Cornwall is famed for it’s beautiful and often exotic gardens. Not all of the gardens allow dogs into the formal planted areas, but some do, and seem to genuinely welcome well-behaved dogs. Here are a few dog friendly gardens to try.
Pencarrow’s gardens are a combination of formal landscaping and woodland walks, Pencarrow’s floral season begins in March with a dazzling display of camellias and rhododendrons (more than 600 varieties in total) which bloom through the spring. Bluebells and Wild Garlic carpet the woods in May/June; the Memorial Garden provides a summer display, followed by hydrangeas, fuchsias and azaleas into the autumn. Points of interest include an Iron Age hill fort, sunken Italian Garden with a quatrefoil fountain, ice house, palm house, ancient Cornish cross, and a grotto, which is believed to have been a secret meeting place. Dogs are welcome in Pencarrow Gardens. They need to be on leads in the formal gardens and near the house but can run free in the woodland areas. They are not allowed inside the Peacock cafe, but we’ll forgive them because they get a free treat dog biscuit from the gift shop.
One of the gems in Cornwall’s horticultural heritage, Trebah Gardens slope down to the north banks of the Helford river. There are huge gunnera tunnels to be enjoyed at this time of year (June) and tumbling streams and tranquil ponds. You can also access the private beach on the riverbank. There are rhododendrons, magnolias and clouds of hydrangeas. There is also a cafe and shops filled with some really wonderful locally produced crafts, foods, and things for the garden. Dogs are welcome throughout the garden on leads.
There is a beautiful story behind these gardens, which, having been one of the finest in the country prior to WWI was left to slowly return to nature after it’s workers were sent to war. Rediscovered in 1990, the garden has been beautifully resurrected. There is the formal Italian garden, the walled gardens filled with flowers and produce now used in the tearoom and there are sweeping lawns bordered by rhododendrons. A little exploring reveals the tumbling lush vegetation of the jungle area and the beautiful plant sculptures of sleeping giants in the woodland. Dogs are very welcome here, (although not in the tearoom). In fact, Heligan have made a video for dog owners who are thinking of visiting. Click here to watch it.
Another famous Cornish project, the Eden projects boast two biomes filled with plants from all over the world. But while dogs are not allowed int he biomes (in fact it is so hot it could be unkind to take them in) they are very welcome in the rest of the gardens, and since the Eden Project opened, these gardens have flourished and had new things added to them every year. Among the things to see in the outdoor gardens you will find global allotments, an inspiration for grow your own enthusiast; The Nest, a huge climbing frame to keep the kids busy; The sensory Spiral Garden, a secret myth and folklore garden and sculptures, including a giant bumblebee and a huge wooden shop in a sea of tealeaves. There is even a special undercover dining zone for dogs and their owners near the bakery and dogs are allowed free ( one or two per person). Click here for Eden’s guide for dog owners visiting.
If you love formal gardens, Tanglewood may not be the place for you. But if you love a tumbling, beautiful array of planting which encourage wildlife and blends native planting with exotics to magical effect, you will love it. In the pond areas look out for Kingfisher, Heron, Mallards, Canadian Geese, Moorhens and Coots. You may also spot Dragonflies, Damselflies, Frogs, Toads, Newts and Lizards, amongst others. In the woodland areas Jays, Buzzards, Rooks, Snipe, Owls and Woodpecker have all been spotted alongside the usual wild birds. The woodland is a great place to run and explore. And the Gunnera provides a great place to hide. There is no formal place for refreshments, so picnics are the order of the day here and dogs are welcome on leads.
One of the few National Trust gardens which allow dogs ( even in the tearoom) Trengwainton is well worth a visit. There are cascading waterfalls tumbling through the woodland walks, The walled kitchen garden is apparently the length of Noah’s Ark; (did anyone ever measure that?) visit the tea-room and you’ll most likely eat some of the kitchen garden’s produce. Another five sections of walled gardens are crammed with tender exotic plants from around the world while other areas feature towering rhododendrons and giant tree ferns. Dogs are allowed on leads and reception supplies biodegradable bags to pick up after your pooch.
A short distance from Truro and St Austell you will find Trewithen, an historic, privately-owned Cornish estate with beautiful gardens famous for their plant hunter origins, royal connections and astonishing variety of species. Explore woodland paths bordered by champion trees, rare blooms and magical glades. Dogs are welcome on leads.