9th to 12th April 2019:
A preview of spring in Cornwall’s valley woodland gardens meandering down to sheltered creeks.

A garden tour hosted by Annie Guilfoyle: regular Gardens Illustrated contributor, award-winning designer, writer, lecturer and international garden show judge; accompanied by expert garden tour leader, Dr Sophie Piebenga with one day in the company of Charles Fox who will relate the story of the Fox family gardens in Cornwall.

The Cornish peninsula is famous for sheltered woodland gardens harbouring important collections of magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons, palms, tree ferns and many other exotic plant groups that predominantly flower in the spring accompanied by carpets of wild spring flowers. Most of these gardens are found to the south of the peninsula where valley gardens lead down to secluded creeks warmed by the Gulf Stream. The wonder and magnificence of Cornish gardens is made possible by this unique microclimate as well as the prosperity of estates created from the seventeenth centuries funded by local tin-mining and porcelain production. This all coincided with the arrival into Britain of large quantities of exciting new plant specimens collected by botanists travelling to the far-flung regions or the world.  To immerse yourself in the splendour of these outstanding woodland gardens, come prepared with stout footwear and the ability to walk around the expansive valley gardens. We stay at Olga Polizzi’s renowned Tresanton Hotel, a haven of beauty and peace where guests enjoy comfort, fresh local cuisine and traditional, unobtrusive service. All rooms have stunning views across the sea towards St Anthony’s lighthouse with the opportunity to stroll into light-filled St Mawes, one of the prettiest fishing villages in Cornwall.


Day 1: Tuesday 9th April
The first garden visit is to Tregrehan, home to the Carlyon family since 1565. Jovey Carlyon’s passion for trees during the late 19th century is evident today. Beneath the established canopy we find Gillian Carlyon’s renowned collection of camellias. In quiet rebellion, weaving though the garden we find the botanical collection of the current owner that reflect the great diversity of the world’s flora.  We then drive on to Tresanton Hotel with time to settle before an evening meal together with wine included.

Day 2: Wednesday 10th April
The Fox family started a successful shipping agency in Falmouth in the 18th century and established many important gardens in the region. We are delighted to have Charles Fox of Glendurgan to show us three of these outstanding gardens and to relate how they were initiated and developed by his family.  Penjerrick is the earliest of the valley gardens created in the 19th century by Robert Were Fox and his children Barclay and Anna Maria Fox. Trebah was developed by the younger brother of Robert Were Fox and now has one of the most stunning vistas of all Cornish gardens, down through the valley gardens to the Helford estuary. At Glendurgan we are invited to lunch with Charles and Caroline Fox before being shown this remarkable garden initially developed by Alfred Fox, another brother of Robert Were Fox. Return to Hotel Tresanton where we dine together in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3: Thursday 11th April
We start the day with a special visit to Caerhays Castle. With fine collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias, Caerhays has been justly regarded as one of the most important plantsman’s gardens in Cornwall. A light lunch is included in a local inn before we drive together to Trewithen. Head Gardener, Gary Long will take us to the main lawn and beautiful, intricately planted vista, followed by free time to explore. We then return to Tresanton Hotel where again we dine together in the hotel restaurant.

Day 4: Friday 12th April
On our final day we have a special visit to Tregothan, home of the Boscawen family since the 14th century, grounds and house originally designed by Humphry Repton and later remodelled to expand vistas to the River Fal. The extensive woodland garden is stocked with exotic and unusual species collected on expeditions from the 19th century to the present day. There is a new camellia maze and thriving tea plantation that supplies teas of the highest quality to exclusive London markets. A light lunch is included at Tregothnan. Return to St Austell Railway Station for 14:30 or continue by coach to Bristol Parkway to arrive about 18:30. We can also arrange for a transfer back to the hotel for those who have left their cars or wish to extend their stay.

How much & what’s included

The price per person: £2295

Single supplement: £450 per person (levied by the hotel)

The price includes: three nights dinner, bed and breakfast at Tresanton Hotel; three evening meals with wines at the hotel plus three lunches, including a special invitation to lunch at Glendurgan House with Charles and Caroline Fox, and all transportation from Bristol Parkway or St Austell Railway Stations. The price does not include extras at the hotel, or travel insurance. Please note that Boxwood Tours use hotels of character featuring a variety of rooms & styles.

Joining Arrangements: You can either join the tour at Bristol Parkway at 10:30 and travel to Cornwall by coach or take the train to St Austell Rail Station to join the coach at 14:15. Alternatively, if you wish to take your own car to the hotel we will arrange a transfer to join the group at the first garden. On the last day, return to St Austell Rail Station for 14:30 or continue by coach to Bristol Parkway to arrive c.18:30. We can also arrange transfers to the hotel for those who have left their cars or wish to extend their stay.


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