Caerhays Castle and Garden
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Caerhays Castle is a Regency concoction; a fantasy fortress begun in 1807 by John Nash, architect of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, for John Bettesworth-Trevanion near the site of an earlier medieval manor house.
Bettesworth-Trevanion lived beyond his means, and he was hounded by creditors. Unable to pay off his debts, Bettesworth-Trevanion was forced to go abroad, leaving Caerhays to be seized. The house stood empty for a decade before Sir William Williams, 1st Baronet of Tregullow, purchased it in 1854.
The Gardens at Caerhays
The castle passed through generations of Williams family owners until it came to John Charles Williams. John Charles was an avid plant collector. He sponsored plant hunting expeditions abroad, and these new plants were used to help create the gardens surrounding the castle. Many of the plants at Caerhays come from seeds acquired by two great Victorian plant hunters; George Forrest and EH Wilson, who travelled into the far reaches of China and the Himalayas in search of species unknown in Britain.
The gardens stretch to almost 120 acres, and are laid out around 4 long routes (red, blue, yellow, and green). There are winding trails through a glorious landscape of over 600 different varieties of plants, including azaleas and camelias. The real attraction at Caerhays are rhododendron and magnolia. There are over 250 different types of the former and the largest collection in England of the latter.
Caerhays gardens enjoy a unique micro-climate, sheltered from the effects of the prevailing westerly wind by woodland and the slope of the hills. This provides a humid, moist environment where tender varieties of Oriental plants can thrive. The acidic soil provides a healthy environment for ericaceous (lime-hating) plants like heathers. There are numerous plants from Australasia, champion trees, evergreen oaks, hydrangeas, colourful acers, and of course, magnolias and rhododendron!
The castle at Caerhays is rarely open to visitors, being marketed more as a wedding venue, but the gardens are open 100 days per year from Spring through Autumn.
Historic House: A mock castle built by Regency architect John Nash set in lovely parkland gardens of 60 acres.
About Caerhays Castle and Garden
Address: Gorran, St Austell, Cornwall, England, PL26 6LY
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: On the coast 9 miles south west of St Austell
Website: Caerhays Castle and Garden
Phone: 01872 501 310
Historic Houses Association
Photo Credit: Nilfanion, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
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