Cornwall is a nature-lovers’ paradise, with a wealth of incredible places to visit. The warm microclimate lends itself to the kind of tropical planting you don’t see elsewhere in the UK, and the stunning landscape provides a spectacular backdrop for gardens and historic estates.
The gardens to visit in Cornwall we’ve listed below are ideal for all ages. Young children will love exploring and pretending to be dinosaurs amongst prehistoric-looking tree ferns, while teenagers will embrace the Instagram-worthy backdrops. Couples can lose themselves in the peace and romance of the setting, while grandparents will enjoy watching the fun unfold before heading to the café and treating everyone to lunch!
We often find ourselves drawn to these idyllic spots on hot summer days when everyone else heads to the beach; dappled shade, lawn games and sand-free sandwiches are nothing to be sniffed at. Plus, many of the below are dog-friendly places to visit, so if you’re staying in one of our many pet-friendly Cornish holiday lets you’ll be spoilt for choice!
In St Ives
In St Ives itself, there are two great spots to take a break from the summertime hustle and bustle without going anywhere near the car. The Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden is a favourite spot of ours, and a great place to while away a few hours surrounding by some of the most pioneering works of 20th Century British art.
Hepworth’s old studio is one of St Ives’ major artist attractions, however even regular visitors to the seaside town generally don’t make it to Trewyn Subtropical Gardens. This tiny park is tucked away behind Barclays Bank on Bedford Road and is an ideal location for munching on a pasty on a sunny day. While resting your legs, take a moment to appreciate the subtropical planting, the view of the church, and John Milne’s sculptural memorial to his friend Barbara Hepworth.
‘The Courtyard’ is a unique collection of luxury properties arranged around a private gated courtyard in the heart of St Ives, which actually backs onto Trewyn Gardens. The four properties can all be rented individually (combined they sleep 22+2).
In nearby Penzance
A short drive from St Ives, Penzance sits proudly on the sweeping shores of Mount’s Bay. First-time visitors to the area will undoubtedly have trip to St Michael’s Mount on their itinerary, and the terraced gardens surrounding the iconic island castle are some of the most spectacular in the whole of the UK. The exposed rocks lock in heat, taking Cornwall’s famous sub-tropical microclimate up a degree or two! Please note that only assistance dogs are allowed on the island.
On the rural edges of Penzance there are three intriguing, and very different gardens to explore. All of them are particularly easy to reach from one of our large rural properties, The Holding House (pet-friendly of course!)
National Trust properties never disappoint, and Trengwainton (which is also dog-friendly) is no exception. Discover winding pathways through jungle-like vegetation and over streams, before exploring the kitchen gardens and café with indoor and outdoor seating.
Trenmenheere is another of our favourite haunts where dogs are welcome to join the fun. Different landscapes and planting zones inhabit the other-worldly valley, which from a high vantage point has lovely views of St Michael’s Mount. Fascinating outdoor sculptures appear here and there, but our absolute go-to spot is in James Turrell’s sunken domed chamber, with its elliptical window on the sky. Tremenheere Kitchen is also one of our top recommendations for a coffee in the area.
As the name suggests, Tanglewood Wild Garden is kept natural and unmanicured to encourage nature to gather around the four ponds in this nine-acre garden. It’s equally good for families with dogs looking for adventure, and couples seeking peace and quiet. Tanglewood is not suitable for the disabled or wheelchair users and young children should be supervised at all times. A cake hut pops up at weekends, but you’re also welcome to bring a picnic!
Garden-lovers shouldn’t miss out on a visit to dog-friendly Godolphin. At this ancient estate, now looked after by The National Trust, the medieval gardens are of national importance. From the immaculate box hedges of the King’s Garden, to the herbaceous borders laid down in Tudor times, there’s a lot to see in the immediate grounds of the manor house and in the wider estate which is great for dog walks.
To start planning your break to Cornwall, browse our beautiful collection of holiday properties here. If you’re bringing the dog simply tick ‘pet-friendly’ – there are plenty of wonderful locations to choose from!