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A visit at Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall takes you back to Victorian England. Forgotten and overlooked for a long time, the mysterious gardens are some of the most beautiful in the country. The romantic estate used to be the Tremayne family's residence, and comprises about 200 ha.
The Pleasure Grounds, originally meant for pleasure as well as to demonstrate wealth and status, are the main attraction. You will find an intricate collection of gardens with a unique atmosphere. Walk along centuries-old paths and let the romance cast its spell on you. Besides the historically accurate Victorian gardens, the complex also holds a more liberally designed jungle garden. With its exotic plants and one of Britain's longest Burmese Rope Bridges, it makes you feel as though you're discovering a tropical forest.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan also include woodland, an animal farm, and productive gardens filled with heritage produce. This area is used to supply the on-site restaurant with fresh, regional and seasonal produce. Besides the lunch menu, the restaurant also has typical Cornish cream tea on offer.
For more than 400 years, Heligan was the Tremayne family's residence. Towards the end of the 19th century, the garden's splendour was peaking. However, when World War I began, so did the gardens' decay.
In 1970, Heligan House was sold and divided into flats. It wasn't until 1990, however, that a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry was discovered by chance. Hence, the door was opened to rediscover the gardens. They have since been restored to resemble the original as much as possible.
In 2008, the Lost Gardens of Heligan were granted National Collection Holder status for its historic and unique flora. In 2013, the Imperial War Museum recognised Heligan's Thunderbox room as a 'Living Memorial'.
How to get there
Coming from Newquay or Truro you take A3058 or A390 to St Austell. Coming from M5, go South until you join A30 westbound at Exeter. At the Bodmin roundabout, take A391 to St Austell.
From St Austell, follow the brown tourist signs on B3273 towards Mevagissey to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Parking is available.
The Lost Gardens are located right by National Cycle Network Route 3. Hence, it is easy and safe to go there by bike from Mevagissey, Pentewan, and St Austell. Bicycle parking is available at the car park.
The gardens are situated approximately 1.5 miles from South West Coast Path. If you are hiking there, a detour through Pentewan or Mevagissey takes you to Heligan.
Newquay Airport is located about 20 miles from the Lost Gardens. There are flights from a number of British airports as well as from Dusseldorf. The closest railway station is in St Austell. From there, busses take you right up to the garden's car park.