Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

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Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

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Review of "Trebah Gardens, Cornwall"

published 02/09/2017 | LiveMusicLoverLyn
Member since : 23/03/2014
Reviews : 904
Members who trust : 116
About me :
:( So sad and will miss you all. Posting and rating to the end as a few days off work. Thanks for all the reads & rates, much appreciated esp E rates, every E I give is well deserved. Ciao for now everyone.....
Pro Fairly accesible, dog friendly, atmosphere, beach
Cons Built in a steep valley, so a level of fitness needed and not much for kids.
Is it worth visiting?
Transport links
Family Friendly

"~ Trebah Garden ~A sub-tropical paradise ~"

C Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

C Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

*~*~* Trebah Garden *~*~*

During the summer heat wave at the end of June early July in 2017 we were enjoying a holiday staying in South Cornwall and one of our favourite attractions turned out to be Trebah Gardens near Mawnan Smith and here is my review that I hope does it justice.

Trebah Garden is a sub-tropical garden that is rated among the top 80 finest gardens in the world. The garden has a long and interesting history that dates right back to the Doomsday book, at which time it belonged to the Bishop of Exeter later passing through the hands of many noble Cornish families for centuries. An 1813 Ordnance Survey map shows the gardens as wooded valley. The garden as it is today was pioneered by wealthy Quaker Charles Fox who began creating the 26 acres of pleasure garden almost 200 years ago. Trebah has passed through various hands since and even played a key role in the wars. Racing driver and designer Donald Healey bought the property after the second world war and restored the beach and built a boat house. Jump forward a few years and since 1990 Trebah is owned by the Trebah Garden Trust, an independent registered charity, with the key objective to “preserve, enhance and re-create…for the enjoyment of the public” Trebah Garden.

There is an 18C Georgian House that is in private use and not generally open to the public at the top of the garden and you can imagine that the view from the upstairs down over the garden and out to sea would be spectacular. There is however a function room available to hire for up to 40 guests at the house.


Where Exactly is Trebah:

Trebah Garden Trust,
Mawnan Smith,
Nr Falmouth
Cornwall, TR11 5JZ
Tel 01326 252200

On the map Trebah is to the left of Falmouth and situated between Mawnan Smith and Helford Passage the garden is about 3 minutes from the former on the road that joins the two and can be found on the left hand side after a cross roads and Glendurgan Garden.

Travel by bus and you are entitled to half price entry to the garden on presentation of your bus ticket. Trebah do advise you to inform the bus driver that you wish to be collected from the Trebah stop at the end of your visit.


Opening Hours:

Every day from 10am until 5pm with last entry at 4pm.


Costs (2017):

1st March to the end October:
Adult £10.00 or £11.00 with gift aid.
Senior/Student: £.9.00 or £9.90 with gift aid.
Children from 5 – 15 years £4.00 or £4.40 (realistically not many children pay tax).
Under 5’s free.

The gift aid additional £1 you pay is worth £3.75 to the charity for and adult and £3.38 for a senior/student. I guess if a parent who is a tax payer pays for the child and selects the gift aid option that 40p is worth £1.50 to them.

And 1st November to 28th February:
Adult £4.95 with gift aid £4.50 without
Senior/student £4.40 and £4.00
Children £1.65 and £1.50 with under 5’s free.

There is also an annual pass that represents good value if you live nearby.

Entry rates for people who are less able, disabled and for their Carers is often half the standard full Adult admission rate per person.

RHS Members have free entry from 1 November o 31 March

National Trust members enjoy half price entry from 1 November to 28 February

There is a reciprocal arrangement whereby members of Eden, Heligan, National Maritime Museum and Tate St Ives enjoy free entry during the month of November each year.

Dogs on leads are welcome all year round free of charge.



The site is undulating and eventually all tracks lead down to the sea. Trebah have surfaced and clearly marked special routes some of them one way to allow access to approximately 80% of the gardens when using a motorised wheelchair or one of the free of charge at Trebah Tramper all-terrain mobility scooters. Users will need to attend a short training session the first time they use a Tramper, but after that they can be used wherever available at tourist locations in the South West. There are two at Trebah bookable for three hour slots and booking in advance is recommended. None motorised wheelchairs are not recommended.

There are nine disabled parking spaces for badge holders near to our Visitor Centre and there is a modern fully adapted unisex toilet in the Visitor Centre.

For able bodied visitors the paths are well laid out and marked, although sometimes steep, narrow and occasionally include steps. Due to the location in a steep valley a reasonable level of fitness is recommended to get the most from the garden, but there is no time restriction and plenty of resting places, often with spectacular views.


Why Trebah:

Some places are special, some are just nice, some seem to ooze a kind of special atmosphere and for me Trebah is such a place. Yes, we’ve done Eden, looked around several National Trust Gardens and visited Botanical Gardens overseas, but before Trebah we were not garden visitors as such, as I imply that might now change and it will be interesting to see how others compare.


