The South West’s prettiest gardens for a stroll in the sunshine
Our top 8 picks for Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset
From exotic jungles by the coast to wildflower meadows in the English countryside, the South West is home to a whole host of beautiful gardens. Featuring plenty of recommendations for a walk in the sun, we’ve rounded up our favourites.
1. RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon
Be enchanted by cherry blossom, take a walk through the orchards, swing by the croquet lawn or see the stumpery – however you spend your time at Rosemoor, there’s plenty to be explored. One of Devon’s most prolific gardens, the vast estate is nestled in the Torridge Valley, offering acre after acre of wildflower meadows, arboretums and forest.
2. The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall
Set against the picturesque backdrop of Mevagissey in South Cornwall, The Lost Gardens of Heligan are among the finest in the county. Loved for its leafy jungles and courtyard gardens, the estate is the perfect place for an afternoon wander. Explore over 200 acres of woodland, wildlife and subtropical plants, walk across the rope bridge or visit the farm to spot some of Heligan’s new arrivals. Children will delight in discovering Heligan’s resident Mud Maid, Grey Lady and The Giant’s Head peeking out of the grass.
3. Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset
World famous for its collection of magnolias and camellia groves, this exquisite West Dorset garden is steeped in history, dating back as far as 1541. Pretty walled gardens and immersive jungle glades feature some of the country’s most unique plants, while sculpture trails will keep all ages occupied. From the ever-pretty viewpoint of the Magnolia Walk, the views over Dorset’s iconic Jurassic Coast aren’t to be missed.
4. Trebah Gardens in Cornwall
Cornwall’s very own subtropical paradise, the lovely Trebah Gardens come alive during the summer months. Open every day and with four miles of footpath winding through the estate – from the 100-year-old rhododendrons to the delicately scented camellias – there’s always something new to explore. Adventure play areas and children’s trails will keep little ones entertained, while dogs on leads are welcome to enjoy a walk through the grounds.
5. Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset
From Georgian landscaping to Victorian shrubbery and Edwardian formal gardens, Hestercombe is the perfect setting to enjoy a walk through the ages. Whether you’re making the most of a sunny afternoon or stretching your legs with a four-legged friend, these beautiful Somerset gardens have something for everyone.
6. Mount Edgcombe House and Garden in Cornwall
Overlooking the River Tamar on Cornwall’s idyllic Rame Peninsula, this gorgeous 10-acre site is home to 13 different types of formal and informal gardens. From the romantic Italian to the modern Jubilee and the one-of-a-kind Black Bee Reserve, the sprawling estate is bursting with bright and beautiful gardens. Enjoy a stroll through the grounds, spot deer through the trees or wander down to the coastline to soak up the views.
7. The Garden House in Devon
Enjoying explosive pops of colour as far as the eye can see, The Garden House occupies a pretty pocket of countryside on the edge of Dartmoor. Its spectacular wildflower meadows and neat herbaceous borders make it popular among green-fingered visitors, while the secret pathways and garden trails are perfect for younger visitors.
8. Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall
Sitting on the tranquil Helford River, Glendurgan Garden is one of Cornwall’s National Trust treasures. With its own private beach at the bottom of a flower-lined valley, it’s an ideal setting for visitors of all ages. Young adventurers will love playing in the hedge maze and on the Giant’s Stride rope swing, while keen wildlife watchers are sure to enjoy the abundance of birds flitting throughout the flora and fauna.
The gardens kindly request that all visitors respect guidance on social distancing and only attend if you’re healthy and well.