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Cornish Gardens

Things to do in Cornwall this Winter

December 14, 2019 No Comments
An early morning scene from Swanpool Beach of people walking. Pendennis Castle and St Anthony lighthouse appear in the background through sea-mist.
A winter walk in Falmouth.

Oh Cornwall! Famed for sandy beaches and temperate climate. We’re all familiar with visions and memories of Cornwall during the summer, but in winter when the crowds disperse there’s a magic to the landscape. We’re in love with Cornwall whatever the weather, so read on below for our list of the very best things to do in Cornwall this winter.

1.Walks

Cornish folk spend a lot of their time on their feet during the winter, and with the South-West coast path offering over 300 miles of coastline to explore it’s no wonder why! Hike some clifftop walks on the north coast, or visit the calm and sheltered banks of the Helford River.

2. Tate St Ives

Wandering around the newly refurbished Tate St Ives will allow you to look at the Cornish landscape with fresh eyes. The perfect day out for a rainy day in Cornwall. Drink a hot chocolate on the top floor and enjoy wintry views of the sea over the rooftops stretching out towards Godrevy.

3. The Eden Project

Make use of the ice-skating rink at The Eden Project before warming up in the sub-tropical biome. There are few better ways to escape the chill in Cornwall this winter!

4. National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Explore Cornwall from the comfort of this incredible museum in Falmouth, with exhibits on all things maritime certain to delight anyone with even a passing interest in boats.

5. Visit a famous Cornish garden

The famous Cornish Gardens of Trebah, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are wonderful for crisp winter walks in Cornwall. Get lost among the plant life and wonder at what can grow in Cornwall during the winter months.

6. Go storm watching at Porthleven

Images of Portleven make the news at least once each winter, as storms roll in and batter the harbour side in the most dramatic fashion. Watching the waves from the safety of one of the cosy pubs is a firm favourite pastime of ours during the winter, one of our favourite things to do in Cornwall just gets even better when the weather is really wet and windy.

7. Visit the Minack Theatre

Sitting outside in the winter to watch a play might not sound like one of the best things to do in Cornwall this winter, but The Minack is not your normal theatre! Hewn from the cliffs above Porthcurno especially for a performance of ‘The Tempest’, it’s worth a visit even if there’s nothing playing.

8. Have a hot chocolate taste test

With a thriving coffee and cafe scene, we’ve set ourselves the challenge of tasting every hot chocolate in the county. Whilst our final verdict is not yet in, we can say that they always seem to taste better with a great view! Try Gylly Beach Cafe in Falmouth, or The Unicorn in Porthtowan.

9. Go swimming

Whilst swimming in the sea might be out, Ships and Castles in Falmouth offer a great fun way to get into the water.

10. Watch a film at an independent cinema

The Poly in Falmouth plays a range of movies from old classics to new ones. Visit the Newlyn Film House on your way home after an afternoon in Mousehole.

11. Take a scenic drive

When it’s a bit too windy for a clifftop walk, seeing the dramatic scenery from the road is the second-best thing. Journey from St Ives to St Just along the B3306, stopping off at the Gurnard’s Head for lunch.

12. Visit a country house

Often decked out for Christmas, step into a vision of Cornwall past by visiting a country house. Trelissick and Godolphin are two of the best, looked after by the National Trust. A visit to St Michael’s Mount is an unforgettable experience at any time of year.

Tregothnan Gardens – Open day 2016

May 19, 2016 No Comments

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Lord Falmouth opened his beautiful gardens at Tregothnan to the public a few weekends ago, proceeds raised went to “Cornwall Carer’s Service”.

 

The sun shone as we were allowed to enjoy the delights of this normally private estate.

 

We were treated to magnificent specimens of Camellias, Rhododenrons, Magnolias, Azaleas, grasslands with sweeping areas of bluebells and primroses.  We also enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea from Tregothnan’s very own tea plantation.

 

A wonderful day out.

Bluebells at Calamansac

May 14, 2016 No Comments

One of our favourite times of year… the stunning display of Bluebells at Calamansac. The 50 acre estate on the Helford springs to life in May with incredible carpets of blue. Here are some photos from the estate from this week..

