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Gardens and houses in Cornwall

Cornwall is everyone’s favourite destination for gardens which are at their best in the springtime and early summer when Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons begin to flower.

The weather in Cornwall is mild and wet in winter, and warm in summer with a little more rain than the rest of the country which goes a long way in helping our wonderful gardens. We have suggested some of our favourite gardens below to help you make the most of your visit to Cornwall.

The Eden Project

One of the UK’s most popular garden conservation tourist attractions. With its world famous architecture and its global gardens, the Eden Project makes a great day out whatever the weather.

In addition to the amazing Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, about three quarters of the Eden Project’s planting is based outside in thirteen hectares of grounds.

The Eden Project has gardens that change from season to season providing horticultural attractions for visitors all year round.

For more information about events see their website www.edenproject.com.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

This award-winning garden restoration is well worth a visit and caters well for families of all ages.

The Lost Gardens are open every day, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for your enjoyment and exploration.
It is one of the most unique and fascinating places to visit in Cornwall, with an incredible 200 acres of gardens and estate awaiting your exploration.

For more information about events see their website www.heligan.com.

Pencarrow House and Gardens

Friendly family home privately owned by the Molesworth-St Aubyn family which is set in 50 acres of formal and woodland gardens. Ideal for families and dog owners.

The gardens are open daily from 1st March to 31st October from 9.30am until 5.30pm, and the house, which is open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 5pm, can be visited by guided tour only with the last tour of the house departing at 3pm.

The Pencarrow estate features a mile long drive through an Iron Age Fort, flanked by huge rhododendrons, blue hydrangeas and specimen conifers.

The house itself is Georgian with a superb collection of pictures, furniture, porcelain and some antique dolls. The garden is Grade II listed. Sir Arthur Sullivan stayed here in 1882 and composed the music for ‘Iolanthe’. You can enjoy marked walks through beautiful woodland gardens, past a Victorian rockery, Italian and American gardens, lake and ice house.

For more information about events see their website www.pencarrow.co.uk.

Lanhydrock House & Gardens

A large late Victorian country mansion home with extensive grounds over the river Fowey.  It is now under the management of the National Trust.

This is a very popular attraction and offers a two hour tour through 50 rooms in the house.

For more information about events see their website www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

Trebah Gardens

Trebah is Celtic for ‘The House on the Bay’.

The Gardens have origins dating back to the Doomsday Book and were first laid out as a 26 acre pleasure garden by Charles Fox.

For more information about events see their website www.trebah-garden.co.uk.

Trevarno Gardens & the National Museum of Gardening

Over 70 acres of enchanting gardens and grounds featuring one of Cornwal’s largest and most divere plant collections set within magnificent formal, informal and woodland areas.

The gardens include numerous specimen shrubs and trees, a stunning bluebell valley, ornamental lake with picturesque Victorian Boathouse and formal cascade, Sunken Italian Garden, Serpentine Yew Tunnel, extensive Pinetum, Bamboo collection, atmospheric Rockery and Grotto, the Great Lawn and Summer Terrac plus many other interesting features.

Following Cornwall’s successful application during 2006 to become recognised and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Trevarno Estate has been selected as an official World Heritage Site visitor attraction.

For more information about events see their website www.trevarno.co.uk.

Trewithen Gardens

An historic private estate boasting one of the loveliest gardens in England.

It has a magnificent collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, it has wonderful woodland walks and a heritage family home.

For more information about events see their website www.trewithengardens.co.uk.

Mount Edgcumbe Gardens

One of only three Grade I listed gardens in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the only one open to the public all year round.

It has over 7 acres of beautifully maintained gardens set in the dramatic landscape of the Rame Peninsula on the 865 acre estate.

For more information about events see their website www.mountedgcumbe.gov.uk.

Lamorran House Gardens

Lamorran is said to be the most northerly Palm Garden in the world having over 35 species of palms with over 200 specimens.

The Garden is laid out in Mediterranean style with many streams, bridges and water features.

For more information about events see their website www.lamorrangarden.co.uk.

Bonython Estate Gardens

Situated on the Lizard Peninsula, the Gardens have been recently remodeled.  They include a contemporary water feature around the delightful Georgian Manor, an eighteenth century Walled Garden with colour-themed herbaceous borders, a Potager with picking flowers and ornamental vegetables and Orchard filled with Cornish apple trees, through parkland to a series of small lakes in a sheltered valley.

