The best hidden gardens in Cornwall


Cornwall is a county of vast differences, from stunning coastal beaches to rugged moorlands, there is no wonder it is such a popular location for a staycation or family holiday. Amongst the variety of attractions and locations on offer are Cornwall’s hidden gardens, which are just waiting to be explored. 

Hidden Valley Gardens
Treesmill Hidden Valley Gardens

Situated near Fowey on the south coast of Cornwall is Hidden Valley Gardens, a 3-acre green wonderland nestled in a hidden valley as the name would suggest. 

 The team at Hidden Valley Gardens told us a little more about the gardens and what you can expect to see during your visit. “Hidden Valley Gardens is a 3-acre garden nestled in a hidden valley designed to create an immense sense of calm amongst 26 beds/borders featuring a host of colourful herbaceous perennials, annuals, shrubs and bulbs. The hot border bursts with a riot of scorching colours, sizzling with sunflowers, red and orange dahlias and purple verbena. Raised beds have been crafted for plants that enjoy drier conditions including herbs and lavenders.”

 The garden is home to some unique and rare varieties of flowers and shrubs and is the perfect place for those looking for an informative but equally stunning trip around a traditional Cornish garden. The team continue to explain more about the types of flowers you can see in the garden.

“There is an iris garden, fernery, Japanese garden, potager, primrose garden, herbaceous and cottage garden beds and a Mediterranean area. The pond area has innovative bog planting that encourages wildlife like toads, gravity-defying pond skaters and dancing butterflies. A shady gazebo provides views over the garden and across the Cornish countryside. There is a small orchard and soft fruit area for strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and tayberries. Bees love all the flowers to be found here and as well as bird-life including nuthatches, swallows and woodpeckers that fill the air with song.”

Lost Gardens of Heligan
Mevagissey Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are one of the most famous hidden gardens in Cornwall due to their unique features and history. Tim Smit founded Lost Gardens of Heligan and went on to found The Eden Project, another famous Cornwall garden. Re-established from the undergrowth in 1990, the garden was lost to the wild in the midst of WW1, but it was lovingly restored and now spans 200-acres. 

 The website explains a little more about the diverse history of the site: “Heligan is one of the most mysterious estates in England. Lost to the brambles of time since the outbreak of WW1, this Sleeping Beauty was re-awakened in 1990 to become Europe’s largest garden restoration project. Today Heligan’s 200 acres are a paradise for the explorer, wildlife, plant lover and garden romantic.”

 If you’re planning to visit then pre-booking is essential as the gardens are often busy during peak season. The gardens are usually open daily between 10am and 6pm with last entry at 4pm.

Trebah Garden
Mawnan Smith Trebah Garden

A site that is close to St Michaels Resort, this sub-tropical paradise is a real gem within the Cornish countryside. Trebah Gardens is rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world, which is some accolade for a small garden. The location is home to 26-acres of stunning gardens and over 4 miles of meandering footpaths, perfect for a summer or winter wander. 

 Trebah writes a little more about the gardens on their website: “Trebah offers visitors a year-round experience. In spring, Trebah comes alive with a colourful array of 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias. In summer, the giant gunnera is a must-see for the young and old. In autumn, Hydrangea Valley casts clouds of china blue and soft white across Mallard Pond. In winter, our spectacular champion trees dominate the landscape, whilst plants from the southern hemisphere start to flower.”

 The gardens are usually open from 10am to 5pm, last entry to the garden is 2.30pm.

Trewithan Gardens
Truro Trewithan Gardens

Developed between 1910 and 1932, Trewithen Gardens sit on the grounds of the 18th century Trewithen House and spans 30-acres of its magnificent grounds. With many notable plants and shrubs, the garden is home to some of the finest magnolia tree specimens in the world.

 “Revered as a masterpiece of landscape gardening, Trewithen’s south-facing great glade was developed at the time of the great plant hunting expeditions between 1910 and 1932,” the Trewithen website explains. It continues to explain more about the gardens: “Astonishing seed collections were sent back to England and, thanks to the expertise of horticulturalist George Johnstone, who inherited the house in 1904, many were successfully cultivated at the Cornish Manor – ensuring a botanical reputation that endures to this day.”

 If you want to visit the gardens then you can visit between March and October when the gardens are usually open from 10am to 4:30pm 7 days a week. 

Trelissick Gardens
Feok Trelissick Gardens

Owned and maintained by the National Trust, Trelissick Gardens are set in an estate with some of the best waterside views in the county. Looking over the Fal Estuary, the gardens are a picture postcard of exotic plants, herbaceous borders and deep, intense colours. 

 The National Trust website delves into the details of the gardens in more detail: “You can explore the meandering paths through the garden, leading to exotic plants and herbaceous borders bursting with colour. For those bringing four-legged friends, Trelissick offers woodland walks through dappled sunlight and across open parkland with views down the estuary to the town of Falmouth.”

 A visit to the gardens is a great way to explore a multitude of different settings, including the main lawn, the Cornish Orchard, the tennis lawn and the rest of the stunning Trelissick countryside. St Michaels Resort guests can arrive in style at Trelissick, with ferry cruises running from Falmouth harbour up river to the foot of the gardens at Trelissick. Boats are tide-dependent and run throughout warmer months.

St Michaels Resort
Falmouth St Michaels Resort

St Michaels Resort is set in its very own sub-tropical paradise and not one to be overlooked. Don’t forget to wander or meander around our facilities and take in the peace and tranquillity of its coastal setting.

 For those of you who are planning to visit the Cornish coast anytime soon, then why not plan to explore some of these stunning, but hidden gems? These gardens are all a great way to see the true beauty of the county. For more articles like this, check out our blog section. 

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