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Cotehele

Cotehele, nestled in the serene Cornish countryside near Saltash, is a splendid Tudor house with extensive gardens and woodlands, managed by the National Trust.

This historic estate, largely untouched by time, offers a glimpse into the past with its richly decorated interiors, medieval courtyards, and a stunning collection of textiles, armour, and furniture.

Surrounded by lush gardens and set beside the tranquil River Tamar, Cotehele is a testament to centuries of family history and a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Cornwall’s heritage.

Discovering Cotehele

Cotehele was first constructed in the 1300s, with substantial additions made in the Tudor period.

It was the ancestral home to the Edgcumbe family for centuries.

Today, it stands as one of the most well-preserved Tudor houses in Britain, inviting visitors to step back in time and experience the lifestyle of its former residents.

The House

The house itself is a marvel, with its atmospheric rooms showcasing original Tudor features, intricate woodwork, and an impressive collection of tapestries.

Each room tells a story, offering insights into the social and domestic life of the Tudor and Stuart periods.

The Gardens

Outside, the gardens are a delight throughout the year.

From the formally planted terraces adorned with colourful flowers to the peaceful Valley Garden that leads down to the river, there is beauty at every turn.

The Upper Garden, with its medieval dovecote, and the orchards filled with heritage apple varieties, are not to be missed.

The Estate

Beyond the gardens, Cotehele’s estate encompasses extensive woodlands and a quayside with breathtaking views of the River Tamar.

Here, you can find the restored Tamar sailing barge, the ‘Shamrock’, and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river or embark on a more adventurous woodland walk.

Planning Your Visit

Getting There

Cotehele is located near Saltash, easily accessible by car from Plymouth via the Tamar Bridge or from Cornwall via the A388.

Parking is available on-site.

For those relying on public transport, there are local bus services to St Dominick, followed by a picturesque walk to the estate.

Tickets and Opening Times

Cotehele is open to visitors throughout the year, but opening hours for the house, gardens, and mill vary seasonally.

It is advisable to check the National Trust website for the most current information before planning your visit.

Admission prices are available on the website, with National Trust members enjoying free entry.

Best Times to Visit

Spring and early summer are particularly magical at Cotehele, with the gardens bursting into bloom.

However, autumn brings a palette of warm colours to the woodlands, and in December, the house is beautifully decorated for a traditional Tudor Christmas.

Maximising Your Experience

Take a Guided Tour: To fully appreciate the history and stories of Cotehele, join one of the guided tours available for the house and gardens.

Visit the Mill: Don’t miss Cotehele Mill, part of the estate, where you can see traditional milling in action and explore the workshops of local artisans.

Enjoy a Cream Tea: The Edgcumbe tea room on the quay and the Barn Restaurant near the house offer delicious local produce and the classic Cornish cream tea.

Tips for Your Visit

Wear Comfortable Shoes: With much to explore, from the cobblestone courtyards of the house to the woodland paths, comfortable footwear is essential.

Check for Events: Cotehele hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including craft workshops, garden tours, and seasonal celebrations, which can enhance your visit.

Photography: Photography is permitted in the gardens and the estate, but restrictions apply within the house to protect the historic interiors.

Nearby Attractions

The Tamar Valley: An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering scenic walks, wildlife spotting, and local heritage sites.

Calstock: A charming riverside village, accessible by a beautiful walk from Cotehele Quay, with arts and music events at the Calstock Arts Centre.

The National Trust’s Antony House: Another stunning historic house and garden in the area, with links to the Edgcumbe family.

Conclusion

Cotehele offers a unique and enriching experience for holidaymakers in Cornwall, blending historical intrigue with natural beauty.

Whether you’re exploring the ancient halls of the Tudor house, wandering through the vibrant gardens, or taking in the peaceful riverside scenery, Cotehele is a place where history comes to life, and the beauty of Cornwall is celebrated in every corner.

It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of the past and an invitation to create lasting memories in the present.