The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Tucked away in the heart of Cornwall lies a secret paradise waiting to be explored: The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Once forgotten under a bramble of weeds for over seven decades, this 200-acre estate has been lovingly restored to its former glory, offering visitors a glimpse into a bygone era of gardening magnificence.

Whether you’re a horticulture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat amidst nature, The Lost Gardens of Heligan promises an enchanting experience for all.

History Unearthed

The story of Heligan is as enchanting as the gardens themselves.

Originally the estate of the Tremayne family, the gardens thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only to be abandoned during World War I.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the gardens were rediscovered, leading to one of the greatest garden restoration projects in Europe.

Today, Heligan stands as a living museum, a testament to Victorian garden design and a tribute to those who once tended it.

The Gardens Awaken

Heligan is divided into distinct areas, each offering its unique allure.

The Northern Gardens house the productive gardens, including the Melon Yard and the pioneering Pineapple Pit, alongside the finest example of a Victorian Productive Garden in the UK.

The Pleasure Grounds weave a romantic narrative with their aged rhododendrons, camellias, and the serene Italian Garden.

The Jungle immerses you in a sub-tropical paradise, with its lush foliage, towering tree ferns, and exotic plant species cradled in a secluded valley.

Meanwhile, the Lost Valley and Ancient Woodland reveal the wilder side of Heligan, offering peaceful walks through nature’s untouched beauty.

When to Go

Heligan’s doors are open year-round, with each season painting the gardens in a new light.

Spring sees the awakening of the rhododendrons and magnolias, summer brings the Productive Gardens to life, autumn cloaks the estate in fiery hues, and winter showcases the structural elegance of Victorian landscaping.

Getting There

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are located near Mevagissey in Cornwall.

By car, they’re accessible via the B3273, with ample parking for visitors.

For those relying on public transport, the nearest train station is St. Austell, with local bus services running close to the gardens.

Tickets and Tours

Entry to the gardens requires a ticket, with options available for single visits or annual memberships for those who fall in love with Heligan and wish to return.

Guided tours are offered, providing insightful narratives on the gardens’ history, flora, and fauna, adding depth to your exploration.

Not-to-be-Missed Highlights

The Giant’s Head, Mud Maid, and Grey Lady: These enchanting woodland sculptures blend myth with nature, captivating the imaginations of both young and old.

The Heligan Wildlife Project: Discover the rich biodiversity that calls Heligan home, from native birds to rare breeds of livestock.

The Kitchen Garden: Be inspired by the sustainable cultivation of fruit, vegetables, and herbs, much of which supplies the Heligan Kitchen.

Making the Most of Your Visit

Wear Comfortable Shoes: The gardens’ terrain varies from smooth paths to natural trails, so comfortable footwear is a must.

Heligan Kitchen and Bakery: Refuel with delicious, locally sourced meals and freshly baked goods, with vegetarian and gluten-free options available.

The Heligan Shop: Take a piece of Heligan home with you, from bespoke crafts to heritage seeds, allowing you to grow a piece of the gardens in your own backyard.

Nearby Attractions

Extend your Cornish adventure by exploring the surrounding area:

Mevagissey: This charming fishing village is just a short drive from Heligan and offers quaint shops, cafes, and boat trips.

The Eden Project: Another of Cornwall’s botanical marvels, featuring the world-famous Biomes, is less than a half-hour drive away.

A visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan is more than just a day out; it’s an immersive experience into the heart of nature, history, and horticultural excellence.

It’s a place where the past is always present, where the bond between man and nature is celebrated, and where the spirit of discovery waits around every corner.

Whether you wander through the verdant splendour of the Jungle, marvel at the Victorian ingenuity of the Productive Gardens, or lose yourself in the ethereal beauty of the Pleasure Grounds, Heligan offers a unique escape into a world both lost and found.