For more information about events see their website www.bonythonmanor.co.uk.

Tresco Abbey Garden

Located on the Isles of Scilly, the Garden has plants from five different continents under the influence of a Mediterranean and maritime climate.

Day trips are available by sea and by helicopter from Penzance and the gardens are open all year round.

For more information about events see their website www.tresco.co.uk.

Japanese Garden

Located near Newquay. The Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery is an authentic Japanese garden with many of the traditional features. Not a large garden but an enjoyable change of pace.

For more information about events see their website www.thebonsainursery.com.

Trelissick Garden

Trellissick National Trust. South of Truro so about an hour and a half, or for a change of pace take the ferryboat from Truro or Falmouth. You walk the steep path from the river jetty and enjoy parkland and gardens with views up the River Fal to Carrick Roads

For more information about events see their website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick.

Say cheers to beer on Britain's annual national beer day!

Hello Beer Lovers – welcome to Britain’s national beer day held annually on June 15th. Please join us to celebrate Britain’s national alcoholic drink and help us spread beery love throughout the land.

This year (2017), we are working with the national beer organisation ‘There’s a Beer For That’ to extend Beer Day Britain into a long weekend called ‘Say Cheers To Beer’ ending on Father’s Day June 18th.  Pub companies and brewers across the land have signed up to host a variety of beer related events in their pubs and breweries.   Discover which pubs and breweries are hosting events by downloading the free smart phone app Wotzon.

National Cheers To Beer

Please join us by raising a glass of beer and saying ‘Cheers to Beer’ on June 15th at 7pm (19.00) and post a message and photo on social media with the hashtag #CheersToBeer so we can trend on Twitter as was done in previous years.

Why is Beer Day Britain on June 15th?

Beer Day Britain is on June 15th and that is also the date Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. Article 35 of the great charter stated:

Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely the London quarter.

Ale was so important in England in 1215 that it was mentioned in one of the most significant legal documents in history. Today beer and pubs are still central to British life.

Poldark Series 3 hits the screens this weekend

Poldark’s third series hits screens this weekend, and as before, most of the action of the beloved BBC drama takes place against the backdrop of Cornwall’s breathtaking coastline and moors.  From historic mines being used for Ross’s struggling business to sandy beaches used as a backdrop for Demelza, the popular drama showcases Cornwall’s spectacular landscape.

Poldark’s Wheal Leisure Mine exterior shots were filmed at the stunning Botallack Mine, which is a National Trust site near St Just on the Penwith Peninsula.  In particular, Wheal Owles and the iconic Crowns engine houses on the clifftop were used for the struggling mine, meanwhile interior scenes were shot at Poldark Tin Mine.

Wheal Owles was used in real life as a mine in the 1850s, and workers were tasking with extracting tin and minerals from its depths.  Tragedy struck in 1893 when a flood water trapped a young boy and 19 men underground.
Their bodies were never recovered from the mine, which shut following the incident.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Ross and Demelza’s quaint stone farmhouse, you’ll have to travel to the village of St Breward. 

If you are looking for the slightly grander Trenwith mansion, where Elizabeth resides, you’ll need to venture outside of Cornwall, as scenes were filmed at the stunning Chavenage House in Gloucestershire.

Described by many as being a paradise, Porthcurno was used for the fictional Poldark land of Nampara Cove.  The historic engines housed along the cliffs of St Agnes Head were chosen to also be part of Poldark’s family estate of Nampara Valley.

Many of the panoramic scenes that show countryside were filmed on the rugged and dramatic Bodmin Moor.

The area of Charlestown near St Austell doubles up as Cornwall’s city of Truro.  Its has a Grade II Listed harbour, which features numerous Tall Ships and is famed for its traditional appearance.  As well as being the backdrop for Truro, it is also is the setting for Falmouth, where Captain Andrew Blamey lived and where he eloped with Verity Poldark.

