While we were away last week in Devon we took a day trip to Cornwall to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I had heard great things about them but didn’t really know what to expect especially having a 3.5 year old in tow. Monkey is use to visiting gardens with us but I was a little concerned there would not be enough to hold his interest. However I need not have worried we all had a lovely day.

The Lost Gardensof Heligan

So what are The Lost Gardens of Heligan?

At the end of the nineteenth century Heligan’s thousand acres were at their zenith, but only a few years later bramble and ivy were already drawing a green veil over this “Sleeping Beauty”. The outbreak of WW1 was the start of the estate’s demise as its workforce went off to fight in the trenches; many sadly never to return…..

[In 1992 a tiny room was discovered]…. buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens, was to unlock the secret of their demise. A motto etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”, with the names of those who worked there signed under the date – August 1914. We were fired by a magnificent obsession to bring these once glorious gardens back to life in every sense and to tell, for the first time, not tales of lords and ladies but of those “ordinary” people who had made these gardens great, before departing for the Great War.

www.heligan.com

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IMG_9800On arrival we decided to head through the woodlands down towards the Jungle. One thing which struck me as we wandered through the woodland is how peaceful it was. It was not a bright day yet the woodland area did not feel dark at all, in fact it was welcoming and open. Monkey took to it straight away exploring various tree stumps and natural play areas which had been set up to spike children’s interest.  There was also trees which had been felled recently by the winds which proved good for bug hunting. Because they try to keep it as natural as possible there was also the opportunity for stick collecting, in fact Hubby and Monkey had a bit of a competition around who could find the biggest stick. Unfortunately Monkey lost that one but probably only because he wasn’t strong enough to actually pick up some of the larger ones.

Through out the walk there are several sculptures to spot. Currently they are moving the entrance to the gardens and creating a new ticket office which meant we missed the first initially although we did mange to find him on the way back. The Giants Head.

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Monkey was really taken with him and we ended up buying a story book all about The Giant’s Head in the gift shop. In the Summer his hair will turn orange with flowers and his eyes are made from broken bottles found in the estate grounds. Its a great talking point and really sparked Monkey’s imagination, we had all sorts of stories coming out on the way back to the car.

The second sculpture is my favourite and is know as the Mud Maid

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Originally made out of timber and netting filled with mud (hence the name) although the face and hand are made from a combination of mud, cement and sand. I would have been happy to sit for a while to take in the peace and quiet and relax. With Monkey that wasn’t a really an option! The other sculpture in the woodland is the Grey Lady made from wire. From the woodland area we decided to head down towards the Jungle which is based in a valley with a series of interconnected ponds. Being 31 weeks pregnant and short of breath it took me a little longer to negotiate the paths back up but the fern gully is more than worth the effort.

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IMG_9834Naturally Monkey wanted to lead the way. Because it is in a valley it has its own micro climate so it really does look like a Jungle and you would be forgiven for forgetting you are actually in the UK with all the exotica plants and ferns growing out of the water.  There is also a banana plantation which I can imagine is spectacular, visiting this time of year meant that they were past their best but you could still see how amazing it would look.

There is lots to explore with stepping stones, falling water and raised walkways. And then of course we come to The Burmese Rope Bridge. Monkeys eyes lit up the moment he saw it. It is the longest in the UK and is about 100 ft above the planting below. Its one way so you will need to make sure you enter it from the correct end as I can imagine it get busy, we were lucky and had it to ourselves. It also says it is not recommended for children under the age of five, but as previously mentioned Monkey is a bit of a dare devil and was desperate to try it out. Since there was no one else waiting it meant we could take our time and he throughly enjoyed it.

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IMG_9892We then walked up around the West Lawn and found a picnic area just down from the coffee shop. Here we ate a snack watching the lambs frolicking in the fields and the emu’s eating their lunch. There was a also a rope swing which Monkey enjoyed playing on. There were lots of Spring flowers in bloom which gave me a chance to practice my photography.

Monkey was starting to wain a little bit by now but we pressed onto the Main Gardens. Visiting this time of year although still spectacular you can only really imagine how  amazing they would look in full bloom and with all the fruit and vegetables cropping in the late Summer and early Autumn.

