Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

As I've said rather smugly on previous Cornish posts we were unbelievably lucky with the weather during our week in Cornwall last Summer.

Our painstaking research on indoor activities thankfully went out of the window, as Matilda loved the beach, preferring to spend long happy days building sandcastles, running around with lots of other children whilst we watched on. Delighted that we were saving huge amounts of money by not having to fork out for entry fees she was welcome to a delicious Cornish Ice Cream any time she wanted!


We had planned a trip to the Eden Project, but were advised against it. The domes would be unbearably hot confounded by the hordes of people plus the fact Matilda was just a little too young to fully appreciate it made up our minds to leave it to another time.





One place I didn't want to miss though was The Lost Gardens of Heligan. One of the most important Botanical Gardens in the UK it is respected the world over. Discovered by the team behind the Eden Project headed by Tim Smith, it's restoration was the subject of a hugely successful C4 series which really put this place on the map, drawing huge crowds all year round. Originally bought in the Eighteenth century the Tremayne family it was left to rack and ruin after the first world war until their beauty was discovered in the 1990s. 








As soon as we parked the car we realised we were in a special place, wandering down the path lined with ancient trees and hydrangeas it felt as if we were about to enter The Secret Garden itself. It's small windy entrance belies it extensive grounds.



An incredible labour of love the grounds are split into different styles and uses. Italianate Gardens, woods, farm land to the most incredible jungle area where we led Matilda to believe she might encounter a tiger or a monkey. Funnily enough it would be easy to believe given the authenticity of the flora and fauna.





We spent a long day meandering along the paths yet we didn't feel like we'd seen everything. We will most certainly be returning and I urge you, if you're planning a Cornish escape to consider making this place top of your priority list.