National Trust properties in Cornwall are quite unlike any other across the UK. Surrounded by rolling green hills, wild expanses and trees so dense and verdant, these properties are well worth a visit. Cornwall, and the National Trust properties she homes, are steeped in history, which is why we can recommend a plethora of grounds and gardens to explore with the family all year round.
Lanhydrock in Bodmin is the quintessential country house and estate. After a devastating fire in 1881, this Jacobean house was refurbished to the highest of Victorian standards, which is evident when you pass through the grounds. This estate will have you in awe at the pristine foliage, not to mention the gate house, and of course the castle itself. The gardens are in full-bloom all year round, so visitors in the colder months will not be disappointed. You can even hire a bike to take in the estate and make the most of your time here.
This Tudor house sits high above the River Tamar and overlooks the rolling green hills of its surroundings. Decorated with rich tapestries, arms, armour, and ancient oak furniture, this house has been in the Edgcumbe family for centuries and they take great care in maintaining her beauty. Once you have toured the house, you can lose yourself in the Valley Garden. Adorned with orchards, a river, and flora that covers the ground all year round, the estate is a great place to meander to your heart’s content.
Located a little further south, Trelissick is set on its own peninsula, with panoramic views over the Fal estuary. Explore the meandering paths through the gardens, marvel at the exotic plants and herbaceous borders that burst with colour, and dive into history up at the house to discover the families that once called this place home. You can also stop here for lunch and enjoy a snack from the Kitchen Cafe.
Pentire Headland overlooks the popular north Cornwall holiday destination of Polzeath. Having been inhabited by humans since 4000BC, Pentire surprisingly remains undeveloped, and is a fantastic coastal escape for visitors to this part of Cornwall. The remnants of Iron Age ramparts can be seen here, and the scars of lead and silver mining are etched onto the ground, never to be forgotten.
Godolphin, located near the market town of Helston, is a quaint country estate that is rich in wildlife and archeology. Wandering around the 16th Century gardens will give you an insight into the lands that came before, with an emphasis on dairy farming. Don’t forget to march up Godolphin Hill and enjoy a panoramic view of all that Cornwall has to offer. From St Michael’s Mount, to Goonhilly Earth Station, on a clear visibility day, you can see for miles across these rolling green hills.
1920s plant collectors made a home here at Trengwainton. Here you will find plants that flowered in Britain for the first time – what a thought! With award-winning magnolias and rhododendrons to feast your eyes on, these plants are maintained with a passion for flora unlike anywhere else. Follow the winding wooden paths through five sections of walled gardens crammed with exotic species from around the world, for a half-mile incline to the sea views at the top, looking out across Mount’s Bay beyond. What’s more, dogs are welcome here, provided they are kept on the lead.
This Cornish gem dates back to Elizabethan times. This historic homestay remains relatively unchanged by time, thanks to long spells under the management of otherwise occupied owners. We are grateful for this, as it gives us an insight into how our ancestors of these lands used to live, within the wilds of this estate. As it should be.
Lose yourself in three whole valleys full to the brim of amazing plants. Sun-loving specimens enjoy the upper banks, with jungle-like exotic flowers; large verdant leaves make a home in the valley bottom, and in spring we get to enjoy the abundance of wildflowers that bloom here. Wandering through these gardens will have you coming face to face with a boat-seat, a gigantic tulip-tree, and ponds teeming with wildlife, not to mention the maze that has been foxing people for nearly 200 years! Will you dare to give it a go?
From gardens to great feats of engineering, East Pool Mine is at the very heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. The great beam engine in Taylor’s engine house, originally powered by high-pressure steam boilers, is preserved in its towering engine house. A reminder of Cornwall’s heritage, and the days of being a world-famous centre of industry, this pumping engine is one of the largest surviving Cornish beam engines in the world.
Sitting high on the cliffs of the ‘Tin Coast’, Levant Mine is part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage site. The remains of this once-busy working mine can be seen across the landscape here, as you traverse the South West Coast Path and follow in the footsteps of miners of old. Pre-book a guided tour here and learn all about Levant’s rich history.
The history of the family and this estate is one you don’t want to miss out on. Antony is a mixture of formal and informal, and is believed to be one of the finest surviving Queen Anne buildings in the West Country. Its outstanding collection of portraits, paintings, furniture and tapestries can be seen in the blockbuster film Alice in Wonderland, captured by Tim Burton as he scouted this marvellous estate as the filming location at the beginning of the film. Indeed, the sweeping views across the landscape garden, with the house standing tall behind you, could very well have you thinking you are in wonderland itself.
The beauty of exploring National Trust properties, and becoming a National Trust member, means you get free beach and garden parking all year round! For example, Lansallos, Lantic Bay, Chapel Porth, Crantock, Grebe and Durgan, Godrevy and Poldhu are just a few examples of where you can park up and enjoy the surroundings, hassle free this summer. National Trust properties in Cornwall are also a great way to spend the day, be it with family and friends or as a solo adventure. They represent a chance to immerse yourself in history, of which the Duchy has in spades.