This is an excellent time to take a garden tour holiday in Cornwall because Spring arrives early in this, the mildest part of England. The bulbs and alpines will be ablaze and there will be Camelias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons and fruit trees blossoming. The typical Cornish garden has tree ferns, palms and many species of Magnolia, some 50 feet high covering the sides of steep valleys running down to a river estuary. The Garden House
We shall be based atThe Mannings Hotel in Truro and since this cathedral city is 260 miles from London, the old Great Western Railway is the most convenient approach. Trains run from London Paddington every other hour and take 4−5 hours travelling along the iconic part-coastal track built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1830s.
To allow time for the train journey, the tour will start at 2:30pm on Friday 1st April. We shall visit Trelissick, Glendurgan Garden, Trebah, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Lanhydrock, as well as Cotehele, The Garden House, Bosvigo House and gardens and several small private gardens.
The Cost of this tour is £1300 which includes a return railway ticket London Paddington/Truro and B&B and evening meal in the hotel restaurant. Included is a cathedral tour, transport to the gardens, garden entrance fees, escorted by the tour leader throughout and optional evening power point talks.
Flora’s small group tours typically have 5-7 of us in a comfortable 8 seater vehicle. Dr Sommerville plans and guides all tours, enthusiastically describing the plants, scenery and architecture which we encounter.
Three consecutive days [2 nights] may be selected from this tour for approximately half the price of the full tour.
Leave Truro railway station at 2.30pm to visit Trelissick Garden. This English garden has the most amazing natural setting standing on its own peninsula overlooking the estuary of the River Fal. There are 30 acres planted with a wide range of shrubs while the house dating from 1750 has an art gallery featuring local artists and the Crofters Cafe for tea. We return to The Mannings Hotel in the centre of Truro about 5.30pm.
Leave Mannings Hotel, at 9am to call at a small private garden en route to Glendurgan Garden on another coastal peninsula. When Alfred and Sarah Fox began their garden over 150 years ago they had the entertainment of their 12 children in mind. The maze, giant’s stride swing and beach are waiting to be explored. We lunch there and in the afternoon visit Trebah, a subtopical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop. We shall return to Truro about 5.30pm after visiting a small private garden on the National Garden Scheme.
We leave Mannings Hotel at 9.30am to visit Truro Cathedral. There is a sung Eucharist at 10am for anyone who wishes to attend and then we go to Bosvigo House, a lovely Georgian house in Truro with a ‘plants-person’ garden run by Wendy Perry. We shall have a tour of the house with coffee and cakes in the kitchen and then explore this delightful English garden at its April best. The Hellebore collection will be in bloom. In the afternoon we visit a village of gardens open for charity on the National Garden Scheme and return to Truro about 6pm.
Leave Mannings Hotel at 9am to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. The gardens are typical of the nineteenth century Gardenesque style with areas of different character. It was indeed lost for many years as the massively trunked Rhododendrons bear witness. The award-winning garden restoration in its third decade is already internationally acclaimed. We shall lunch here and in the afternoon visit Lanhydrock. The house represents the best that money could buy in 1880; don’t miss the kitchens. There are beautiful formal and walled gardens and we shall return to Truro for about 5.30pm.
Leave Mannings Hotel with our luggage at 9.30am. We visit a small private garden and on to Cotehele. There are formally planted terraces, a Valley Garden, which includes a medieval stewpond and dovecote and leads down to the Tamar river. The Tudor house perched high above the river is open and has some very fine furniture and other artifacts. We shall have lunch and move on to the Garden House near Buckland Monochorum for our tea. At the heart of this magical place is the walled garden, designed and planted by Lionel Fortescue and his wife Katherine in the mid-1940s. Lionel’s successor, Keith Wiley, added his own stamp to this part of the garden, particularly in the Ovals Garden, a sculpture in stone and planting centred on a thatched summerhouse. We shall arrive at Plymouth in time to catch the 18.03 train which arrives at London Paddington at 21.24 Those that wish can drive back to Truro but the cost for this extra night at Mannings Hotel is not included in the tour price.
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