West Cornwall is renoun for its mild weather and this makes for some incredible gardens! We can grow many plants outdoors down here which aren't possible elsewhere in the UK due to cold frosts and snow. Spring comes earlier too, bringing swathes of camelias and magnolias, as well as very early snowdrops and daffodils.
I've put together 11 gardens that we love to visit, all within a short drive of St Ives.
1. Trengwainton Garden - TR20 8RZ
Cost: free to enter with National Trust membership - otherwise you have to pay to visit.
Parking, loos, shop, cafe, bookshop.
Throughout the year they hold seasonal events, such as Easter activities.
Trengwainton Garden is located about a mile or so out of Penzance. It is owned by the National Trust, and is open February to October but is closed every Friday and Saturday. It is a really sheltered garden, with pathways that wind through. There are exotic plants galore, and in the Spring the camelias and magnolias are stunning, followed by gorgeous hydrangeas. We love walking though the gardens, past the little stream and pond, up to the terrace which has magnificent views down to the sea.
There is a very grand house there, but this is closed to the public. There is a walled kitchen garden too along with beehives and an orchard.
2. Tanglewood Garden - TR20 8FP
Cost: Adults £6, Children £3. Under 5's go free. Please check the website for other ticket options.
Parking, compost loo. There is now a cafe open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Open daily except Wednesdays between 1st April and 30th September 2023.
Tanglewood Wild Garden is a 9 acre garden a few miles out of Penzance. It is a more wild and natural garden which encourages lots of butterflies, bees and dragon flies over the four ponds.
On a warm sunny day there is no place I'd rather be than sitting on the grass by one of the ponds, eating a picnic and watching the dragon flies buzz around.
Please bear in mind that access into the garden is rather steep, through a wooded area. Last time I visited it wasn't buggy friendly, or great for anyone unsteady on their feet.
3. Tremenheere Sculpture Garden - TR20 8YL
Cost: Adults £11, children £5, under 5's go free. Please check the website for other ticket options. You don't need to pay the entry fee if you are just visiting the cafe and gallery.
Parking, loos, cafe, gallery, plant nursery, shop.
Open all year between 10:30am and 4:30pm
Tremenheere is a stunning garden, near Penzance, with views over to St Michael's Mount. It is quite a structural garden with some incredibly lovely exotic and subtropical plants, alongside some very dramatic sculptures.
4. Trewidden Garden - TR20 8TT
Cost: Adults: £8.00, children under 16 go free. Other ticket options are available. You don't have to pay entry to visit the tearoom.
Parking, loos, tea room, gift shops and plants for sale.
Open daily 11th Feb to 24th September 2023 10:30am to 5:30pm
Trewidden is another incredible garden just near Penzance. It is a 15 acre Cornish garden with stunning magnolias and camellias. It really is the best Spring garden I've been to!
5. Penlee Park - TR18 4HY
Cost: free to visit
Parking in the local council car park by the tennis courts. Cafe, house and gallery (pay to enter), open air theatre in the Summer, play park and tennis courts.
Open all year
I love Penlee Park. It is a huge and beautiful park right in the heart of Penzance. There is a range of open spaces and wooded areas with magnificent trees. There is a sensory garden and a memorial garden which provides a lovely tranquil areas to sit in. There is an excellent children's play area which my children love.
Penlee Open Air Theatre is in the middle of the park, which is an amazing place to watch a show. They put a wide range of shows over the Summer, from things like Twelfth Night, to Peter Rabbit and Roald Dahl.
The Penlee House Gallery & Museum sits at the front of the park and is an interesting place to visit. There are lots of the Newlyn school art works to see. There is also a lovely cafe there.
6. St Michael's Mount - TR17 0EG
Cost - free with National Trust membership. Please check the website for details of non member prices. You do need to "book" even if you are a member.
Parking - there is no free parking for National Trust members (bit of a gripe) but there is a large car park right on the sea front at Marazion called Folly Field.
Access is either a low tide by foot over the causeway, or by boat.
Loos, cafe, shop, castle, harbour.
Please check the website for opening times. The garden is often closed during the Winter and the mount is always closed to visitors on Saturdays.
Dogs are welcome to visit the harbour and village during the Winter, but are not allowed between 1st April and 30th September. Assistance dogs are welcome.
I've only been a handful of times, but St Michael's Mount has an amazing garden to visit. It sort of rambles up the cliffside up towards the towering castle in terraces. It has lots of aloes and agave, interplanted with herbs such as lavender and rosemary. It is a steep climb in places.
7. Godolphin House - TR13 9RE
Cost: free with National Trust membership
Parking, loos, tea room, bookshop.
Open 10am to 5pm. The house looks to be closed to the public at the moment.
Godolphin House is of Cornwall’s most important medieval gardens. The walled gardens are wonderful to wander through, and there is also the wider expanse of the estate to explore. There is a river walk, fields to run through and a barefoot walk to stimulate your senses. You can also climb to the top of Godolphin Hill to get the most spectacular views to St Ives Bay and St Michael's Mount.
8. Morrab Gardens - TR18 4HD
Cost: free to visit
All facilities are found in Penzance - parking, loos etc.
Open all year round
Morrab Gardens are a delight to visit. The garden is right in the heart of Penzance and has an extensive collection of sub tropical plants. It is like a little oasis in the heart of the town. We really love the bandstand too!
Do check out Morrab Library too, which is an amazing, independent library.
9. Trebah Garden - TR11 5JZ
Cost: Adults £13, children over 5 £6.50, under 5s go free. Other ticket options are available.
Parking, cafe, shop, loos, beach, outdoor theatre
Open Saturdays to Wednesdays - closed on Thursdays and Fridays.
Trebah Garden is a little further afield towards Falmouth, but it is well worth a visit. It is a 26 acres subtropical garden which flows down the valley and to the Helford estuary. There are 4 miles of pathways to explore, through the exotic planting, and because of its location, it always feels much warmer here than even in St Ives!
10. Glendurgan Garden - TR11 5JZ
Cost: free with National Trust membership
Parking, loos, shop, cafe
Assistance dogs only
Open 10am to 5pm daily except Mondays. Not sure on Winter hours so please check the website for details.
Glendurgan is another amazing National Trust garden, packed full of exotic and sub tropical plants. We love Glendurgan though for its maze and little cove where we skim stones into the river and eat ice creams!
11. Enys Garden - TR10 9LB
Cost: Adults £8, children age 6-17 £2 and under 6s go free. Other ticket options and events are on the website.
Parking, loos, cafe, manor house
Open 1st April to 30th September on Sunday and Monday 10am to 5pm plus some additional opening during the school holidays - check the website for details.
Enys Garden is all the way over in Penryn near Falmouth but it is where we love to come to see the bluebells! The garden is 30 acres of beautiful planting, trees and meadows. The planting here (although it may not be) feels very English, very pretty and very natural. They often put on lovely trails for the children to follow.