Remember the scene where a chiselled Poldark stripped off and went for a swim in the sea?  The once-thriving fishing cove of Porthgwarra was used for the spot, and was filmed from the cliffs above as Demelza watched his dip.
Porthgwarra was also used for the tunnel to the place that Ross kept his boat that was used by Mark Daniels when he escaped capture for the accidental killing of his wife, Keren.  The cove is flanked by beautiful grassy dunes which are a haven for wildflowers and varied bird life.

While Owles and Crowns near Botallack were used for Ross Poldark’s Wheal Leisure, cameras headed to Levant Mill for the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill.  The spectacular historic landmark is owned by the National Trust, just like Wheal Owles.  The towering cliffs amplified the danger of the coastal mining locations in the drama.

Viewers may recall the dramatic episode when Ross and his comrades went plundering washed up treasure and goods from a shipwreck at night.  Church Cove along the Lizard Peninsula was used for the scene.  The cove was named after a 5th-century church hidden in the cliffs on the north side of the beach.

What is going to happen in series three?
Series three has a fantastic array of new characters and a story which scales new heights of conflict, feuding, passion and drama.  “Ross is older but not necessary wiser, and his recklessness sometimes costs him, and his loved ones, dear. The first two seasons adapted two books each but season three will be based on Winston Graham’s The Black Moon, and the first half of The Four Swans.  The new season will see Poldark “traverse new family, new loves and new battles, as the French revolution casts a shadow over life in Cornwall”.

7 Wonderful Cornish Gins to try on World Gin Day 10 June 2017

It's World Gin Day today (Saturday, June 10) so what better time to try the number of superb gins created locally in Cornwall?

In fact, Cornwall is so gin-soaked it is even responsible for the best gin in the world. Tarquin's Cornish Navy Seadog Gin was awarded Best Gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 – the Oscars of the spirits world.

If that wasn't enough there are even gins flavoured with the taste of Cornwall - clotted cream and samphire.

Here is our pick of the Cornish gin makers.

TARQUIN'S

Produced by the Southwestern Distillery at St Ervan near Wadebridge, Tarquin's was the first gin made in Cornwall for over a century.

A contemporary take on a classic London Dry, they use fragrant handpicked Devon violets and fresh orange zest to deliver an aromatic sensation unlike any other.

Cornish Navy Seadog Gin was awarded Best Gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 while the company has just produced a new gin, the limited edition Beachcomber gin, which captures the essence of the wild and rugged coastline surrounding the luxurious hide-away of Hell Bay Hotel, on Bryher in the Isles of Scilly. It is flavoured with locally foraged seashore botanicals, kombu (also known as kelp) and red dulse seaweed.

ELEMENTAL

Elemental is produced in small batches, handcrafted in a traditional copper still using locally sourced Cornish spring water and a closely guarded list of twelve of the finest botanicals sourced from around the world.

Elemental Cornish Gin is a family company based near St Columb, masterminded by Jon and Jilly with the help of their two eldest children Alice and Jeremy.

CURIO

The spirits company, based at Mullion, produces a four-times distilled Rock Samphire gin capturing the light, fresh sea spray and wild aromas of the Cornish coast.

Hand foraged on the local clifftops, the rock samphire gin is blended with fragrant botanicals and distilled in small batches, for exceptional quality and a delicately smooth gin. They recommend trying it neat with just ice and a garnish. Though, today of all days, you can add some tonic.

WRECKING COAST

The Wrecking Coast Gin, made in Tintagel, is distilled with a particularly Cornish ingredient. The addition of fresh clotted cream to the distillation adds a smooth and velvety texture, creating a rich mouth-feel. Initial sweet vanilla aroma is well balanced with perfumed stone fruit and coriander seed, with a lingering butterscotch character providing extra length.

On the palate, the additional botanicals become even more striking; camomile flower creates a floral and aromatic feel to the gin, which is well balanced with more subtle cinnamon and cassia bark. The alcohol is slightly higher than your average gin, but is expertly integrated with the velvety texture from the clotted cream. Even with tonic, the warming alcohol contributes delicate pear drop and green apple notes.

TREVETHAN

Trevethan Gin is a quality handmade gin created near Landulph using a traditional family recipe perfected in the 1920s by Norman Trevethan.

The recipe includes the usual suspects of juniper, coriander, cassia and angelica along with some less familiar botanicals like cardamom, orange peel, lemon peel and vanilla. Finally, it is finished off with the finest Cornish elderflower and gorse flower, handpicked from the hedgerows of Trewonnard Dairy Farm in Treneglos.

