Fresh air, sunlight, the sound of birdsong…
Escape from the crowds and into nature. Get lost among the flowers, admire trees soaring into the sky, and enjoy everything that the great outdoors has to offer. Our handy guide to the top gardens to visit in Cornwall has something for everyone in the family, including your furry friends.
Trelissick Gardens, Truro
Nestled on the edge of one of Cornwall’s most stunning creekside beaches, Trelissick gardens are a beautiful day out! Wander through the grounds of this estate, admiring the acres of trees, colourful floral displays, water features – and glimpses of the sea everywhere you go. Explore the country house, extensive woodland and the orchard, home to a variety of beautiful apple trees and a cyder press.
The best part of the estate – in our opinion – is the beach at the end of the gardens, with stunning views across the creek to the open ocean.
You can swim, paddle or kayak through the stunning blue water, admiring the riverbanks that have seen ancient ships bring cargo into Cornwall for hundreds of years. They have even inspired famous stories like the mystical Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier.
There’s even an accessible route through the gardens for wheelchairs, so everyone can enjoy the wonders of nature.
It’s free for National Trust members, and well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome in the parkland and on the woodland walks. There is a also café, shop and bookstore and garden centre on the entrance, selling plants from the gardens.
Trebah Gardens, Falmouth
If you’re looking to escape to a tropical rainforest, Trebah is the place to be! Set in the grounds of an old estate, the gardens are filled with palm trees, bamboo, trees taller than you’ve ever seen, and tropical plants from across the globe. Wander down the valley, admiring the beautiful flowers throughout the seasons. Get lost in Gunnera passage, with giant leaves that will make you feel as small as an insect! Or take a picnic and sit beside the giant fishpond, with an island in the centre overflowing with plants.
And the best part? Trebah has its own beach at the end of the valley, topping off the tropical feel with a sandy cove plucked from paradise. Explore the rockpools, have a swim in the gentle waves, or enjoy an ice cream from the café and watch the world go by.
With adventure parks, garden centre and an amphitheatre with performances, there’s something for all the family.
The site is quite steep, but the gardens hire out state-of the art Tramper Mobility Vehicles which will operate effectively around the gardens, read more here. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are kept on a lead. There is a restaurant and café on the entrance, as well as a garden centre so you can take home your favourite plants from the gardens!
Lanhydrock Estate, near Bodmin
Explore this decadent country house and its beautifully landscaped grounds with far-reaching views. Wander around the house and take in the breath-taking rooms of history, art and intrigue, while experiencing the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ lives of the people who used to live there. You will learn about the vivid history of the estate, including the devastating fire that struck the house in 1881, and how the family recovered.
The estate is definitely worth exploring too, with ancient woodlands, picturesque riverside walks and off-road cycle trails, with special routes for families. The estate even hires out bikes to save you taking your own. The estate changes through the seasons – experience the spring flowers through the woodland, or the elegant orange coat that it wears in the autumn. It’s the perfect place to escape the crowds and reconnect with nature.
There is a café and toilets right beside the car park, with delicious meals throughout the day. The estate grounds are flat and accessible for wheelchairs, however the house has some stairs, and the woodland is uneven and at times muddy. You can hire a Tramper vehicle from the cycle hire building to make the experience more relaxing for you. Read more here.
Dogs are welcome in the grounds and woodland, but are not allowed inside the house.
Lost Gardens of Heligan, St. Austell
‘200 acres of garden history, mystery and romance…’ Get lost in the magic of these ancient gardens! While the gardens date back to 1200, up until thirty years ago, Heligan’s historical gardens were hidden to the world. When WW1 broke out, the gardeners and taskforce were sent away to war, and many never returned, devastating the local community. Without these lost lives taking care of the gardens, they were lost and abandoned for decades.
Then, in 1990, the gardens were rediscovered by Tim Smit and John Willis, and the restoration began. The estate, buildings, barns, woodland and far-reaching gardens with mystical sculptures were uncovered and rebuilt. You can wander through the estate and step back in time, learning about the history of the people who took care of the lost gardens, before they too were lost to war.
There is a café and shop near the entrance as well as toilet facilities. Most of the gardens are accessible, and manual wheelchairs are hireable from reception. There is also a Changing Places toilet near the entrance, as well as accessible toilets around the gardens, read more here.
Well behaved dogs are welcome all year around on a lead.
The Japanese Garden, Newquay
The Japanese Garden, provided by Visit Newquay
Located right here in Newquay, these landscaped gardens provide an authentic Japanese design in an idyllic Cornish setting. The gardens were built as a meditative space of contemplation & reflection. It is the ideal place to escape the crowds and calm the mind. As you walk through the gardens, you will notice statues, ponds and water features, all designed to relax you and ground you to nature.
The garden is relatively flat, but there is lots of gravel and some uneven paths that are unsuitable for wheelchairs. Dogs are not allowed.
Trenance Gardens, Newquay
Trenance Gardens, provided by Visit Newquay
Only a 5-minute drive from Hendra (or a short ride on the Newquay land train, departing from Hendra at 9.15am), you can experience the beautiful gardens nestled beneath the picturesque viaduct! Wander around the landscaped flower displays and relax with a picnic on the grass. Take a walk beside the tumbling streams and cross over the little bridges. Explore the rich woodlands that lead into Newquay town. Or walk around the boating lake and feed the ducks! In the summer season, you can even take a leisurely ride on one of the paddleboats. There’s a restaurant, tea rooms and a museum within the gardens.
Trenance Gardens, provided by Visit Newquay
If you cross over the road to Newquay Zoo, the gardens extend into a huge outdoor play park with a small train (operating seasonally), mini golf, tennis courts and a café. It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors while spending time with all the family.
The gardens are flat with wide, tarmacked paths, perfect for wheelchairs. Dogs are allowed on leads.