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Spring gardens of Cornwall with Carol

4 Nightsfrom £1295.00 pp

Tour Overview

Cornwall’s gardens are renowned the world over and our tour includes visits to some of the best in the area. Since it opened in early 2001 the Eden Project has been an unqualified success and has established itself as one of the foremost visitor attractions in the country. The Eden Project combines space age technology and a giant 50 metre deep crater to make a living theatre of plants and people. Eden Project explains the role plants have played and, most importantly, will play in the future from earliest agriculture to new technologies inspired by nature. Eden is paired with a visit to the award-winning Lost Gardens of Heligan, the scene of the largest restoration project in Europe.

We also visit a selection of privately-owned gardens which highlight the richness and diversity of gardening in this independently-minded county. These include the privately owned estate of Trewithen, acknowledged as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence; Lamorran House, which has been designed by the owner in an Italianate style, and Trebartha, the scene of an interesting new gardening project.

We will be joined by Carol Klein of BBC TV’s Gardeners' World at Bosvigo, which Carol has identified this as her favourite Cornish garden. Carol will also give us an illuminating talk on Cornish gardens at a drinks reception prior to dinner.

We will also be joined by David Hurrion, Associate Editor of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine.

Tour Highlights
  • Tour of Bosvigo and talk from Carol Klein
  • The visionary and futuristic gardens of the Eden Project
  • Restored garden paradise of Heligan
  • Wild and colourful gardens at Trebah
  • Fascinating work-in-progress at Trebartha
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Tour Itinerary Back to top of page

Monday 24 April 2017
We depart from London at 8.00am approximately (coach will also pick up in Reading, Swindon and Bristol at 9.15am, 10.15am and 12noon respectively) by coach and travel to our first visit, Cotehele House and Gardens at Saltash, near Plymouth. A Tudor house with many stories and legends, festooned with tapestries and adorned with textiles, arms and armour, pewter, brass and old oak furniture; a magical experience where little has changed over the years. Outside, explore the formally planted terraces, or lose yourself in the Valley Garden, which includes a medieval stewpond and dovecote. Seek tranquillity in the Upper Garden or visit the two orchards planted with local apples and cherries. Cotehele Quay is the home of the restored Tamar sailing barge Shamrock and gateway to a wider estate. Lunch is available here (not included).

We are met by David Hurrion at the garden and continue to our comfortable accommodation for a welcome drink before dinner.

Tuesday 25 April 2017
Following our full English breakfast we will travel to the first of two gardens to be visited today, Bosvigo, where we will be joined by Carol Klein of BBC TV’s Gardeners' World, who has identified this as her favourite Cornish garden (arrival time 10.00am approx). To one side of the handsome 18th century house is a woodland garden whose borders explode with dahlias, roses and nasturtiums. Around the house are several beautifully planted enclosures showing exciting and fastidious colour harmonies. There is also an excellent nursery here selling some rare plants. Carol will highlight some of the special features as we tour the property with her. Tea and biscuits will be served.

After an opportunity for lunch (not included) in the cathedral city of Truro, in the afternoon we visit the garden of Trewithen, a garden whose reputation amongst connoisseurs of gardens has always been of the highest, though it is only recently that its great beauty and horticultural importance has become known to a wider public (arrival time 2.30pm approx). Despite the loss of many mature trees in the great storm of 1979, it remains very much a woodland garden designed on a grand scale, with evidence of the great age of plant collecting to be found everywhere. Many of the flowering trees and shrubs were grown from seed sent from China, Burma and Assam and are now bigger than their parent plants, having flourished in the mild damp Cornish climate. From the South Lawn, smooth gently curving paths lead into numerous bays and glades, full of spectacular blooms and new vistas.

We return to our hotel at around 4.30pm and at 5.30pm we will have a drinks reception during which Carol Klein will give us a talk on gardens here in Cornwall. Dinner is served following this.

Wednesday 26 April 2017
After breakfast we travel to St Austell for a visit to the Eden Project, which has become one of Cornwall’s star attractions (arrival time 10.00am approx). The Eden Project is a 50 metre deep, 34 acre china clay pit which has been reclaimed and transformed to house 2 controlled environment plant conservatories, the larger of which recreates the climate of the Tropics and displays some of its plants such as cotton, rice, rubber, orchids, bamboo and rainforest flowers.  At its highest point it reaches 50 metres, taller than Nelson’s Column. The second conservatory recreates a warm temperature climate and houses plants from Southern Africa, the Mediterranean and south western America, with orange trees, olives, grape vines and hundreds of colourful flowers.