Heligan boasts the most productive gardens in Britain with more gardeners than any other private garden I can see why. It puts our vegetable patch to shame, growing over 300 different varieties of fruit and veg. It has some beautiful fanned fruit trees and and an apple arch that runs through the centre of the vegetable garden. We showed Monkey where they use to grow the pineapples and melons, needless to say this year we will be trying out melons in our little green house! There is also old Victorian Bee Boles outside the walled veritable garden which Monkey was fascinated with. They were kept for pollination purposes, I love how everything has been restored in keeping with the Victorian era.

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From the gardens we headed back up the entrance and to The Heligan Kitchen. Here they prepare meals from the seasonal offerings from the estate. When we visiting they only served lunch until 2.30pm. Despite us being little past this the friendly staff still make Monkey a ham sandwich, oh and if your other half is like mine they also serve beer. After 2.30pm there are a delicious selection of cakes available. Its a large area with plenty of seating, in the centre is a little wood burning stove to keep the chill out in the colder months.

We had a lovely time and got so much inspiration for our own little veggie patch. I would love to visit again in the Summer, hopefully we will make it down to Cornwall later in the year. If we do this will be first on our list.

Things you need to know:

  • Toilets are situated at the entrance so make sure you use the amenities before exploring. They also have a lovely baby change situated in the ladies.
  • Address – The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St.Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6EN
  • The gardens are open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day, opening times vary depending on the time of year you can find details here.
  • Prices are £13.50 for an adult, £6 for children (5-17) under 5s are free
  • They run some brilliant events though out the year on their Events Page.

Signature

We were given tickets for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own

Linking up with #MondayEscapes and Country Kids 

47 Comments

  1. We love Heligan, its on our list of things we have to do on our annual holiday to Cornwall the Peachicks love seeing what has changed every year! I think you can get reduced entry if you have been to the Eden Project already and vice versa. I would definitely recommend reading the book its amazing to see the before and after pictures!

  2. It sounds like you and the family had a wonderful day, from everything you’ve described that landscape and scenery sounds absolutely beautiful! When you see nature and enjoy the peacefulness and calm it definitely feels like you’re on another planet… Lovely review as always 🙂 xxx

  3. I love the lost gardens, have spent so many happy days there. I am hoping to go again this summer but I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to get around on my mobility scooter, I remember it being tricky with the buggy. I’ll have to email them and see what they say. thanks for reminding me to do that

  4. Hot Pink Wellingtons Reply

    I’ve been keen to make a trip here for ages, as we seem to make a fair few trips down to Cornwall these days, but I wasn’t sure there would be quite enough ‘child’ entertainment value. It’s lovely to see how much your little boy enjoyed it – I reckon we’ll give this one a try!

  5. Lovely photos! Looks like you had a really great time, I would be terrified of falling through the rope walkway though but I think my daughter would charge on through!

  6. Wow what an amazing place to visit, perfect for little ones to go exploring and I love the history behind it. 🙂 #bloggersclubuk

  7. this looks like the perfect day out. My kids would absolutely love a place like this. Beautiful story behind it . thanks for sharing #BloggerClubUK

  8. This looks like a fun place to visit. The gardens look beautiful. #BloggerClubUK

  9. randommusings29 Reply

    This looks like a really interesting place to visit. I love the giant’s head and the mud maid, they are brilliant. I think it would be lovely in the height of summer although it would be a lot more crowded. Thanks for hosting #BloggerClubUK
    Debbie

  10. Petite Library Reply

    Ah wow, this looks amazing. And thanks again got the link up party, my 2nd week taking part.
    I’ve heard so many good things about The Lost Gardens and growing up in Cornwall I can’t believe I’ve never gone! I must I must.

