I used to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan every time I came to Cornwall on holiday. Now, at only £13 for an adult ticket (and a new option for a locals pass!) it's a perfect place to take a springtime walk without breaking the bank *cough Eden Project cough*. A genuine lost garden, these beautifully wild grounds were owned by the Tremayne family; during WW1 ivy, overgrowth and brambles took over this estate as the family and workforce joined the war. Unlike many estates, it was never sold or developed in that time; proceeding a further 'sleeping beauty' timewarp to the grounds. Eventually, in the 1970's the house itself was sold, split into apartments and yet, the grounds were left undiscovered...
It wasn't until the 1990's that Tim Smit (Eden Project creator) and John Willis (Tremayne descent) discovered a tiny doorway, covered in hedgerow and brambles, and began the clearance and restoration of the classical gardens and enchanting landscape.
You really can get lost for hours in the different areas of the grounds. Acres to walk, Stacie and I headed first for the jungle (like any adventurer would!) This landscape could be anywhere, in reality, it's 20 minutes or so from my house. Do I mention enough how brilliant Cornwall is?
Taking the rope bridge is a novelty experience and guaranteed to have you declaring yourself as the next Indiana Jones. Stacie and I queued for about 10 minutes and as we got closer, shouted at the children ahead of us, rocking and jumping on the rope bridge "You'll weaken it before we get there and we'll die!" We're slightly dramatic adventurers...
Since we'd practically mastered the jungle (Tarzan eat your heart out) we ventured over to the farm area. Squealing at the piglets and having a stare-off with an emu, we rolled around in the sunshine, feeding sheep and lambs, declaring ourself as the first ever 'Farm Jungle Experts'. Every little moment just screamed "SPRING HAPPINESS" in your face. I can sense you feel it right now.
Farming aced (it really was quite the mastering day) we needed to slow down a little and headed for the Italian gardens and melon yard for a hunt of inspiration and peacefulness. One of the many joys of Heligan is just how relaxed the different spaces are. It's venturing into someone's beautiful home without being pretentious or invasive. It took us a little while to spot the pineapples growing (that's right we grow pineapples in Cornwall) and we were a little early in the season for the veg garden to be fully appreciated but despite being a bank holiday weekend with a queue of genuinely almost 200 people when we arrived, there were plenty of spaces that were empty and serene.
The scent of The Citrus House was invigorating and fresh, placing my little mind somewhere much more exotic than a corner of the UK. Legs a little tired, hearts filled with sunshine, we headed over to the farm shop for a bit of local produce (honey purchasing- duh) and headed home.
Thinking of a trip to Cornwall? You may want to have a browse of some other locations that are tip-top!
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