Our next visit will be to the Lost Gardens of Heligan (arrival time 12.00pm approx). The award winning gardens, asleep for more than seventy years, are the scene of the largest garden restoration project in Europe.  In the spring of 1991, the Gardens of Heligan lay under a blanket of bramble, ivy, rampant laurel and fallen timber.  A year later the restoration team opened the gardens to enable the public to share in the excitement of their discovery. Lunch (not included) is available here on arrival.

Once again dinner will be served at the hotel.

Thursday 27 April 2017
Today, following breakfast, we will visit a trio of contrasting gardens. Trebah is a wild and colourful Cornish garden with something for everyone (arrival time 10.00am approx). The garden was laid out originally in the 1840s and flourished to become one of England's great gardens by the 1930s.  After the death of the then owner, the garden was sadly neglected for many years until it was taken over by the Hibbert family, who still run it today. Wander down the "Zig-Zag", a slope where a rare collection of exotic Mediterranean plants was recently planted. You will also see Rhododendron Valley, a huge amphitheatre of sixty foot high rhododendrons, many of which were imported as seed in the 1890s. It was here that rare Chinese palm trees, giant ferns and a host of other exotic plants were discovered a few years ago when some of the rhododendrons were cut back.

We then transfer to Falmouth, where there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included) and some free time to enjoy this lively harbour town.

In the afternoon (at around 3.00pm) we move on to the 4½-acre garden of Lamorran House, overlooking Falmouth Bay, which has been designed by the owner in an Italianate style, although there are also Japanese influences here. The intention was to create an intimate garden very much in the mould of Mediterranean gardens but with water ever-present, both as a backdrop to the garden and with running water featured in the many pools and streams. Many features are included to divide the garden into intimate compartments which the visitor can explore. Hence there are areas of woodland, a water garden in Japanese style as well as temples and archways in the steeper parts of the garden and a small bridge on which to lean to look out over the bay exhibiting a distinctively Venetian influence.

Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.

Friday 28 April 2017
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for a visit to Marsh Villa, situated in a former tidal creek made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s book The House on the Strand (arrival time 10.00am approx). This 3-acre garden is result of years of hard work by the enthusiastic owner – not to mention several lorry loads of manure. The main feature of the garden is the magnificent pond. The water table rises in winter and so marginal planting consists of reed mace, filipendula, lythrum and the ubiquitous flag iris. A passion for perennials brought about the construction of a secluded, rather formal garden set within escallonia hedges. Here there is colour from the tulip season right through to the heleniums and eupatoriums.

Following our visit we will transfer to Launceston, where lunch is available at the Springer Spaniel Restaurant & Bar (not included).

We then transfer to the nearby private gardens at Trebartha, on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, which feature water, trees and views (arrival time 2.30pm approx).  Trebartha is an estate that had a lot of Rhododendron ponticum cleared following infestation with Phytopthora ramorum (so-called sudden oak death), and has presented an opportunity for a new landscape gardening project. We will do a circular walk that takes in the pool, cascades, wooded terraces, fish ponds, and the walled garden.

Following this, our final visit, we depart at around 4.00pm and return to our original departure point where arrival is expected in the evening - your driver will be able to confirm a more precise return time en route.

What's Included Back to top of page

  • 4 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the 4-star Carlyon Bay Hotel, St Austell. All rooms have private facilities
  • Comfortable coaching 
  • Visits to the gardens of Cotehele, Bosvigo, Trewithen, Marsh Villa, Boconnoc, the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah, Lamorran and Trebartha
  • Tour of Bosvigo and drinks reception and talk with Carol Klein
  • Dinner after talk from Carol
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays representative
  • Tour including flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Bristol available from £1395 per person.

Supplements Per Person Back to top of page

  • Single room supplement            £140.00
  • Insurance                                   £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65-74); £63.00 (75-90)
  • Rail/air connections and/or overnight accommodation are available in London or Bristol before or after the tour.

Departure Points Back to top of page

                                                                            Depart     Return
London (Tothill St, Westminster)                       0800        2130
Reading (Sainsbury’s, Jcn 12, M4)                     0915        2015
Swindon (Holiday Inn, Marlborough Rd)           1030        1900
Bristol    (Temple Meads Railway Station)         1200        1730

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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Click here to make an online reservation

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