The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey, are just a short drive from the town of St Austell in Cornwall. Despite living in the St Austell area for over 12 years – and in Cornwall for my whole life – the Lost Gardens of Heligan were somewhere that I had never visited before.
The main reason was that I thought my children might be bored there – after all, it’s just a ‘garden’. However I could not have been more wrong; there is no ‘just’ about the Lost Gardens of Heligan and my children, even at the ages of nine and 11, were far from bored.
We started our day at the Lost Gardens of Heligan with an early lunch at the tea room near the entrance. Here you can buy pasties, sausage rolls, soup, sandwiches, a huge variety of sweet baked goods and so much more. Where possible, the Lost Gardens of Heligan uses locally sourced ingredients, and even the water that I bought for our walk was bottled in Cornwall. Everything that we drank and ate was delicious, and the serving staff were very friendly and helpful.
After a naughty lunch that may have included some delicious cake (very hard to resist!) we headed into the woods and investigated some of the trails. The boys had a fantastic time climbing over and under things.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan have made their woods so family friendly that they actively encourage tree climbing (of specific felled trees) by adding steps or logs to climb on, and tunnels of vegetation to walk through. They have also very thoughtfully left a path next to these things, so that parents can retain their dignity if they wish to and walk beside their children without doing the climbing part!
There were benches all over the Lost Gardens of Heligan site as well – perfect for a rest and to enjoy the view, and what a view it was! The Lost Gardens of Heligan have the most beautiful pond areas, gardens, woods and more. There are also animals, a hide to sit in and watch the birds feeding and see what other wildlife you can spot, and so much more. There are things to educate, intrigue, and most of all to love and admire. No matter the age, I think anyone would enjoy the Lost Gardens of Heligan. They even clearly mark which paths are suitable for the disabled and for pushchairs, and seem to have plenty of baby changing facilities.
There are lawn games to enjoy, a rope bridge to wobble your way across, plentiful picnic tables for enjoying an outside lunch, and a real charm and beauty to the place.
You can also go on a hunt for the Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, though be careful not to wake her!
This may have been the first time that I had been to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, but it certainly won’t be the last. I was very excited to hear that they have different events and activities throughout the year, and we will definitely be popping back around Halloween and Christmas as well if possible.
Practical details for the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Review and photos by Stephanie Couch, aka The Cornish Mum