Nestled in the glorious depths of Cornwall you will find The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Boasting over 200 acres, it is renowned for being one of the most mysterious and romantic estates in England – a genuine secret garden that for years was overgrown.
Today it has over 20 gardeners and estate workers cultivating the walled gardens, growing vegetables and creating a thriving community to ensure that it remains is it is now – a magical place to visit.
As my sister lives in Cornwall I have been to the county numerous of times and never ventured to the estate myself. With my nephews being extremely young in recent years we stayed close to home taking them out to soft play, local beaches, zoos and farms.
During my recent visit this week we decided to take the boys to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. As a strong advocate of keeping active and teaching those of a young age to be active, I wanted to get them out exploring. And they were thrilled at the thought of going back – as unbeknown to me they have annual passes. Though I think the child in me was more excited to see the estate, take in the scenery and generally be outdoors during my stay. I thought the boys would be bored – I was so wrong.
Those working at the gardens advise that you need a couple of days to take in everything the estate has to offer. However, in the three hours we were wondering the grounds we covered a fair amount of distance. And the boys were not bored at all, they were enchanted with everything the estate has to offer.
Starting along the “woodland walk” we followed the path round, spending time clambering over the “giants adventure trail”, taking pictures of the Giants Head and Mud Maid. This area seemed to be one of the busiest areas – with everyone keen to get their own pictures – so we swiftly moved along to areas that gave us the serenity to walk around at our own pace.
We made our way down to the “jungle” area – which was simply breathtaking – walking down to the raised boardwalk around the water towards the area dubbed as “Fern Gully.”
Here the boys remained enchanted with the idea that this was where the fairies lived (obviously me telling them so) and spent an age spotting tadpoles in the water.
Moving on we started to walk along the path known as the Georgian Ride through the “Lost Valley” taking in the Charcoal Sculpture and tackling Bottle Dump Hill and Higher Sunken lane – with buggy in tow. The older boys aged five and three, did not complain one bit. The sense of adventure within them keeping their legs going on the upward climb. So proud of their good behaviour they were treated to some ice cream that was suitably located in the picnic area at the top of the hill. To be honest I was relieved to have a sit down after taking turns to push the buggy up the steep hills.
Refuelled and ready for some more adventure we ventured on to the home farm – taking in the animals – before wondering around the gardens through Floras Green. It was here I was told by one of my nephews that he wanted to go home. Several hours walking in this adventurous estate had finally tired him out (for the next hour or so at least).
So we made our way home – happy to have spent a good number of hours exploring but at the same time sad to leave such a magical place.
And it is simply that – magical. There were many parts we did not see, some due to the children being too young – for example the rope bridge. I would love to take them back in a few years time when they are able to explore this area too. And when the youngest no longer needs a pushchair – as trying to push this up some of the rocky hills was somewhat of a challenge. But a good work out for both myself and my sister.
If you are currently in Cornwall or if you are planning a visit in the coming months I would thoroughly recommend adding the Lost Gardens of Heligan to your list. Pack a light lunch and refreshments and spend the whole day exploring.
Compared to some other attractions in the area it is reasonably priced, making it a wonderful day out for all the family or even just an adventurous day out for those without children. No matter your situation you will simply be enchanted by this charming attraction.