Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm and Sat 9am-1pm
led by HORTUS contributor Kirsty Fergusson, hosted by editor David Wheeler
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HORTUS: Spring Gardens of Cornwall

22 - 25 March 2021

4 days from £2,399pp

The Cornish peninsula is famous for sheltered woodland gardens harbouring important collections of magnolias, as well as many other plant groups accompanied by carpets of wild flowers. Head south for the Cornish magnolia spectacle in an early spring tour led by HORTUS contributor Kirsty Fergusson, hosted by editor David Wheeler. 

  • Stay at Olga Polizzi’s renowned Tresanton Hotel
  • Visit to Caerhays Castle with owner Charles Williams and gardener Jaimie Parsons
  • A special invitation to lunch at Glendurgan House with Charles and Caroline Fox
  • Visit to Trewithen with head gardener Gary Long
  • Day 1:

    Depart Bristol Parkway at 10:30 and travel to Cornwall by coach, or take the train to St Austell Rail Station to join the coach at 14:15. Alternatively, if you wish to take your own car to the hotel we will arrange for you to join the group at the first garden. Tregrehan has been the home to the Carlyon family since 1565. Jovey Carlyon’s passion for trees during the late nineteenth century is evident today. Tom Hudson, the latest family member to take on the gardens, is an equally gifted planstman: his collection of high-altitude Asian trees, including some very special magnolias, brought back from recent plant hunting expeditions, complement his cousin, Gillian Carlyon’s camellia collection and Jovey’s superb pinetum. Drive on to Tresanton Hotel with time to settle before dinner together, with wine included.

  • Day 2:

    Nothing quite prepares you for the loveliness of that springtime view of Caerhays Castle, comfortably enthroned between lakeside pasture in the foreground and a rising backcloth of a thousand trees, the canopy splashed with clouds of pink and cream magnolia blooms. We start the day at Caerhays Castle viewing one of the finest collections of magnolias in the country for a special walk with owner Charles Williams and his highly skilled gardener Jaimie Parsons. J. C. Williams (great-grandfather of the present owner) and successive members of the family, assisted by their dedicated head gardeners, have had success at hybridising as well as collecting magnolias; Caerhays now holds a National Collection comprising more than eighty species and five-hundred named cultivars. A light lunch is included at nearby Bodrugan Barton Farm before we visit Burncoose Nurseries that offers a vast array of magnolias, several of which have been home bred. Return to Hotel Tresanton for a pre-dinner talk by Charles Fox before dining together in the hotel.

  • Day 3:

    The Fox family started a successful shipping agency in Falmouth in the eighteenth century and established many important gardens in the region. We are delighted to have Charles Fox of Glendurgan to show us two of these outstanding gardens – to relate how they were initiated and developed by his family and to showcase their important collections of magnolias. Trebah has one of the most beautiful vistas of all Cornish gardens, down through the valley gardens to the Helford estuary. At Glendurgan we are invited to lunch at home with Charles and Caroline Fox before being shown their remarkable garden, first developed by Alfred Fox. Return to Hotel Tresanton where we dine together in the hotel.

  • Day 4:

    Our final morning includes a special visit to Trewithen, where head gardener Gary Long will take us to the main lawn with its celebrated, intricately planted vista. We can then enjoy some free time to explore the garden by ourselves before journeying northwards for lunch at the Polgooth Inn. The coach then returns to St Austell (14:30) and Bristol Parkway (18.30) and we arrange for transfers back to the hotel for those who need to pick up cars.

Your Accommodation

Hotel Tresanton


Situated in Saint Mawes, 350 yards from St Mawes Castle, Hotel Tresanton provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has a garden and features a terrace.

At the hotel, every room is fitted with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. All units at Hotel Tresanton are equipped with a seating area.