STAFFORD

Stafford's Gin and Aval Dor Vodka are products of five generations of farming history. The family moved to Colwith Farm near Fowey from Lanlivery way back in 1904 and have farmed the soils ever since.

The gin is infused with delicate selection of botanicals foraged on the farm including lemon balm, rosemary and bay in addition to juniper, coriander, lime zest, almond and macadamia sourced from much further afield. Stafford's Gin is an exquisitely distinctive, citrusy gin which makes a sublime G&T.

CASPYN CORNISH DRY GIN

Inspired by the Cornish sea and countryside, the Caspyn range of gins are floral and crisp; its summer cup embraces the summer sunshine and its whiskey (when it comes) will keep you toasty on those cold winter nights.

The Cornish dry gin and Midsummer gin are created by Pocketful of Stones on Long Rock Industrial Estate in Penzance. Every bottle sold sees a donation to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Royal Cornwall Show 2017

There’s something for every member of the family at the Royal Cornwall Show that takes place over the 8th, 9th and 10th of June 2017.

It’s the county’s biggest annual event and is brim-full of exhibits and activities which offer so much in the way of entertainment, competition, information, shopping and all that’s best in food and farming.

It's a time and place to meet old friends, conduct business, enjoy Cornwall in all its glory and to welcome thousands of visitors from outside our county.

This is the show's 223rd year and the aim is to showcase what's the best for agriculture, tourism, the economy, the environment as well as what's good for the soul!

This is a top agricultural show which attracts increasing numbers of animals, entered into the hundreds of classes which are refined each year. And year on year people travel from further and further afield in the hope of coming away with an award.

Dog and goat sections; rare breed classes. A top flower show and thriving countryside area. Rabbits, cage birds, cavies - even bees get noticed here!

The show prides itself on the support given to the myriad excellent Cornish-grown and Cornish-produced food that it promotes in both in the trade section and in the show's own cafes and restaurants.

Main ring entertainment is mounted on a grand scale and the traditional steam fair is a colourful extravaganza; there are stages and avenues alive with music, song and dance.

You can come to the Royal Cornwall Show with a single-minded ambition to buy a tractor or a car. Here is where you will see them all on display.

Interested in crafts? Planning a wedding? Want to shop in Wadebridge town centre? Is woodland your thing?

Whatever your interest, you're bound to find it there.

National Trust Events and Ranger Days Summer 2017

Saturday 10 June

Bracken bash at Lundy Bay, near Polzeath. 10am – 3pm
Join the rangers for a few hours controlling the spread of bracken overlooking the beach at Lundy Bay. Please wear long sleeved tops and long trousers. Booking essential: please call 01208 863821 or email tom.sparkes@nationaltrust.org.uk  

Saturday 1 July

Sun and Stars with Kernow Astronomers at Carnewas (Bedruthan)
From 8.30pm. Arrive before sunset for a chance to look at the sun safely through telescopes before it sets, then take a closer look at the moon, stars and planets as they come into view. Bring warm clothing and a torch. Free. No need to book. Meet at the National Trust car park at Carnewas (Bedruthan) PL27 7UW

Saturday 8 July

Ragwort pulling at Trevose Head, near Padstow. 10am – 3pm
Join the rangers for a few hours taking on the age old plant, common ragwort. This plant is really good for wildlife, but we need volunteers to control its spread. Booking essential: please call 01208 863821 or email tom.sparkes@nationaltrust.org.uk  

Sunday 23 July

The archaeology of Rough Tor guided walk. 10am - 1pm
Join National Trust rangers and archaeologist Pete Herring of Historic England on a walk across the iconic Rough Tor. A fascinating interpretation of one of Cornwall’s most important archaeological sites. Bring refreshments if you are staying on the moor for lunch. Free, but donations welcome. Booking essential as numbers are limited 01208 863046

Wednesday 2 August 

8.30pm until after dark & Wednesday 16 August 8pm until after dark Bat Nights at Pentire Head, near Polzeath.
Join National Trust rangers for an evening all about bats. Starting with a talk about British bats, we will then see and hear greater horseshoe bats emerge after sunset from old mine workings. Talk starts promptly at start time. Bring a chair or rug to sit on, warm clothes, and a torch is useful. Bat capes optional! £3 per person. Booking is essential as the date may change due to unfavourable weather. 01208 863046

