Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

It's been six months since I took these pictures and only now, have I actually got round to editing them and writing a review. Pretty poor by anyone's standards, especially mine!
 
We visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan on 6th September, the same day we went to see Kneehigh Theatre's show, Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs). Our theatre ticket included entry to the gardens so we went along a couple of hours in advance to have a wander and explore.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - plant pots

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - bird house

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - Italian patio

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - sleeping woman
 
 
Despite visiting Cornwall rather a lot (with a sister in law living there it's hard not to) Heligan is somewhere I've never been to. I first heard about the gardens in a roundabout type of way in the late 1990s; I was (still am) a little bit obsessed with Kneehigh Theatre Company and when the Eden Project was being built, they were involved a bit with the artistic side of it. So naturally I wanted to find out all about this magical new place called Eden (if it was something Kneehigh were involved with, it had to be good). Of course, once I'd read up on Eden, I realised that the guy behind it all (Tim Smit) was the same guy behind The Lost Gardens of Heligan - which sounded equally delightful. I said back in about 1999/2000 that I should visit and well, I suppose it only took me 14 years to do it!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - Tim Smit's words about the place taken from the book

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - wheelbarrows
 
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - benches

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - sunken footpaths

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - tall trees

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - the toolshed
 
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - well

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - conservatories
 
 
Heligan is a botanical garden estate, originally created by the Tremayne family from Cornwall in the mid 18th century. After the First World War the gardens fell into disuse and were only re-discovered in the 1990s when Tim Smit and his team took it upon themselves to bring them back to their former glory. It's a bit of a magical place, with landscaped gardens, secret passages, woodland trails and a farmyard.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - woodland trail sign

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
 
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - Dirty Daz the sheep

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - Dirty Daz the sheep
 

You're allowed to wander around in your own time although I could see how it would be quite easy to get lost. We almost ran out of time doing the woodland trails bit and ended up missing out a section near the entrance. That was probably because we spent far too much time peering at the Emus though.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - emu


Andrew grew up with an (cuddly) emu at home and then I bought him one for his 30th birthday, seven years ago which he absolutely loved. 

Emu toy


The Heligan estate had emus back in the 1920s and they used to roam around the grounds freely. I love the old photo of them, you can just see one of the birds scarpering on the right hand side.


The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - emu photograph from the 1920s
 
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - emus Queenie and Edmund

 
These two were Queenie and Edmund, probably grandchildren of the original ones but they seemed pretty happy. I have to say though they did remind us remarkably of this…

 

 
As I said, we almost ran out of time and had to look round the vegetable garden really quickly which was a bit of a shame as it's easily one of the most spectacular areas of the Heligan estate. Established in the Victorian era as a production garden, it's been lovingly restored to supply heaps of heritage fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs and they try and use as many things as they can in their restaurant on site.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - vegetable garden

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - vegetable garden

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - vegetable garden

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - vegetable garden

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - conservatories

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - vegetable garden



Speaking of which, the food there was very tasty indeed. I'm not sure what it's like the rest of the year round but during the Kneehigh Theatre Asylum season they'd laid on a special menu for theatre-goers. I had a pulled pork bap and Andrew had a cheese and tomato pizza/quiche thing followed up with lemon drizzle cake and toffee cake. The salad though - look…all the colours!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - pulled pork roll

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - cheese and tomato pizza/quiche

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall - lemon drizzle cake and toffee cake
 
 
Obviously I'm going to say Heligan is well worth a visit but if you fancy combining culture and vegetables and feeling very high-brow for a night, then Kneehigh Theatre's Asylum is back at the Lost Gardens this summer. The show this year is '946', based on the Michael Morpurgo children's book 'The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips' set on the sands of Slapton, Devon during 1944.
 
It's on from July 25th to August 23rd most nights (plus some matinees) and tickets are available from the Hall for Cornwall box office. If you're in Cornwall this summer and want something to do for an evening, it might well be something worth considering.
 

4 comments:

  1. Oh my!!!! WHat an amazing place! I really want to go there!!! Looks like a fantastic place!! Thank you for sharing. I MUST go!x

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  2. It's a beautiful place isn't it? You've done much better than me ... I went there in May last year and still haven't sorted my photos. One day, maybe!

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  3. Oh wow this place looks really amazing, I love visiting gardens! Even tohugh I'm not a big fan of gardening or plants, there's something really great about seeing them all together, in bloom in a huge garden like that.

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  4. I've never done Heligan and I don't know why but if ever there was a nudge in the right direction I think Dirty Daz is it. That face!

    Beautiful photos Louisa if a little later than you intended!
    M x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for all your lovely comments; I do have every intention of replying but sometimes life with a baby gets in the way...

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