Sunday 8 April 2018

Cornwall 2018: Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are described by Google as “one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK”.  We had planned to visit the Eden Project which is near the Lost Gardens, so ended up buying a joint ticket for both places.

The gardens allow dogs on leashes and there were lots of them.  There were lots of families and the rain held off for the morning so that we could get round the place without getting sodden.

On this occasion there was a scarecrows wedding at the Gardens based on a book by Gruffalo writers Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson and an accompanying treasure hunt for children 

The first thing I noticed was the proliferation of colourful Camelia's in full flower, both all over Cornwall and at the Lost Gardens.  Spring flowers were in abundance: daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinth.  It made me wonder how beautiful the place must look in summer with Cornwall’s warmer subtropical, climate.

The kids managed to find the items on their list for the treasure hunt.

The Gardens were in what is called the Victorian style and there are features and interesting places across the whole place. We walked for a good few hours and still didn’t see everything. 

There was a small farm including goats, sheep, cows and some chickens and turkeys.  There is a barn for the ewes who are lambing and there was a nursery where the lambs were kept.  The kid’s reaction to both the baby lambs and the lovely smell was hilarious.  

The farm area also had a carpenter’s workshop where you could watch the craftsman at work.

Part of the Gardens were more forest- or even jungle-like with rope bridges, mini waterfalls and walkways between trees.

There was plenty of birds and wildlife and this little robin was happy to pose for us fearlessly. 

Another item to mark off of the children’s list for the treasure hunt:

Hubby and the kids thought it was funny to set these two off by moo-ing at them…

Once the children had all of the items on their list, we made our way to a white tent at the heat of the Gardens where they swapped their finds for chocolate eggs.  There were lots of children’s activities and games here and the kids and my mum all planted sunflower seeds in little pots to take home.

We spent an enjoyable morning at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and managed to help the kids use up some of that excess energy they always seem to have.

The site was very big and we did manage to go round in circles a few times and there were some bits that we missed that I would have liked to see.  I liked how the place was well-sign posted for accessibility for people with limited mobility or prams. 

The Gardens are described as some of the best in the country, but I think Kew Gardens, Capel Manor Garden (which is smaller) and Groombridge in Kent are comparable for activities and things to see and do and some have cheaper tickets.  Still, a good day out if you have the time to spare and if the weather is good. 

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