Cornwall

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near St Austell

With over 200 acres of gardens to explore, The Lost Gardens of Heligan are a paradise for both garden and wildlife lovers. Surrounded with a romantic, almost mythic air, Heligan was the seat of theTremayne family for more than 400 years. By the late 19th century the gardens were at their peak, but gradually the estate began to decline and with the arrival of the war years, when many of the gardeners were sadly lost, it became overgrown and eventually slipped from memory. Because the estate was never sold and developed, it was left as it was for decades.

It was Tim Smit and John Willis, a descendant of the Tremayne family, who rediscovered the derelict gardens in 1990 and began the labour of love of restoring it to its former glory.

Beautiful whatever time of year you visit, there is plenty to see. Heligan is famed for its unique, historic collection of Camellias and Rhododendrons whilst there’s also a working Victorian garden which includes a Kitchen Garden, walled Flower Garden and Melon Yard. The food produced is used in the Heligan Kitchen.

The Pleasure Grounds is a huge area filled with paths – it’s not difficult to imagine ladies in long dresses with parasols walking through the rhododendron boughs of Sikkim and along the paths of the Italian Garden.

The Jungle, an emerald, leafy paradise, is Cornwall’s only outdoor jungle and filled with exotic plants and trees. Sitting in a valley, it enjoys its own micro climate, being five degrees warmer than the other gardens. Kiddies will love exploring here, especially along the Burmese rope bridge which hangs 100 feet above the jungle floor.

You’ll find plenty of animals here too; from the bird life and insects which thrive in this Eden to the farm, home to Highland cattle, pigs and sheep as well as plenty of ducks, chickens and geese.

Adults and children will love Heligan – there’s plenty to see and do, and dogs can come too, as long as they are kept on leads.

Make sure to pop into the Heligan Kitchen and Bakery, home to delicious goodies created from the local produce grown and harvested on site with everything else being sourced within Cornwall and the south west. If you’re a keen gardener, there’s a fab plant centre and shop too. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall here.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St Austell, Cornwall PL26 6EN | 01726 845100 | www.heligan.com  

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