Secret Gardens: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Above: Gunnera manicata

Inside the Lost Gardens of Heligan: Cornwall's mysterious secret botanic garden

The Lost Gardens of Heligan can be found in Cornwall. The estate dates back centuries, as far back as the 1200s when Heligan Manor was first built. 

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The gardens were ‘lost’ after the outbreak of the First World War, falling into a derelict, overgrown slumber until their revival in 1990. Many estates fell into disrepair during the war, as much of their workforces were called to war. 

Today, the garden’s 200 acres remain Europe’s largest garden restoration project.

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Above: The Giant's Head

Things to see and do

Large sculptures, such as The Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, are concealed in the undergrowth of the Woodland Walk, revealing themselves as you wander along the paths. Their hidden positioning is reminiscent of the garden’s history as a garden lost in time.

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Above: The Mud Maid

A rope bridge extends across sub-tropical planting, bringing a higher perspective to the dense foliage beneath. The Gunnera manicata (pictured in header image above) can grow up to 2.5 metres tall, with leaves that can reach over 3 metres in width!

lost gardens of heligan, Cornwall, secret gardenAbove: The Lost Valley 

The Victorian Productive Gardens have been restored to their former glory, and grow over 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs. The garden’s kitchen serves dishes made from produce grown in the garden.

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Above: The walled gardens

The gardens are a secret garden like no other, from its rich history and varied plants, to hidden sculptures and walled gardens. What will you discover?

How to get there

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
St. Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6EN

Travel: By car, travel via St Austell and follow the brown tourist signs is the easiest way to find the gardens, avoiding single track lanes.

The nearest train station is St Austell, located 5 miles from the gardens. There is a TIC office located within the station, who can advise on bus links to the gardens, or take a taxi from the taxi rank outside.

Entry: £18.50 for an adult day admission ticket

Opening hours: 10.00am to various closing times throughout the year.

Visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan website for opening times and to buy tickets