Cornwall is known for its beaches, so a visit to a garden might not be the most obvious place you’d think of if you’re holidaying in the area. But we would highly recommend this one – for The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are an absolute gem.
They also have their own fascinating history – originally being part of an estate and then being “lost” for many years around the time of the First World War, and becoming extremely overgrown. They were brought back to life over the last 25 or so years and you can well imagine the amount of work and effort this has taken.
The gardens show so many aspects of nature’s beauty and there is so much space to walk (be aware of this if you visit with small children, especially as it does get steep in parts). Whatever you do, don’t miss the “jungle” with its Burmese rope bridge (the only time we had to queue) and incredible range of plants and trees (it’s hot in this bit, so be warned!). There is also a walled “secret” garden, an Italian garden, vegetable garden and more. I loved seeing the poppies and also the views from the Georgian garden, which were gorgeous. There are 200 acres available for your enjoyment, but I think it’s unlikely you’ll manage them all!
Children of any ages (that included me) will enjoy seeing the animals, especially the piglets. We all laughed when these tiny pigs got excited at the arrival of a tractor (hence food) and went running (and squealing) towards the vehicle in excitement. We also saw emus and sheep plus learnt about the black bees at the bee hives.
The gardens aren’t just a way to see flowers or plants, but there are also little copses and dens to discover, trees to climb and stumps to jump over. Plus there are some wonderful “living” sculptures, the Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady, to be discovered along the Woodland Walk.
There are often activities for kids, so do check this as we went during “The Lost Summer” which was fantastic fun, involving the building of dens (which we finally managed to do with the aid of Jessica) and toasting marshmallows.
Talking of food (which we kind of were), there is some good stuff on offer here, with a proper kitchen, plus sandwiches, cakes and ice creams (we had a delicious ice cream on arrival). There’s also a huge plant centre.
We really enjoyed our trip, even though it rained for much of the time. We’d recommend it for ages 7+ (because of the walking) and thought it made a great change to the beach!
A visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan is not cheap, but it is special. The gardens are open every day of the year except for Christmas, and a family ticket costs £35 for two adults and up to three children. You can read more about ticketing prices here.
This week we’ve teamed up with Country Kids from Coombe Mill so zip over there to see lots more outdoors fun!