Last weekend, my family and I decided to go on a spontaneous trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in St Austell, Cornwall. It’s dog friendly as well, so we brought our cheeky choccy Labrador, Hannah, along with us. The weather wasn’t fantastic, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time.
We arrived shortly after lunch – and we were ravenous after the car journey! The food in the Heligan Kitchen restaurant was utterly delicious – I had Frittata with herby potatoes, cous-cous and salad. Most of the ingredients they use in their meals are grown within the gardens, and other places to eat and grab refreshments once you’re inside include the Steward’s House café and the BBQ hut – which I can imagine is a big hit in the summer.
After we finished lunch, we made our way to the entrance and paid for our tickets. If you’re a Devon or Cornwall resident, you can sign up to a local’s pass that you can use again and again throughout the year. You need at least two days to really appreciate what they have here, as there is a lot to see and do when walking through the gardens and estate.
As soon as you enter the gardens, you’re greeted by the Giant’s Head. Throughout the estate, you’ll see sculptures like this that will make you smile. Just a little bit further on from the Giant’s Head, the Mud Maid lies beautifully within her natural habitat and the Grey Lady disguises herself among the trees. See if you can spot them!
The gardens offer some wonderful walks, some of which have steep hills that you should bear in mind if you are taking a pushchair or if one of your party members uses a wheelchair. The map that you receive at the entrance highlights all the areas that have steep gradients, so you can plan what bits you can do before setting off on your adventure.
The Jungle is my favourite part of it all. The walks around this area are on raised boardwalks through exotic plantings - you really feel like you’re in the Amazon. They have a Burma Rope bridge in the middle, which is a lot of fun! Maybe not so much though if you aren’t a fan of heights though…!
From here you can go into the Lost Valley or head over to the Home Farm animals area. At the farm, they had some cute little piglets outside happily rolling in mud, whilst mum was chomping away on some food in the trough. The Wildlife Hide is also a short walk from the farm, where you can sit and quietly watch the different species of birds going about their business around the lake.
We only went for the day, but will definitely return with my local’s pass in the summer to see more of the Lost Valley we didn’t have time for. Click here to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan website.