Trevarno Tropical Gardens
Please note: Trevarno is now closed to the public. This page has been left in place purely for archival purposes. Do NOT plan a visit!!!
Trevarno is a gem among British gardens, a lush paradise in south Cornwall, replete with a beautiful variety of plants that will appeal to many tastes. The gardens cover more than 80 acres, and contain both formal and informal areas, level and hillside, and water features. Friendly peacocks wander through the gardens, adding even more colour to the already colourful plantings.
History of Trevarno
Trevarno estate dates to 1245, but the first historical mention of the house was 1296, when it was owned by Randolphus De Trevarno. There was a Tudor manor on the site, and parts of the manor house are incorporated into the current house. The current Fountain Garden Conservatory is located in what used to be the east wing of the house. Perhaps the most famous holders of the estate were the Arundel family, and the Bickford-Smith family, who owned Trevarno for 120 years until it was sold in 1994. An ongoing programme of restoration begun in 1995 and saw the garden ready to receive visitors for the first time in 1998. Among the new features of Trevarno is Britain's first National Museum of Gardening, which opened in 2001.
The major garden areas include the Italianate Garden, Bluebell Woods, the Bog Garden, the Lake, grotto, pinetum, and terraced gardens. There is also a walled Victorian garden. The most famous view at Trevarno is undoubtedly across the lake to the Victorian boathouse, a listed building. Water runs down from the lake through a series of cascades to Trevarno Mill, a mile distant.
Museums at Trevarno
The National Museum of Gardening at Trevarno is a quite enjoyable set of themed displays, boasting perhaps the largest collection of historic gardening tools and implements anywhere in Britain. Among the displays is a huge collection of enamel garden signs, possibly the most extensive such exhibit n the world. There are tools dating to the 17th century, all the way up to modern lawnmowers, and historic seed catalogues.
Children (and quite a few adults) will love the Colin Gregory Vintage Toy Collection, which features playthings through time. A unique feature of Trevarno is the Soap Collection; a nostalgic journey through the past, looking at soap and skincare products over the past centuries. The Soap Collection is tied to the Trevarno Soap and Skincare Workshops, where visitors can purchase hand-made fragrant soaps.
Trevarno for Families
Our family, with children aged 6 and 12, really enjoyed visiting Trevarno. Our children enjoyed feeding the peacocks, who were very tame and willing to come close with the lure of a tasty treat to nibble. Also, the winding paths up and down the bank gardens to the lake provided intersting opportunities to play explorer for the children. We had a lovely time, and would definitely go back again.