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 garden: Hestercombe, one of Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens’ greatest masterpieces. The garden is home to a round pool in a round walled garden filled with wintersweet and roses, a Dutch garden of lamb's ears, lavender and the most beautiful orangery of the 20th century. Everywhere there are details of design and planting from which any gardener can learn.
We continue to our comfortable accommodation where dinner will be served on arrival.
This morning we will visit Falmouth Art Gallery, which houses one of the leading art collections in Cornwall, and features work by major Victorian British Impressionists, leading maritime artists, old masters and topographical watercolourists and printmakers. There is also a gallery shop, which sells a variety of ceramics, jewellery, hand-made cards, catalogues and books and paintings as well as fine crafts, original prints and paintings, many of which are made by local artists and are of the highest standard in craftsmanship.
Following our visit we head for a visit to the gardens at Trengwainton. Intimate and closely linked to the picturesque stream running through its valley, the garden leads up to a terrace and summer houses with splendid views across Mount’s Bay to The Lizard. The walled gardens contain many rare and unusual species, which are difficult to grow in the open anywhere else in the country.
We will continue to the Penlee House Gallery. Built in 1865, the former home of wealthy Penzance miller and merchant, J.R. Branwell, Penlee House and its surrounding park were purchased by public subscription in 1946 as a War memorial for the town. Since 1949 it has been home to the town and district’s historic collections. Completely refurbished and extended in 1997, Penlee House offers visitors a unique experience - a modern gallery and museum with the gracious setting of a Victorian House and park in Penzance. We return to the hotel for dinner.
After breakfast we travel to St Austell for a visit to the Eden Project, which has become one of Cornwall’s star attractions. 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. 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. Once again dinner will be served at the hotel.
Following our full English breakfast we visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives. Dame Barbara Hepworth lived and worked in Trewyn Studio from 1949 until her death in 1975. The small house, her working studios and the lush and secluded garden she created are open to the public as a museum devoted to her life and work.
We continue to the Tate Gallery, which is reopening in March 2017 after a complete refurbishment. The gallery shows a collection of work by twentieth-century painters and sculptors associated with St Ives. The collection includes work from 1925 to the present day based around major figures of mid twentieth-century art in Britain such as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. We return to our hotel in time for dinner.
After your full English breakfast we head for home. En route there is still time to visit Lanhydrock Gardens. Now the property of the National Trust, Lanhydrock was the home of the Robartes family from 1620 until 1953. The magnificent seventeenth century house is surrounded by nineteeth century formal terraced gardens which formed part of a scheme of improvements overseen by George Gilbert Scott in 1857. Beyond the terraced gardens are areas of informal pleasure grounds which were developed from the mid nineteenth century with many choice trees and shrubs. The parkland with the famous beech avenue was first enclosed in the mid seventeenth century, and remains one of the finest examples in Cornwall. Lanhydrock Gardens feature a formal courtyard garden, beds of modern roses and a woodland garden, rich in flowering shrubs and trees, especially rhododendrons and magnolias. Lanhydrock is also home to the National Collection of crocosmias.
Arrival back at your original departure point is expected in the evening - your driver will be able to confirm a more precise return time en route.