Whilst researching things to do in Cornwall I came across The Lost Gardens of Heligan and basically fell in love with the idea of visiting Cornwall’s only outdoor jungle. Any place that has lots of space for Henry to runaround in, and lots of photo opportunities for me is a go for me.
We spent a lovely sunny afternoon exploring all they had to offer at The Lost Gardens of Heligan and had so much fun, and a whole lot of photos.
So the main feature of the gardens in the Sunken Jungle which is the most beautiful collection of footpaths and bridges, a stream and jungle plants. You couldn’t walk far without finding bamboo or ferns growing, and the blossom trees were an absolute treat. I spent a lot of time wishes my Rhododendron would grow as well as the ones in the Sunken Garden.
The area is all kitted out with steps, or wooden decking to move around the entire sunken garden, but mind that some areas of the decked flooring are quite steep, especially if you go anti-clockwise round the loop like we did! However, don’t let this deter you from bringing little ones. Although we used our carrier, we saw plenty of pushchairs navigating the route quite easily as the main loop is well suited for wheels, you just might have a push on your hands getting back up to the top. There is also a buggy park for your to use if you want to.
Henry thoroughly loved exploring all the sunken sections, and jumping between rocks, and we could easily have spent hours in this section.
Probably the biggest tourist attraction of the Gardens is their Burmese Rope Bridge, which is one of the longest in Britain. Of course it is the perfect Instagram and photo location, so expect queues in busier times. We were very fortunate to get to the bridge whilst it was really quiet. We only had to wait a few minutes for some other visitors to finish getting across the bridge before it was clear for us, and no one was waiting behind us.
Unfortunately they don’t advise children under the age of 5 to cross the bridge, and although Henry tried it was quite easy to see why. It is perfectly safe, with an additional safety net laced along the bottom of the bridge, but it does bounce and Henry just didn’t have the strength to get himself across. Dann absolutely loved going across, and I did a quick photo before running around with Henry to meet Dann and Dexter on the other side. The bridge was unmanned, although I don’t know if this is the case in the holidays when it would absolutely be much busier.
The main estate gardens are equally as beautiful as the sunken garden and are a veritable maze of working gardens and hidden footpaths through the trees.
Both boys were getting tired at this point as this was towards the end of our route, so we missed out on seeing the Kitchen Garden which is a shame as I would have loved to see lots of home grown veggies. But the wisteria arch and leaning tree trunks did make up for it. And the amazing Cornish Rhubarb and Salted Caramel ice cream we got as we left was incredible. Honestly, no other ice cream compares!
The Lost Gardens of Heligan do cater especially for kids. Outside of their organised activities – they do special events in the half terms – they also have a farm section, and a play area which is made up from carved fallen trees. It’s one of the most sustainable play areas I’ve ever seen and I was obsessed!
So what else do you need to know?
Entry isn’t the cheapest, but actually is totally worth it. You could very easily spend an entire day here, and their kitchens looked amazing for dining. Their gift shop was also excellent, and yet again I’m amazed at my own restraint in not buying ALL the plants. I’m actually totally impressed with the gift shops we’ve seen in Cornwall, even the Eden Projects was awesome.
Parking is free outside the Gardens, and they have an overflow carpark for the holidays when it obviously gets very busy.
To be honest, I’m actually a little gutted that we live so far away because I would happily spend a lot of weekends here. It’s absolutely worth a visit if you’re in Cornwall.
As a mother who loves to travel, I’d love to take Henry on a trip to Disneyland Paris someday. The trip won’t be cheap, but I’ve learned that I can buy or rent a Disney Vacation Club timeshare on the DVC Resale Market at a steeply discounted price.