Things to Do in Cornwall

Visit Cornish Gardens

If you're visiting Cornwall, you should make the time to visit at least one Cornish garden, even if gardens are 'not your thing'! Here's a small selection of the delights on offer:

The Eden Project

Eden Project Cornwall

Technically somewhat more than a 'garden'. This is a solid day's entertainment for all the family, especially if you happen to go when a special event is being hosted. You will find the Eden Project at Bodelva, Par, not far from St Austell.

The main attraction is surely the linked biomes - huge 'honeycomb' structures - housing the largest indoor rainforest in the world and all of this contained in a beautifully landscaped ex-quarry. The tropical rainforest biome is stunning. You are led gently around the biome by way of the winding paths, climbing up and over the top of a cascading waterfall and stream. There is a wealth of exotic plant-life to see as you make your way around the biome. As you might expect, it is quite warm and humid in this area. The neighbouring biome is warm but dry and showcases an unusual collection of mediterranean plants with modern sculpture dotted amongst. Outdoors, you will find a stunning array of plants and sculpture covering the entirety of the ex-quarry bowl.

Eden Sessions Cornwall

There are frequent musical events held on the huge outdoor stage under the banner 'Eden Sessions' and these events offer excellent entertainment and value for money as the ticket price includes entry to the whole Project both on the day of the concert and the day after.

There are good cafes on site with plenty of seating both indoors and out and a good selection of food and drink. There are plenty of activities for children. On-site parking is also plentiful and well-arranged with a coach transfer facility to get you to the entrance to the Project if you happen to be parked in one of the more distant car parks.

Glendurgan Garden

Glendurgan Garden Cornwall

A National Trust garden located at Mawnan Smith near Falmouth. Stunning scenery, the garden being set in a beautiful valley which glides gently down to the pretty hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River.

Get completely lost in the winding and confusing maze with the bonus of a secret hideout if you are lucky or clever enough to find the 'finish' whilst chuckling at the less fortunates' attempts to get there! See the giant 'rhubarb' plants and the breathtaking tree ferns and palms.

There is also the Tea House and a well-stocked shop on site.

Trebah Garden

Another spectacular garden in a valley setting and almost 'next-door' to Glendurgan at Mawnan Smith, Falmouth. More beautiful examples of sub-tropical planting and a very enjoyable stroll. Rhododendrons, magnolias, camelias and giant gunnera feature with Hydrangeas being a key feature in the Autumn months. Your reward for reaching the bottom of the valley is Polgwiddon Cove where you can relax on the beach for an hour or two.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Heligan Cornwall

A full day's entertainment and an enjoyable walk through a range of different settings from woodland to sub-tropical. Venture along the stunning raised boardwalk through the sub-tropical garden area, passing a succession of natural ponds as you make your way down the valley. Ponder over which direction to go next and take in the glorious views over and through the exotic plantlife including bananas, bamboos and tree ferns.

Stroll around the 'wild' areas, see the herd of Dexter cattle and visit the Hide where you can see Heligan's wildlife together with recorded footage and interactive displays.

There is also the walled flower garden, the vegetable garden, the melon yard and the Pleasure Grounds. A good restaurant / cafe on site with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating plus a well-stocked shop.

Other Gardens

There are of course many other stunning gardens in Cornwall including:

  • Trengwainton Garden (NT), Madron near Penzance
  • Trelissick Garden (NT), Feock, nr Truro
  • Trereife House and Garden, Penzance
  • Trewidden, Buryas Bridge, Penzance
  • Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Gulval, Penzance (opened September 2012)

See Cornish Heritage

Cornish Engine Houses and Tin Mines

Levant Beam Engine Cornwall

Forming part of Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage Site, Levant is the only Cornish beam engine still in steam and in its original setting; it can be found at Levant Mine near Pendeen. The tiny engine house is perched on the cliff edge and has stunning ocean views. When you step inside the little engine house you are immediately transported back in time as you watch the beam engine in action. There is also an opportunity to actually go underground and see part of the mine first hand on one of the guided tours. The South West Coast Path runs through the site giving access to beautiful walks along the Coast.

Many Cornish engine house ruins will be found as you travel around this area, some offering the chance to park nearby and explore.

Chysauster Ancient Village

An iron-age settlement located at New Mill near Penzance. See the iron-age stone-walled dwellings known as 'courtyard houses' which would once have had rooms with thatched roofs. An underground passage or fogou still exists. Beautiful scenery surrounds the site. Managed by English Heritage, paid entry to non-members.

St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount Cornwall

St Michael's Mount (NT) can be accessed at low tide by way of a granite causeway stretching from Marazion beach and into the Mount's harbour. At other times visitors to the Mount are ferried from Marazion in small boats.

The Mount is under the care of the National Trust. Visitors are able to visit the castle on top of the Mount and the gardens below are sometimes open to the public. A cafe and restaurant can be found on the Mount.

Quoits and Standing Stones

Lanyon Quoit can be found in a field just off the road between Morvah and Madron. It's Neolithic in origin and comprises a huge flat stone supported by 3 pillars. This is not its original configuration as sadly it was severely damaged during a storm in the early 1800's and was re-erected in a different orientation and now has one pillar missing and the remaining pillars are shorter than the originals. It's thought that the Quoit may possibly have formed part of Neolithic burial rituals.

Men-An-Tol is a stone monument, possibly bronze-age in origin. The monument is a pleasant walk from the Morvah to Madron Road along a trackway. The monument's main component is a stone with a hole right through and which stands upright supported by other stones.

The Merry Maidens, a Neolithic stone circle found in a field not far from St Buryan on the Newlyn to Treen Road. Limited parking is available in a nearby layby.