29 Sep 2015

The Lost Gardens of Heligan | A Cornish Road Trip

The Lost Gardens of Heligan were at the top of our list of things we wanted to do whilst travelling through Cornwall.  It seemed like an obvious choice seeing as we both love the outdoors and I have a bit of an obsession with gardening and plants.  We chose to go for our first trip on our first full day and it did not disappoint in any way.  From the wild, untamed woodlands to the lush jungle terrain and the farmland to stunning walled gardens packed with flowers, fruit and veg.

Heligan was home to the Tremayne family for more than 400 years, over which time many gardens on the estate were developed and cultivated.  WWI saw the gardens come into neglect due to the war effort, which was the beginning of the so called 'lost years'.  It wasn't until 1990 that the gardens began to be restored into the wonderful and breathtaking array of landscapes and plants that you can see today.
We began our walk in the woodlands as it was overcast and intermittently drizzly.  Along this route lined with tall trees and hydrangea, there are a selection of beautiful sculptures including 'The Giant's Head'.  There are wildflowers galore and bees buzzing to and fro.  The landscape opens up onto fields, next to which lie areas that are home to beautiful, ginger Tamworth pigs.

Further along there is an insect hotel which is made up of all sorts of different materials which make a perfect habitat for creepy crawlies, including this lovely blue and black beetle who posed so nicely.
The route plunged back deeper into woodland which grew more and more exotic as we approached the jungle area, thick with gunnera, monkey puzzle trees, palms, bamboo and tree ferns, plus streams and ponds which included one pond that resembled a large bowl pea soup.
Being here certainly didn't feel like England and it was so easy to drift off and imagine that I was exploring through a rainforest in a far off land, climbing the rope bridge and hopping along stepping stones in Fern Gully, until the spitting rain returned as a reminder that I most definitely was still in Blighty.
After hiking out of the steep jungle valley, we headed to the farmland, only to be greeted by even more adorable Tamworth piglets.  They played and snuffled around in the straw, before a few of them snuggled together in a row before falling asleep.
The restored Victorian Production Gardens and The Sundial Garden were some of the most stunning walled gardens I've ever seen.  I found the contrast between the brick and plants so ridiculously visually pleasing.

There were greenhouses and beds full of flowers, lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, grapes and so much more.  It almost became a little overwhelming and goodness knows quite how many photos I took whilst we were there, it was just so beautiful.
After walking for what was probably hours, we were both very much in need of a cup of tea and also may have indulged in delicious fruit scones with lashings of clotted cream and jam.

The tearoom was decorated with an array of gorgeous succulents planted in teacups, teapots and other crockery.  I obviously loved this as great minds think alike!
The last stop before our trip to Heligan ended, was a peruse of the gift shop of course, which surprisingly ended up being just as beautiful and wonderfully decorated.  This was very lucky as I could have made some serious damage, but was so distracted taking pictures of tiny vintage bottles, needle felted butterflies and the sweetest tin watering can planters, that I didn't buy a thing.
We left for our next stop further west totally exhausted, but ridiculously happy, with dreams of transforming my own space into a mini version one day.  I loved every second of our time in the gardens and would completely recommend going if you ever have the opportunity.  

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6 comments

  1. I never get tired of visiting gardens! One day I'll manage to get a green thumb and have one of my own that I'm proud of. :-)

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  2. The lost gardens of heligans is just so amazing! I wished i had the time to visit when i was in cornwall, sadly i only had time to go around west cornwall.
    Those butterflies and glass bottles are so pretty!! Im glad you enjoyed yourself too :) I totally would if i were there!

    x Carina
    Running White Horses

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    1. If you return you definitely should! Thank you, I absolutely loved it there x

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  3. Oh wow, what a beautiful place. This is my kind of place to visit and I will be keeping this in mind for next time I ever to down Cornwall way.

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    1. You definitely should visit if you ever get the chance. I wish I could've spent longer there as we didn't manage to see everything due to the vastness of the place - totally returning again someday soon x

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