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Exotic plants, fascinating histories and sculptures - the gardens of Cornwall

Updated: May 24, 2023

Thanks to our mild climate, Cornwall is home to some of Britain’s most spectacular gardens and here, at Middle Colenso, we're lucky enough to have some of them right on our doorstep.

Trengwainton Situated on the outskirts of Penzance, the garden at Trengwainton dates back to the early 19th century. It is famed for its collection of exotics including  magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons.

Looking through one of the bronze sculptures at The Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden near St Ives.
The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives

The Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden This wonderful, tranquil garden above the hustle and bustle of St Ives features bronze, stone and wood sculptures from one of Britain’s most important 20th century artists.   Morrab Gardens A green oasis in the centre of Penzance, this sub-tropical garden started life as a private garden and was bought by the town in 1888. With its curvilinear walkways, cast iron fountain and bandstand, it’s a wonderful example of a Victorian civic park. Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens On the outskirts of Penzance and with fabulous views across Mounts Bay, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens opened in 2012. The garden’s woods and valley are home exotic and sub-tropical plants and an evolving programme of contemporary art installations. There’s also an excellent art gallery, cafe, and shop.

One of the many installations at Tremenheere on the outskirts of Penzance.
The camera obscure at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

Godolphin Just a five-minute drive away, Godolphin is home to a 16th-century garden. If you have time, explore the wider estate with Leeds engine house and stack, the remains of the Godolphin family mine. Trewidden This 15-acre garden near Penzance boasts a magnificent collection of rhododendrons and camellias as well as one of Europe’s largest tree fern dells.

Further afield: Enys

Situated near Penryn, Enys Gardens are best known for their spectacular bluebell display. 

The annual display of bluebells in the woods at Enys Gardens.
Beautiful bluebells at Enys

Trebah  This stunning 26-acre garden near Falmouth descends 200 feet through a steep valley to a private beach on the River Helford and is rated one of the top 80 gardens in the world. The beach was an embarkation point for American forces on their way to the D-Day landings.

Looking towards the maze - a popular attraction at Glendurgan garden near Falmouth.
The Maze at Glendurgan


Close to Trebah, Glendurgan is another spectacular valley garden. As well as its large collection of sub-tropical and exotic plants, it has a number of unusual features including a laurel maze.


Most famous as a tea estate, Tregothan, is also home to the UK's largest private botanical gardens. It is only open to the public one weekend a year during the spring, with all proceeds from the event going to charity. It's well worth a visit and if you're not here for the open day you can book a private tour.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan Rediscovered after decades of neglect, The Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey are now among the most popular gardens in the UK.  Allow plenty of time to visit the pleasure gardens, productive garden and wider estate. The Eden Project  Part garden, part education project the Eden Project’s iconic biomes are home to tropical and Mediterranean plants. Situated near St Austell, it’s a great day out for both adults and children. Tresco Abbey Gardens Planted in the 19th century in the grounds of a ruined abbey on the Isles of Scilly, Tresco has a dramatic and beautiful setting. The mild climate makes it one of the few places in the British Isles where exotic plants such as banana and citrus trees actually produce fruit. Trewithen Described by the celebrated Cornish historian, A L Rowse as ‘unforgettable’ this privately-owned estate near Truro has a rich history and is one of just five British gardens to be acknowledged as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence. Red squirrels have recently been reintroduced to the garden.

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