Following up on my post last week about road trips, I wanted to focus on one of my favorite destinations for a self-drive or chauffeured vacation in Britain – Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula. Cornwall is a fabulous corner of England that is known for its spectacular coastlines, quaint fishing villages, and some of the world’s finest gardens. I recommend spending at least a week in the area which gives you plenty of time to both see the sites and also have the flexibility to spend time exploring the villages and beaches you find along the way. After all, who wants to rush through your afternoon tea or fish & chips by the sea because your schedule is so booked up?
My first suggested stop on a garden tour of Cornwall is Trewithen gardens, a historic private estate internationally renowned for its collection of magnolias and camellias. I love their raised viewing platforms which take visitors closer to the blooms, many of which are high in the trees, providing a rare opportunity to see over the floral canopy. Also boasting 24 Champion Trees, woodland walks, 18th century estate house, tea shop and highly prized plants for sale at the on-site nursery.
Next up let’s stop at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Now, who could pass up the opportunity to visit a place with such a mysterious name? Sounds like something right out of a movie! After decades of neglect and a devastating hurricane in 1990, the Lost Gardens of Heligan were almost consigned to a footnote in history. Instead the discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens and dating back to 1914, inspired the current owners to breathe new life into these once glorious gardens and to tell, for the first time, tales of the ordinary people who had made these gardens great, before their lives, and the world, were ever altered by the Great War.
Another favorite spot is Lamorran Gardens where you can enjoy the view of Falmouth Bay’s glittering water from the stunning Mediterranean-style garden. Wander through various types of acacias and hundreds of palms and experience a distinctly tropical atmosphere as you walk beneath lush jungle-like canopies. This is a fantastic garden for strolling and relaxing, or for keen garden-enthusiasts to nose into the techniques of acclimatization for exotics. Lamorran is continually developing and makes a fascinating and unique day out for all garden lovers.
Located in a sheltered valley overlooking Porthluney Cove, Caerhays Castle has been owned by the Williams family since 1855 and they remain in residence today. Home to the National Collection of Magnolias, the gardens draw much attention from horticultural enthusiasts in springtime, when they are open to the public for a limited time. Tours of the house are possible by prior arrangement only.
Also certainly worth a visit is Tregothnan Gardens, the largest private botanical garden in Britain. Owned by Lord Falmouth and only open to visitors by appointment. Tregothnan is home to the country’s oldest Camellias and various historic gardening artifacts, including the only surviving Wardian Case (travelling greenhouse) in the world. It is also the only tea plantation in Britain, with numerous varieties available to taste and purchase in the estate shop. I ca arrange your visit so as to include morning coffee or afternoon tea in their delightful summerhouse and a personal tour with the Head Gardener.
There are dozens of other gardens (including the impressive Eden Project) worth a visit depending on the amount of time you have available and the time of year you visit. If a self-drive or chauffeured visit to Cornwall is something you’d like to do then let’s chat about the options available. With many charming villages and welcoming hotels and inns throughout the region, Cornwall and the Roseland peninsula should be on every garden lovers list.