Our Visits:

On arrival at the garden the entrance is clearly marked and the semi surfaced car park easy to find and navigate, there is a grass overflow car park as well. The disabled spaces are easy to see, being as near as possible to the entrance.

There is a short walk to the entrance and by the time you get to the building you are in a tropical area, with trees overhanging and lush healthy plants in the beds around you. Purchasing the tickets is easy, with only a short wait and friendly staff each time we visited.

Once out into the garden it is possible to turn left and go straight down to the beach or turn right and go up hill a short way to navigate more of the garden, on our first visit we turned right and soon turned left again because we were behind a family who were arguing and it was unsettling. This though was good resulting in finding a lovely water garden to cut through and we got in front of them.

The options are many and the plants interesting, mainly because many are huge, indeed there is a huge Gunnera patch, yes huge in both the size of the plants and the area covered, the plants are so big you can walk underneath them quite comfortably. I have seen the Gunnera at Heligan and when I went a few years ago it does not compare. There are many unusual and very old trees and a large bamboo area too. Near the bottom of the garden there is a hydrangea garden near the largest lake and indeed water runs down the middle of the garden. In the large lake there are large Koi Carp and these can best be seen from the viewing platform. There are lots of pathways to explore under the canopy of the large trees and various little additions to add interest.

A recent addition is the outdoor theatre and I hope to review that separately once I have attended a production there.

There is a cafe, gift shop and garden shop and all can be accessed without paying to use the garden. We only used the garden shop, however the cafe looked very busy when we went and that is a good sign. The garden shop stocks a large array of less usual plants and is like visiting a nursery rather than a garden centre. All the plants looked healthy and the prices are very fair. They also sell a small range of planters and a few accessories inside.

We met several members of staff and volunteers during our visits and the gardens are well maintained without being pruned and crimped to within an inch.... The team were always professional and welcoming towards visitors.

For children this might not be the best day out, but there are opportunities, younger children will delight from seeing butterflies and dragonflies go past and there is fun to be had exploring under the Gunnera or in the bamboo maze. Added interest is created from a bicycle made from living bamboo and a topiary mini Nessy in one of the ponds, then of course there is the chance to see the carp in the big pond. Just encourage their imagination and who knows where it will take them.

For dogs this is a real treat, there is plenty of shade on a hot day or shelter on a wet or windy one. Dogs need to be kept on leads, after all this is a tropical botanical garden and not a town park. But our dogs enjoyed clearly themselves, walking up and down the well surfaced pathways and exploring smells and sights they’d maybe not otherwise experience.

Did I mention all paths lead to the beach? Yes, well, they do, some eventually.... The beach is accessed via a narrow concrete path next to the boat house and includes some steep steps and for that reason there is a little push chair park nearby. There are many places in the garden where you can look out to sea and the beach is sheltered and well protected being a little cove within a larger created by the mouth of the Helford river. The boat house is now an ice cream parlour and for us the best thing about this beach is that again dogs are welcome all year round. The beach has a fascinating history all of its own, so I am going to be exploring that in a separate review. But it is certainly a worthy destination at the bottom of the garden.

When we visited, we were delighted to discover that our ticket gave us access for the rest of the week. This is certainly an added bonus when staying nearby, especially if like us you have dogs because it is an interesting safe environment to exercise the dogs and there is a reasonably accessible dog friendly beach.

Subsequent visits we knew a bit about the way around and what to expect and this allowed us to explore off the beaten track a bit more and walk some of the routes from the other direction creating a differing perspective that was sometimes surprising, but always interesting.



1 Just in and already we start to see the size of the plants
2 To the right of the entrance is a lawn, the only formal lawn in the garden
3 I love the sculptural look of this tree
4 Under the Ferns
5 Looking back towards the house
6 The classic view
7 Koi Carp
8 The Garden Shop
9 The Dogs loved it too
10 Dog Friendly; demonstrating size of Gunnera leaves



We really enjoyed our visits to Trebah and will go again any opportunity we get. Indeed if I lived closer I’d without a doubt take advantage of an annual pass. We visited on very hot days were the gardens provided much welcome shelter and also during a wet morning where the gardens again provided much welcome shelter. The best way to see this garden is on a nice sunny day and include an hour or so on the beach into your visit. However, it is also a great place to visit in inclement weather and maybe just swop the beach for the cafe. An ideal escape from everyday life.





Thanks for reading

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Comments on this review

  • mumsymary published 27/11/2017
  • euphie published 23/09/2017
    e :o)
  • Violet1278 published 14/09/2017
    An excellent review. E from me.
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Product Information : Trebah Gardens, Cornwall

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Product Details

Type: Gardens

Name (First Letter): T

City: Cornwall


Listed on Ciao since: 26/08/2017