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Spring Time in Cornwall

March 18, 2016 No Comments

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People don’t realise quite how early spring starts in Cornwall. To be honest, Cornish holiday Cottages had no idea quite how early the spring starts either. Apparently it’s been spring in this fair county since Wednesday 10th February this year. Who knew?
Well, the good folk at the Great Gardens of Cornwall knew. Each year they measure the coming of spring through the flowering of the Magnolia campbellii champion trees, which are found in several Cornish gardens and are spring’s early bloomers. They’re not just any Magnolias. There are seven specific trees from seven different gardens around the county.

Spring in Cornwall is officially announced once all seven of the Champion Magnolia campbellii trees have at least 50 blooms. These seven trees are spread out across Cornwall and can be found at Caerhays Castle, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Gardens, Tregothnan, Trengwainton Garden, Trewidden Garden and Trewithen.

This is the fifth year spring has been declared in this way for Cornwall, and this year it has been officially recognised as an indicator for spring nationally. The group even presented Downing Street with a bouquet from one of the seven trees.
Great Gardens of Cornwall chairman, Charles Williams, weighed in: “Cornwall’s magnolias are multi-prize winning and truly stunning. This year the magnolias are particularly early and they are a sight not to be missed. We encourage all those interested in seeing Gardens in full bloom to come down and see the great Gardens of Cornwall,”

The drive

The drive

It’s a surprisingly early start to spring, but Cornwall’s nature is known to spring into life a full month before the rest of the country.
The drive into Mawnan Smith and the Cornish Holiday Cottages offices is currently lined with a parade of Daffodils. That’s one of our first signs of spring. But down at Glendurgan and Trebah Gardens fresh leaves are adorning the trees and solitary birdsongs are already transforming themselves into a cacophonous dawn chorus. Spring truly in the air now is a great time to visit these sub-tropical paradises brimming with bulbs, herbaceous, grasses, shrubs and exotic plants.

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We can’t talk about spring in Cornwall though, without talking about Enys Gardens. Each year the site bursts with a profusion of bluebells adorning forest floors. It’s an event not to be missed. They start sprouting at the end of April, but they’re beauty is short lived and they are usually gone again by mid-May. It’s a fleeting visit. Enys’s bluebell festival begins on the 29th April and ends on the 8th May.

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The gardens and historic houses dotted around Cornwall are beautiful. There is simply no better time to visit than in spring. Whether you find yourself in an independently owned garden or a large National trust Estate, you’ll find everything from traditional vegetable patches and knot gardens, to huge rolling meadows, ancient woodlands and riverside paths.

Great Holiday Cottages for an Easter Egg Hunt

February 25, 2016 No Comments

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We exist in an age where technology gives our children all their entertainment needs. Now, forgive us for sounding like old luddites but the Easter egg hunt is just as flash as any tablet game and is a great way of entertaining your little bunnies this Easter. What’s better than a mystery with an edible prize or the anticipation of a treasure trove of chocolate? Just pop on a pair of silly bunny ears and you’ll be good to go.

The most important part of creating your Easter egg hunt is the trail. Something cryptic that’ll get their brains working will do the trick. If it rhymes then all the better. But not all of us know our iambs from our kennings, so we’ve been brainstorming clues at the Cornish Holiday Cottage office that would suit any holiday home.

You could start off by sending your children to the fridge: somewhere cold.

The Easter Bunny has been today
Dropping off some eggs along the way
Follow the clues to find the gold
The first place to look is somewhere cold

Next, it’s up to the bedroom;

The second hiding place might be out of sight,
Think of somewhere cosy where you sleep at night

This clue could be in their wellies;

This clue is hiding in the dark
In somewhere squelchy and rather smelly
We put these on to jump in mud, puddles and bark
That’s right, it’s hidden in a ……….

Or hidden in the wardrobe?

Lambs have wool, chicks have feathers
How do you keep warm in colder weathers?

One for the bathroom;

You’re nearing the end of the Easter gold rush,
Now head to the place where you’d find your toothbrush.

You then just need to think of a place to hide that final payload. A large cooking pot will do the trick;

The end’s in sight so take a look
The last clue’s hidden in something you’d use to cook.

Now all you need is an establishment for your treasure trail. And boy do we have some holiday cottages that are practically crying out to be the venue for a cracking Easter hunt. We’ve got some Cornish holiday homes that would appear labrythine to your little egg hunters and accommodation with gardens almost jungle like in their abilities to hide chocolate from mini hoarders.

