Cornwall's Flower Power!

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  • Springtime chillout at Driftwood
    Springtime chillout at Driftwood
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan
    The Lost Gardens of Heligan
  • St Mawes harbour views from Tresanton
    St Mawes harbour views from Tresanton

Things will soon be in full bloom in cliffy Cornwall.

SPRING IS FINALLY IN FULL BLOOM, and where better to get a whiff of early summer than Cornwall? It's the first place in Britain to see the seasons change, thanks to the warming Gulf Stream – and it’s home to some of Britain's most colourful gardens.

World-famous for its 19th century botanical gardens, neglected after the First World War but restored in the 1990s, The Lost Gardens of Heligan in St Austell are thankfully very easy to find. Taking their name from the Cornish word helygen (willow tree), the gardens are ablaze with bright rhododendrons and camellias in May and June.

Equally well-designed is the nearby Hotel Tresanton, re-imagined by stylish hotelier Olga Polizzi after the building started life as a yachtsman’s club in the picturesque fishing village of St Mawes.

Also nearby, in Truro, Trelissick Gardens are set on a tranquil peninsula on the River Fal surrounded by woodland. This unusual garden features old farm buildings and stunning views of the water throughout the wooded grounds.

If sea views are your tonic, they can be served up alongside a Michelin-starred meal at clifftop Driftwood Hotel  where rooms overlook Gerrans Bay, near the pretty villages of Portscatho and St Mawes.

Heading inland to Bodryn you’ll find the best of the UK’s Victorian stately homes at Lanhydrock, where oak and beech trees dominate the estate.

Looking for something more exotic? Head across the water to the Isles of Scilly and the famious Abbey Gardens on Tresco. They bring a touch of the Mediterranean to our shores, boasting plants from as far afield as New Zealand and South Africa, which thrive here in the island’s warm microclimate. Get a taste of island living over on quiet Bryher at Hell Bay hotel. Cornwall and the Scilly Isles are simply heaven for flower lovers.

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