There aren’t many more spectacular gardens in the country to visit than the Caerhays Castle Gardens at this time of year.
Tucked away on the sheltered south coast of Cornwall, the winding drive through the Cornish lanes of the Roseland Peninsula leads you into a world of peaceful farmland and luscious green valleys – and, once you arrive at at Porthluney Beach car park, soft sand and sparkling seas.
From there, the gentle walk up to the castle is the perfect prelude to your arrival. As you approach, the castle nestles in colourful woodland in front of you, with the tranquil lake down the slope to your right.
Dripping with beautiful, fragrant blooms throughout the spring season, the estate is 120 acres of wonderful Grade II listed woodland and gardens that are populated with historic plants brought to Cornwall from China by adventurous plant collectors a hundred years ago.
There are plenty of strategically placed benches dotted on walkways, so you can pause to drink in the spectacular views, and listen to the birdsong drifting through the trees.
With a variety of different trails winding through the slopes behind the castle, there’s a beautiful surprise around every corner – here a majestic magnolia, there a dramatic rhododendron, or a delicate azalea – and plenty more.
It’s a constantly shifting palette of colour: as one plant’s flowering finishes, another is springing into bloom somewhere else – so there’s something new to look at every time you visit.
When you’ve had your fill of the flowers, you can pause for refreshment at the Magnolia Tea rooms for a delicious sweet or savoury treat – and if you’ve been inspired by the gardens and are keen to get green fingered at home, there’s a shop where a range of plants are available for sale.
If you’re anything like us, it’s very hard to say no to a walk on the beach … especially if it’s right there! Porthluney beach and its near neighbour West Portholland are both quiet, unspoilt linked by the Roseland Heritage Coast section of South West Coast Path.
We were lucky enough to visit on a perfectly bright, still morning last month – and we can’t wait to go again. It’s a spring garden and closes in June – so don’t miss this year’s spectacular spring display!