Calamansac (East Wing, West Wing and Sail Loft)
Calamansac’s garden wouldn’t just make the perfect venue for a sunny day egg hunt. It would be an awe-inspiring, super egg hunt. You could hide a lifetime’s supply of Easter eggs out there without difficulty. There’s the garden itself, a large meadow strewn with seasonal flowers. The garden then leads to a bracken and bluebell woodland which which takes you down to the creek’s edge. The children could be hunting eggs all day!

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Rose Cottage 1
There are a wealth of hiding places at Rose Cottage 1. There are wood beams, a stone hearth and loads of nooks and crannies to place your loot.

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The Coach House
The Coach House has access to the Trerose Estate Garden, it’s beautifully manicured lawns and immaculate boarders and beds. All perfect places to snaffle away a few chocolatey surprises.

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Willow Cottage
It may not look like there are many hiding places from the outside, but the large conservatory adds plenty of original and egg-siting hiding places.

The Foreshore - Port Navas - Helford River - view creek

The Foreshore
With a garden that arches its way down towards the water, The Foreshore offers multi level chocolate seeking. In the multiple flower beds and small garden trees, you’ll be able to hide little treasures high and low.

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Tehidy House
This grand town house has so many hiding spots, I don’t think I’d know where to start when creating an egg hunt here. There are antique sideboards and lots of little pots for depositing mini treats within. The creak of the floorboards as your children scamper back and forth will let you know how their progress is going.

Trerice in November

November 2, 2015 No Comments

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This weekend Debbie ventured over to Trerice near Newquay in the November sunshine (where did October go?).

Run by the National Trust from now it is only open at the weekends throughout the winter.

Read more on the website here.

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A Celebration of Autumn at Enys Gardens

October 21, 2015 No Comments

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It’s A Celebration of Autumn down at Enys Gardens this weekend. In the house they have been sweeping out the chimneys in order to light some warming and crackling log fires: the perfect backing for some light music and some tasty seasonal food.

Dotted around the house will be a large number of local craftsmen with a whole range of local, artisan gifts and products. Jimagination Creations’ [http://www.jimaginationcreations.com/shop/4585410684], with a range of bespoke woodwork products, will be just one of the 40 exhibitors on show.

In the gardens it’ll be a parade of vintage vehicles and a few Halloween treats. From classic cars to vintage tractors there will be lots to intrigue the family petrol head.

They haven’t forgotten that it’s Halloween either. A creepy Halloween trail will wind and snake its way through the woods in order to spook foolhardy youngsters. And for the competitive amongst you there’s the chance to enter a pumpkin carving competition. Just bring your most ghastly of carvings along with you.

Enys’ fine gardens are noted in the 1709 edition of Camden’s Magna Britannia and are considered to be one of the oldest gardens in Cornwall. From its inception Enys stayed in the family for over 300 years, but as the family’s fortunes changed, Enys became derelict. In 1980, when the estate was inherited by Prof. G.L. Rogers, a recovery programme was instigated.  He increased the number of garden staff and endowed a charitable trust in 2002, known as The Enys Trust, to secure the long-term future of the garden. It’s a slow process and funding is hard to come by, but The Trustees aim to restore the garden and house to its former glory and its events like this that are helping to fund that goal.

The Autumn Celebration is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm and is £3 for adults.

Cornish Days Out: Trelissick Gardens [Feock, Truro]

October 20, 2015 No Comments

 

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The grounds of Trelissick Gardens will be familiar to those of you who have moseyed up the river Fal while staying with Cornish Holiday Cottages. The vast grounds of the estate arch their way down into the valley, dipping their toes into the water next to The King Harry Ferry. Trelissick house stands proud at the top of the headland.

Since last summer, and for the first time in Trelissick’s history, the historic house has been opened up to the public. A 17th Century manor house, peeking inside is an eye opening look into a house in transition. Whilst there are beautiful inlays, antiques galore and historic china decorated with rhododendrons, it is a house that has been, and is still lived in by the Copeland family. For those wishing to delve into the history of the estate there are knowledgeable volunteers on hand who are keen to tell you about the family and the house. As we enter we are told of their famous Spode China business and how the flowers from the gardens were used as patterns for their products.

