Top 10 gardens to visit in St Ives and West Cornwall
Our pick of the best gardens to visit in St Ives and the surrounding area
Thanks to our temperate climate, we can grow the most incredible subtropical plants in Cornwall. Cornish gardeners can be truly creative with their planting, giving us a legacy of beautiful outdoor spaces. Here are our favourite gardens in St Ives and West Cornwall.
Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens
Discover the twentieth-century sculptor’s actual garden, where she worked in the open air. Many of the bronze sculptures are scattered among the plants, where Hepworth originally placed them. Hepworth’s artworks make this an extraordinary place to visit any time of year. Open from 10am – 5.20pm.
Trewyn Subtropical Gardens
You won’t find this pocket-sized public park in most lists of Cornish gardens. Tucked in the back streets of St Ives, this subtropical oasis is the locals’ secret garden. Picnic here in the spring when the blossom’s out.
Tregenna Castle Garden
Non-residents are welcome to explore the woodland walks and sweeping vistas of this Victorian hotel’s 72-acre grounds. Designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner John Moreland, main attractions include a sub-tropical walled garden and a newly created water garden alongside more formal offerings. Head Gardener Bill Price and designer John Moreland are available for guided tours by prior appointment. Tregenna Castle is in Carbis Bay, just east of St Ives.
Tremenheere Sculpture Garden
Sheltered by Mounts Bay, Penzance has superb subtropical gardens. Tremenheere combines year-round exotics with native woodland and panoramic views. Look for art installations among the plants. Before you leave stop at the Tremenheere Kitchen for an indulgent bite to eat and a big pot of tea overlooking the view of St Michael’s Mount. The gardens are open daily 10.30am – 5.30pm.
Tanglewood Wild Garden
Do you believe in fairies? Tanglewood is a 9-acre wild garden in Newbridge, with ponds, paths, and fairy doors. Bring your wellies and your imagination. Open daily from 10am until dusk, there isn’t a cafe but there are plenty of spaces to put a blanket down and unpack your picnic.
A stunning spring garden outside Penzance. Originally planted in the 19th Century, the 15 acre garden incorporates a magnificent collection of century-old trees and over 300 Camellias and Magnolias alongside one of the largest tree-fern dells in Europe. Book a tour or take the garden trail. Open 10.30am – 5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm).
Morrab Gardens and Penlee Park
Penzance has two exceptionally lovely public parks: subtropical Morrab Gardens and Penlee Park, a tree-lined grassy space with a playground. Both a stones-throw from Penzance Town Centre and the beach promenade, they have offered inspiration to local artists since the 19th century.
Get the National Trust card ready, as we have two gorgeous gardens coming up. Trengwainton Garden near Penzance is one of the first to burst into bloom, thanks to its magnolias and camelias. Trengwainton is also taking part in the Silent Spaces project and has created two silent (mobile phone free) spaces in the gardens for visitors to relax and reflect in peace.
St Michael’s Mount
Ever visited a vertical garden? In the summer, explore the gardens at St Michael’s Mount, where subtropical plants are cunningly cultivated in the cliff face. Make sure you check the tide times before you visit as the causeway appears from under the water and you can walk across at low tide. No path coming back? Don’t worry there’s a boat transfer that runs every few minutes. Please note the gardens are not open on Saturdays.
Heartlands Diaspora Botanical Gardens
A series of connected gardens bounded by water and peppered with rocks carved with poetry. Each garden celebrates a country to which Cornish miners travelled and bought back plants from including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North and South America. Heartlands visitor centre is in Pool (15 miles away) and is open all year. Entry is free.