Nowhere does spring quite as well as Cornwall when it comes to wild flowers, benefitting as it does from a warmer climate that’s semi-tropical in places - creating the perfect biome for some glorious gardens. It’s first to spot the tiny bobbing heads of snowdrops amongst the grass in January, the startling purples and yellows of crocuses and nodding daffodils in February, and the comforting pale butter-coloured primroses that nestle together in clumps in the hedgerows around Easter.
These spring flowers are all beautiful, but it’s the joyous blanketing of deep purplish-blue native bluebells that reminds us that warmer months have arrived. The delicate bluebell thrives in huge swathes in open spaces and dappled woodlands across Cornwall, and are a wonder to behold.
Here, we’ve put together our favourite spots to visit these natural beauties, sure to be a highlight of any holiday in Cornwall.
Enys Gardens, Penryn
St Gluvias, Penryn TR10 9LB
Dog friendly Enys Gardens is one of the most famous spots in Cornwall for bluebell-spotting and has its own Bluebell Festival from the 30th April – 8th May. Situated a few miles east of Penryn near Falmouth, this lovely garden, whose ancient buildings are gradually being restored, has over 30 acres of gardens to explore. At its centre lies Parc Lye, a sweeping open meadow where a massive swathe of bluebells are simply breathtaking. You will need to book tickets for this event. Enys is open on Sundays and Mondays, April to September (as well as some additional days in the summer holidays) – but open daily throughout the Bluebell Festival.
Godolphin Estate, Helston
Godolphin Cross, Helston TR13 9RE
With a history dating back to the Bronze Age, Godolphin, situated near Helston, has a stunning Grade I listed house and listed farm buildings from the 1400s, as well as an incredible Grade II listed medieval garden that’s considered to be one of the most important in Cornwall. Covering over 500 acres, take to the path that winds through the magical bluebell woods before enjoying a cream tea in the Piggery tea room.
Treffry Lane, Bodmin PL30 4AB
Managed by the National Trust, Lanhydrock is a stunning Jacobean house and grounds near Bodmin. Offering a glimpse into the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ way of life, the house is fascinating to explore, whilst the magnificent 17th century garden is full of colour all year around. The wider wooded estate offers plenty of space to roam and is blanketed in bluebells in late spring, from the estate entrance all the way down to the River Fowey.
Tehidy Woods, Camborne
Tehidy, Camborne TR14 0TS
Tehidy Woods has over 250 acres of woodland and lakes in central Cornwall, with nine miles of pathways to explore for free. It’s particularly lovely in late spring when the bluebells flower amongst the trees, making it an enchanting walk. With a café, picnic area and well-kept paths, this is a great spot for families and wheelchairs. Watch out for the squirrels too, who are so tame they’ll eat from your hand!
Ten Acre Wood, Polmoria
Nestled not far from Wadebridge, this restored, semi-natural woodland is a firm favourite for bluebell spotting. Head along the Polmorla River where there’s a bluebell walk amongst the magnificent oak and ash trees. A wonderful spot for a picnic, there’s also a forest school here and a woodland play area for little ones.
Bonython Gardens, Helston
Cury Cross Lanes, Helston TR12 7BA
Situated on the Lizard and benefitting from the warmer climate of the far south, this lovely garden is a must for those seeking a tranquil escape. The estate gardens are extremely impressive with an 18th century walled garden, orchard and potager which have been beautifully restored in recent years to include a contemporary water feature. You’ll find the bluebells past the parkland and in the wooded valley, jostling for space amongst the wild garlic and rhododendrons, and overlooking a tranquil lake. Please check the website for seasonal opening hours.
Trelissick Gardens, Truro
Feock, near Truro TR3 6QL
For an abundance of open space, head to Trelissick, close to Truro, which stakes prime position on its own peninsula overlooking the Fal estuary. The eco-friendly garden is dotted with features such as summerhouses, riverside woodland walks and pretty parkland, while the gardens themselves comprise of the main lawn, Cornish orchard and tennis lawn. Then there’s the 300 acres of surrounding countryside to explore, with the woodland path area the best spot for bluebells although you’ll find them throughout the grounds too.
Penrose Estate, Helston
Penrose, Helston TR13 0RD
Nestled on the coast, this wooded estate close to Porthleven wraps itself around Loe Pool, the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall that’s cut off from the sea by a huge shingle bar. There’s over 17 miles of paths and trails to explore here, plus a lovely walled garden and café at its heart. In early May, sweeping bluebells can be glimpsed amongst the trees, whilst if you’re in Helston on Flora Day on the 8th May, you’ll find doors and shop fronts adorned with bluebells and contrasting gorse.
Antony Woodland Garden, nr Torpoint
Ferry Lane, Torpoint PL11 2QA
A real hidden gem, this lovely garden is situated next to the National Trust property Antony House. Spread over 100 acres, it’s a gorgeous corner of south east Cornwall that’s often overlooked. A member of the ‘Great British Gardens’, the garden is split into three sections; The Wilderness, West Down and the Woodland Walk. Take the riverside path from the Wilderness into the ‘cathedral’ of trees, where you’ll find a cacophony of bluebells jostling for space with the wild garlic across the woodland floor.
Pencarrow House and Gardens, Bodmin
Pencarrow, Bodmin PL30 3AG
Pencarrow House and Gardens is a privately run, Georgian estate near Bodmin with a Grade II listed garden, Iron Age fort, and over 50 acres of land to explore; whose woods are carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic in May and June. Owned by the same family for almost 500 years, this dog friendly stately home is open for private tours and has a children’s play area, café and gift shop.
Glendurgan, nr Falmouth
Mawgan Smith, Falmouth TR11 5JZ
A tranquil, jungle-like garden made up of three valleys and a stunning sheltered beach await at Gledurgan, situated close to Falmouth. A stunning mix of exotic and native plants, there’s plenty to explore here, from the almost 200-year old year-old cherry laurel maze, Camellia Walk, the Holy Bank and the vast selection of incredible plants – from giant rhubarb to huge tulip trees all fringing the beautiful beachside town of Durgan on the Helford River. In May, bluebells cover the floor beneath the blooming rhododendrons, creating a colourful display on the walk down to the hamlet of Durgan.
Looe Valley, Duloe
This picturesque valley is well worth a visit when holidaying in south Cornwall near Looe. With a circular walk along a public bridleway just above the Looe River and Looe Valley railway, you’ll discover banks of bluebells and wild garlic which often start blooming before the daffodils and primroses have passed. You can park at Tregarland Bridge near Sandplace to join the path that’s perfect for walks with your dog in tow.