After wandering through the house we exist through a high ceiling, art-deco conservatory, facing the river. It’s the sort of room you can imagine whiling away lazy summer afternoons in.

Entering the grounds themselves, the first thing to welcome us is a small, multi-sensory garden loaded with herby scents and smells. It’s a perfect hands on introduction and you are positively encouraged get tactile with the plants. We leave with the almondy vanilla smells of clemantis flammula clinging sweetly to our fingers.

The gardens are packed with azaras and photinias and over 350 hydrangeas – many planted before World War II. The meandering pathways are bordered by a mixture of exotic palms and shade giving trees and vegetation designed to give interest all year round. If you venture over a curving wooden bridge you will find a dominating cryptomeria japonica that was planted in 1898.

A cornucopia of apples greet us in the orchard. It’s a quite peaceful place and possibly my favourite part of the gardens. In the corner sits an ancient apple press, 6th wide. The orchard is home to more than 70 varieties of apple, including Pig’s Noses and Chacewater Longstems and they are ripe for the picking, some having already dropped to the ground.

At the beginning of October, Trelissick will be having a whole weekend dedicated to those apples. There will be info on a range of appley subjects and the ancient press will be in action! So there’s a good chance you could sample some of this year’s fresh apple juice.

Being a National Trust property you initially pay for parking and there are some fantastic woodland walks in the area that are perfect for dogs and family adventuring, if you don’t want to pay for the gardens themselves.

We definitely recommend their café. The home-cooked food changes seasonally and is good value for money: their sausage and bean stew is definitely a lunch time winner. Dogs are welcome with water bowls positioned next to almost every table.

 

 

 

Kneehigh Theatre and Michael Morpurgo’s 946

July 31, 2015 No Comments

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Kneehigh Theatre Company are one of the brightest jewels in Cornwall’s crown – so said Cornish poet Charles Causley. Ever since their inception in the 1980s, they’ve been building a reputation as an imaginative, original and quite anarchic touring company. In the past they’ve created shows inspired by films, Brief Encounter; performed Benjamin Britten Operas, Noye’s Flood; and won awards as far away as San Francisco.

This summer Kneehigh are reprising their Asylum experience in the green expanses of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This jaw-dropping, nomadic theatre tent is being erected for the fifth year running (actually, I’ve just been informed by a Heligan employee that it’s a bigger, better tent this year), and after last year’s radical Beggar’s Opera: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, it’s looking to be a spectacular event. The Guardian newspaper has described the Asylum as ‘a place predisposed to magic.’

For Asylum 2015 Kneehigh are collaborating with War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo to create 946, the little known story of the rehearsal of the D-Day landings, and of the 946 people who were killed during Operation Tiger at Slapton Sands in 1944. The D-Day rehearsal was a disaster on a grand scale. However, the true story was to remain a secret for decades, covered up by both the UK and US governments.

946 is adapted from Morpurgo’s own novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and is being brought to the stage by award winning director Emma Rice, who described the writer as a humble and brilliant collaborator.

Having a cat as a main character means there’s going to be some puppetry and foolishness in this tale of war, prejudice and love. After seeing recent rehearsals, Morpurgo himself commented, ‘something quite remarkable is being concocted by Emma Rice and her team, quite amazing, wonderful energy, beautiful dance and music, great acting, the makings of a really terrific show.’

The show recently previewed at Latitude Festival to a packed audience who shed tears and laughed along with all the dance numbers, despite not even getting to see a full dress rehearsal – the cast were all in identical boiler suits! Unfortunately for them, they were also denied the climax due to stage timings – only those who see it at Heligan will be rewarded with the catharsis of ending, it seems.

This is due to be a very special summer event and one that would make any holiday that little bit more special.

To book tickets visit www.hallforcornwall.co.uk or ring 01872 262466.

Filming for Rosamunde Pilcher at Trengwainton Garden

July 20, 2015 No Comments

WP_20150719_003 WP_20150719_005 WP_20150719_006 WP_20150719_008Debbie had a lovely surprise this week when she went to visit Trengwainton Gardens near Penzance and they were filming for Rosamunde Pilcher in the grounds. At least they had some brilliant Cornish sunshine all weekend.

 

 

 

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