For many years now, Glendurgan Garden has been a hotspot for nature lovers and visitors who just want a relaxing day out in some of the most tranquil surroundings that Cornwall has to offer. This is a National Trust garden next to the hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River, near Falmouth, and it needs to be visited by anyone with green fingers.
Probably the most famous feature at Glendurgan is The Maze, a cherry laurel hedge maze that was created in 1833 and has just undergone a four-year restoration project. Kids and adults revel in wandering its winding paths and getting lost before finally finding the glorious way out. This is seen by some as the centrepiece of the gardens, so prepare for a devious leafy puzzle like no other in the Duchy.
Three valleys join into one at Glendurgan and this one valley, like something out of a Daphne Du Maurier novel, is home to an array of beautiful exotic and native plants living together in harmony. Highlights include the Camellia Walk, which doesn’t really need an explanation, and the Olive Grove and Orchard, with its apples, pears, pecans, figs and citrus fruits growing alongside three active beehives. Also recommended are the Holy Bank, with its collection of trees with religious connotations like the Judas Tree, and the grand 190-year-old Tulip Tree.
There’s also a tea house on the site with indoor and outdoor seating that serves up drinks and light snacks, plus there’s a quaint newly refurbished secondhand bookshop that’s well worth a browse. Also, take a wander down to the beach at the foot of the garden. Regular activities are also run on the site, mostly for the kids, so keep an eye on this programme. The attraction, which is closed on Mondays, is just down the road from the otherworldly Trebah Garden that needs to be explored too. In fact, both Trebah and Glendurgan gardens were laid out by the Fox family in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1962, Cuthbert and Philip Fox gave Glendurgan to the National Trust, which has been running it as an attraction ever since.
Protip: Glendurgan’s Maze, the Giant’s Stride rope swing and the Fish Cellar may be closed so check this out ahead of your visit via the National Trust website. And then enter this magical world of plants, trees and adventure.