Thursday 3 & Thursday 24 August

Coastal Challenge Series 2017 7pm – 9.30pm
Grab your running shoes and join us on the coast path this summer. We’re putting on two guided trail runs in August, around the impressive Pentire Head near Polzeath. With a 5km or a 10km route to choose from, all abilities are catered for. Join us for a summer evening of running followed by a BBQ on the beach. £5pp and bring some food to cook on the BBQ on Baby Bay beach. Phone 01208 863046 or email northcornwall@nationaltrust.org.uk for more details and to book your place.

National Trust events and ranger days in North Cornwall

Here's a list of National Trust sponsored events around the north Cornwall coast over the next six weeks.

Sunday 16 April

Easter fun with Cadbury Egg Hunts at Crantock beach 10am – 4pm.  Follow clues around the sand dunes to point you in the right direction, finding out fun and fascinating wildlife facts along the way. At the end of the hunt you’ll receive your Cadbury chocolate prize. Find the rangers anytime between 10am and 4pm (or earlier if all the Cadbury chocolate prizes have been claimed!) at Crantock beach car park. £2 per hunt. Free parking for National Trust members, parking charge for non-members. For more information call 01208 863046.


Saturday 6 May

Sun and Stars with Kernow Astronomers at Carnewas (Bedruthan) From 7.45pm. Arrive before sunset for a chance to look at the sun safely through telescopes before it sets, then take a closer look at the moon, stars and planets as they come into view. Bring warm clothing and a torch. Free. No need to book. Meet at the National Trust car park at Carnewas (Bedruthan) PL27 7UW.

Saturday 13 May 

Path repair day 10am - 3pm Barras Nose, near Tintagel.  Get stuck in with a spade or mattock, repairing steps, drains and improving the surface of the footpath. No experience necessary, all tools and equipment provided. Please wear sturdy footwear and clothing suitable for the weather. Bring your own lunch. Booking essential, please phone 01208 863821 or email tom.sparkes@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Tuesday 30 May

Geology Rocks! Trebarwith Strand 1.30pm – 3.30pm.  Local geology expert Jane Anderson will guide us through the geological history of the area. Wear suitable walking gear and bring some refreshments. £3 per person. Booking essential as numbers are limited and in case of change of date due to inclement weather 01208 863046.

Wednesday 31 May

Be a Half Term Ranger:  Beach cleaning 10am – 12pm or 1pm – 3pm Holywell and Polly Joke.  Do your bit for the marine environment and join us for a couple of hours litter picking on the beach at Holywell or the more secluded Polly Joke. Gloves and equipment provided. Please wear clothing suitable for the weather. No need to book. For more details phone 01208 863821 or email tom.sparkes@nationaltrust.org.uk Meet at Holywell car park 10am (No charge for helpers). Meet at Polly Joke car park 1pm (No charge for helpers).


For more information, check out the National Trust blog at http://northcornwallnt.org.

The first day of Spring

Although meteorologists argue that that 1st of March is the beginning of spring, it is generally accepted that today (20th March) marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is marked by the spring equinox.

The spring equinox is significant because after a long and dark winter, the hours of day and night are equal for the first time this year – about 12 hours each.

The vernal equinox is the astrological name for the spring equinox. It marks the moment the sun crosses the equator from south to north. It occurred at 10.29 GMT.

As with each change in the season, there are rituals and traditions which accompany it.  Ostara is the name given by Pagans and Wiccans to the spring equinox and is one of the eight ‘sabbats’ – periods they believe make up the year.

Some observers believe the event is a revival of ancient celebrations of spring, which merged into Easter after the spread of Christianity in the British Isles.
Modern observers often see in Ostara at Stonehenge, in a similar fashion to the summer and winter solstices.

The equinox differs from the solstices, which occur twice yearly to mark the sun’s most northern or southern position relative to the equator.
This year, the summer solstice falls on Wednesday, 21 June, while the winter solstice is on Thursday, 21 December.

When is daylight savings? - In the UK the clocks will ‘spring forward’ on Sunday, 26 March at 1am.

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Updated on January 27th, 2013

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