Whether you’re a green-fingered garden enthusiast or fancy a family-friendly daytrip in the Great Outdoors, from St Ives you can enjoy some of the best gardens in Cornwall. Spread out your picnic blanket in carpets of bluebells, play hide and seek in the woods and seek out an abundance of sub-tropical plant species that thrive in Cornwall’s mild climate. A short hop from St Ives you’ll find the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens - one of the county’s newest and most unique garden attractions – where you can climb trees, follow boardwalks and experience nature through a series of art installations including a camera obscura and an elliptical domed chamber.
You can’t mention a day out in Cornwall’s gardens without signposting the Eden Project, but aside from the iconic biomes of this mega star, there’s an abundance of gardens to visit across the county. Discover the magical woodlands and water meadows of The Lost Gardens of Heligan and tunnel under the sub-tropical canopies to Tarzan’s Camp and a secluded beach on the Helford at Trebah.
The National Trust gardens in Cornwall are all geared-up for family-friendly days out, and many of them welcome dogs too. Hop on a boat along the River Fal to Trelissick, where you can strike out along stunning woodland trails, skim pebbles on the beach and explore a riverside valley blooming with a heady mix of sub-tropical plants. Lanhydrock flaunts sprawling woodland yawning into 900 acres of countryside, with sky-scraping trees, an adventure playground and excellent mountain biking trails with bike hire available. The National Trust’s Glendurgan Garden is a sub-tropical paradise cascading down the valley to a beach on the Helford River, while the lesser-known Trerice is the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon playing Tudor garden games and skipping through the orchards.
For garden enthusiasts and those seeking a quiet day out in Cornwall’s gardens, there are specialist and secret gardens flourishing with rare and tropical plant life brought back by globe-trotting seed hunters. At Pinsla Garden you can follow pathways wending through honeysuckle, ferns, bamboo and quirky art installations, while at the Japanese Garden you can witness giant bonsais, cherry trees and fairy weed, as well as listen to birdcall and wind chimes in the Zen viewing house. Pencarrow House and Gardens welcomes children to roll down its immaculate grassy slopes where peacocks roam, and is also an idyllic location to pick punnets of raspberries and strawberries in the summer. .