The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. The style of the gardens is typical of the nineteenth century Gardenesque style, with areas of different character and in different design styles.
The gardens were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family, over a period from the mid-18th century up to the beginning of the 20th century, and still form part of the family's Heligan estate. The gardens were neglected after the First World War, and only restored in the 1990s, a restoration that was the subject of several popular television programmes and books.
The gardens now boast a fabulous collection of aged and colossal rhododendrons and camellias, a series of lakes fed by a ram pump over a hundred years old, highly productive flower and vegetable gardens, an Italian garden, and a stunning wild area filled with primaeval-looking sub-tropical tree ferns called "The Jungle". The gardens also have Europe's only remaining pineapple pit, warmed by rotting manure, and two figures made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant's Head.
Needing a getaway to recover from a really pressurized winter, we opted to stay at the Hoops for three nights in March. The weather was wonderful, but it was tempting to stay in - our room was under the thatch in the oldest part of the hotel and featured fireplace, panelling, stained glass and a very comfy half-tester bed with tapestry hangings. Window seats and a top-notch en-suite completed the picture. It's very quiet, despite fronting the road.? The inn itself had very friendly staff for whom nothing was too much trouble, a cosy bar and a restaurant, both with lots of nooks for a secluded meal. The bar menu was comprehensive and the restaurant fare stylish - but we found we could mix and match from both menus no matter where we decided to eat. There is a characterful 'snug' and a library space too. Breakfast was gargantuan - a huge choice of dishes including local kippers and smoked haddock with poached eggs, and as a touch of luxury at no extra cost smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.
?We loved it all and would go back again any time!? A stream runs through the garden, and wild birds keep you entertained. It's a great place to tour from, coast and moor and historic towns all within easy reach.?It's not cheap as a one-off at a published rate around £200 a room per night with breakfast, but there are often good deals to be had for three night stays: we paid a total of £195 B&B for three nights in a 'best' room.
- via Tripadvisor