Trebah Garden

Image by Aaron Street

In Brief

Type: Garden attraction
Suitable for: Nature lovers
Address: Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth
Price: Adults £13, children aged five to 15 years old £6.50 and under-fives go for free
Dog friendly?: Yes


Cornwall’s countryside is stunning, particularly when the sun is shining. But within this countryside are a few lush, green havens that take nature to another level. Trebah is one such haven that nature lovers need to explore. Trebah Garden, Falmouth‘s well-loved green-fingered attraction, is set in a unique 25-acre wooded subtropical ravine garden that descends to a secluded beach on the banks of the Helford River. There’s a house, some cottages and the famous garden on the estate. There’s also the Hibbert Centre, named after the property’s last owners. This building was opened in 2000 and is home to all sorts of events and exhibitions.

The garden itself features a natural spring that drops about 10ft into a koi pool, cascading through some of the most beautiful and brightly coloured waterside plants in the world. There are also 100-year-old rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias to marvel at, as well as a giant gunnera plant that boasts leaves so big in the summer that they dwarf us mere humans. Australian tree ferns also adorn this paradise among many other exotic species. If you love nature, you’ll love Trebah, once rated in the top 80 gardens of the world.

The garden dates back almost 200 years. In 1831, it was bought by the Fox family who created Glendurgan Garden, which is just down the road, and the family laid it out as a meticulously planned pleasure garden. The family cared greatly for the land but sold it in 1907, with the new owners also lavishing much attention on it.

It fell into decline between 1939 and 1981 – but one important piece of battle history happened here as, during the Second World War, the land was used for military purposes. The D-Day assault on Normandy’s Omaha Beach in 1944 was launched from the beach at the foot of the garden. A memorial slab to those who lost their lives in the assault stands here. From 1981, Tony and Eira Hibbert bought Trebah and put an incredible amount of energy into restoring the garden for future generations. It opened to the public in 1987 and has now been run by the Trebah Garden Trust charity for many years.

If you want to visit Trebah, check the opening times as the attraction is closed on Thursdays and Fridays. The Trebah Kitchen, with its locally-first, thoughtful menus, and the Boathouse Beach Café, serving coffees and ice cream down on the beach, demand to be sampled too after you’ve spent a few hours admiring some of the most alluring exotic plants in the British Isles at this magical garden.