and we always call into Trebah Kitchen for one of their delicious lunches.


Glendurgan Gardens

We struggled to pick one of Cornwall’s many National Trust gardens, but finally opted for Glendurgan Garden, a near-neighbour of Trebah. Like Trebah, Glendurgan is in a sheltered valley that wends its way down to a charming little cove. What makes Glendurgan unique (and a real family favourite) is its cherry laurel maze, originally planted two hundred years ago and fiendishly tricky.

Keep your National Trust pass handy for Trelissick (Truro), Trengwainton (Penzance) and Godolphin (Helston) gardens, as well as the wooded estate at Lanhydrock (Bodmin), the orchards at Trerice (Newquay) and the fabulous trails at Penrose (Helston again).


Tresco Abbey Gardens

The last garden on our list is somewhere truly special. Tresco is one of the “off islands” in Scilly, usually reached by boat from St Mary’s. This stunning garden was originally planted in the 19th century, using the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey as its backdrop. There are over 2,000 specimens of southern hemisphere plants at Tresco, which thrive in Scilly’s mild climate.

Wander the paths, looking out for red squirrels and golden plovers on your way. There’s a shop and cafe in the gardens, as well as the unique Valhalla Collection of 30 ships’ figureheads.


Book your Cornwall holiday cottage

If you love the idea of exploring Cornwall’s gardens, book your Cornish Escape today. We have a selection of luxurious holiday cottages across Cornwall, many with their own beautiful gardens.

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