    Warm Wishes from Petite Words

  11. This Mum's Life Reply

    This looks fabulous!! Your photos look amazing. I loved the Giants head, and the mud maid! I think that my two, being 3 and 2, would also love the rope bridge-they are little climbing daredevils also!! You’ve covered everything really comprehensively here, and I feel like I’d know just what to expect for a brilliant day out here!!
    Thanks for hosting #BloggerClubUK

  12. This place looks really pretty, I’d love to go exploring there. Though I must say you’re brave going when you’re pregnant – I’m permanently out of breath! x
    #Bloggerclubuk

  13. That looks like an amazing place! I especially like the mud maid. I can’t believe it was lost but I’m glad it was found. I will have to put this on my list of places to visit someday! Thanks so much for hosting #bloggerclubuk

  14. This looks like a really cool place. My son would love the sculpture type things as part of the scenery. Will definitely visit if we get round that way soon. #BloggerClubUK

  15. newmummyblogcom Reply

    We stayed in Cornwall for a week last October and went to the Eden Project, but we heard about this too. I think next time we go, we’ll definitely visit. It looks great fun and much more to do and see there than I thought. I love the Giant’s Head! That’s brilliiant! #bloggerclubuk

  16. This looks like so much fun! I love places like this. i would love to visit cornwall in the future so I’ll try and remember this place! #BloggersClubUK

  17. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I’ve always fancied a visit to the lost gardens as well, it’s on my to do list, this has just made me want to go even more!! Monkey looked like he loved it, his little face on the rope bridge is just so happy #BloggerClubUK

  18. Angela Milnes Reply

    These are really cool and I think i saw some of the photos on instagram. I love the moss face! Angela popping by from #BloggerClubUK 🙂

  19. Oh Clare HOW stunning! I have to say I’d have to be dragged back to live in the UK because having lived on an island with approx 300 days of sunshine a year, the British weather does my nut in. BUT this is what I miss about my home country…greenery, parks, countryside! Lucky you. Glad you all enjoyed it. #BloggerClubUK

  20. I love places like that and those sculptures are amazing. It’s a great way to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. Is it part of the National Trust? Thanks for sharing. #BloggerClubUK

  21. Yvonne - Double the Monkey Business Reply

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time and love the photos! I particularly love the photo on the rope bridge x #bloggerclubuk

  22. Having worked in travel for many years, these gardens are definitely in my list! The sculpture planting look amazing! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos with us. #bloggerclubUK

  23. Wow, this looks fab! I really love the sculptures. I imagine it would be absolutely rammed in Summer though, you probably got to see it at the nicest time and have it all to yourself. #BloggerClubUk

  24. Looks like a lovely day out, it’s always good to hear of new places to visit #bloggerclubUK

  25. This looks like my ideal day out! We still haven’t planned our summer holiday yet so this could well be on our list now #countrykids

  26. Wow what an amazing place. Even the name is enticing. I never knew the story behind it though or quite how much there was to do. #countrykids

  27. Coombe Mill Reply

    The Lost Gardens of Heligan really are beautiful, it’s great that you got to explore the peacefulness yourself. My lot used to love visiting there and exploring the gardens too, they’d spend hours coming up with ideas for the mud maiden and the giants head. That rope walkway is new though and something my daredevils would love to go and try out! Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  28. This is absolutely stunning! Can’t wait for the long Easter break (though I hope we won’t be too busy unpacking to do day trips out), would really, really love to visit! 🙂 #countrykids.

  29. The natural play area looks fab here! A real hidden gem! Monkey looks like he’s having lots of fun! #BloggerUKClub #CountryKids xx

  30. That looks like an amazing place. I think I would have to add it to my list of places to take the Robot. Shame it’s at the other end of the country. I love the giants head, I bet his yellow hair will be amazing!

  31. That looks like a fantastic day out. It seems really magical. I love the story of the place.
    #bloggerclubuk
    The Inconspicuous Blog

  32. I agree the place doesnt look like other woods that are a bit spooky on cloudy days. This one is pretty and the plants are So green and ready for spring! What a lovely place and looks like you had so much fun =) #countrykids

  33. Becky, Cuddle Fairy Reply

    What beautiful gardens! It sounds so relaxing & enjoyable. The giant’s head is quite cool! I love the photo of Monkey in the ropes. I’m glad you all enjoyed the day! #bloggerclubuk x

  34. Pingback: Our visit to The Eden Project | Mudpie Fridays

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  36. It looks absolutely amazing! I’d really love to visit and see those sculptures. It looks perfect for children. Love those quotes about the history of the gardens. Very moving. #MondayEscapes

  37. It sounds like you had such a good day at the gardens. I had hoped we’d make it there at Easter but the weather was pretty bad so we opted for a day out somewhere we could dive inside 🙂 #MondayEscapes

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