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England's West Country Gardens, Devon and Cornwall


Tropical Gardens in England?!

8 days from London

Overviewicon Itineraryicon

This is a suggested tour itinerary for private departures, adjustable to best suit your specific wishes. Price based on how many travelers, your chosen package inclusions and your chosen level of accommodation.


This tour begins and ends in London.




Logistical Note: Cornwall is somewhat of a remote part of England and, via quaint rural roads, involves a bit more driving than some other regional itineraries, with a few longish days. We strive to present an itinerary balanced overall by spending several leisurely days in one base. The stunning landscapes throughout are surely worth the journey!

Day 1

​We depart our London meeting point at approximately 09:00 and begin with a guided walk around one of the world's top gardens. The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is a lavish 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kew is home to the world's largest collection of living plants, more than 30,000 different kinds! Kew Gardens originated as the exotic garden at Kew Park in 1759 and remains as a 'must-see' destination for garden lovers. We'll experience the highlights of this wonderful property including the Alpine Gardens, Japanese gardens, The Great Pagoda and Treetop Walkway to name a few.


Later, a rare bit of motorway driving will speed us towards the scenic Dartmoor Moors, our first overnight location.


Overnight: Dartmoor Moors

Suggested Property: Two Bridges or The Bedford

Day 2

The atmospheric and brooding Dartmoor Moors is our destination today. We can go on the trail of the great Sherlock Holmes detective case The Hound of the Baskervilles, settings on the moors, and perhaps uncover the real life dark legend that inspired the best-selling novel. If we’re lucky, we may see some of the famed Dartmoor ponies too! There are a few small garden gems to explore, subject to availability, such as The Garden House.


During the day visit Castle Drogo, the last ‘castle’ to be built in England and probably the last private house in the country to be built entirely of granite. Home and formal gardens were designed by famed architect Edwin Lutyens, plantings by George Dillistone. The gardens here provide a striking setting on the edge of the Moors, noted for its rhododendrons, herbaceous borders circular grass tennis court now used for croquet and the sunken rose gardens.


Overnight: Dartmoor Moors, same property as above

Day 3

A full day heading into Cornwall! Eden Project is the progressive endeavor located in an old disused quarry. Its aim is to demonstrate as many aspects of the world’s bio-diversity as is possible, in the correct ecological context. The actual site looks like a moon settlement with its massive glass pods.


The Lost Gardens of Helligan is definitely on our agenda today. This amazing place represents Europe’s largest restoration project with over 80 acres of award winning landscape, a super walled garden of exotic fruit and 22 acre ‘jungle.’


Evenings in Falmouth are opened for individuals to dine as they choose. SGT Recommends Falmouth's Rick Stein's Seafood (Reservations subject to availability & highly recommended! OR guests can enjoy take away fish & chips.) Our hotel also offers a restaurant for those wishing a low key evening.

OVERNIGHT: Falmouth area

Suggested Property: St Michaels, Penmere Manor, Penmorvah Manor or similar, http://www.penmeremanorhotel.co.uk/ http://www.penmorvah.co.uk/the-hotel.php  https://www.stmichaelshotel.co.uk/contact-and-directions/

Day 4

Today and tomorrow we will explore the amazing gardens around the Falmouth area of Cornwall. We are certainly spoilt for choice in this amazing ‘tropical’ corner of England! There are a wide variety of gardens to choose from and your guide will take ‘soundings’ from participants and will try to mould our time around guest interest as well as weather conditions.


We will certainly have time in Trebah Gardens. Trebah is a uniquely beautiful, wooded 25 acre sub-tropical ravine garden with its own beach on the beautiful Helford River. It is the wild and magical result of 160 years of inspired and dedicated creation. Maybe, if feeling adventurous, the group could take a ferry from Trebah to Glendurgan to explore the subtropical gardens and laurel maze dating from 1833?


OVERNIGHT: Falmouth area, same property as above

Day 5

Another day spent exploring Cornwall Gardens. Today we are spoilt for choice! The garden touring options include Carwinion, a 12 acre Victorian property, home to one of the most spectacular national collections of bamboo in the country. Lanterns in a tiny gem, bursting with fragrance and colour and there’s Trelissick, perched on the Fal Estuary, boasting jaw-dropping views and a huge array of plant species. We also have the stunning coast and nearby estuary villages to explore.


OVERNIGHT: Falmouth area, same property as above

Day 6 ND

Full day around Falmouth independently – explore the art museums, meander the seaside, enjoy the antique and other local boutique shopping opportunities, visit Tudor Pendennis Castle or perhaps a ferry ride across to scenic St Mawes for some coastal walking. Maybe a spa treatment at our hotel and a leisurely lunch at a waterfront café would best suit. How you spend your day is up to you!


OVERNIGHT: Falmouth area, same property as above

Day 7

This morning will be spent discovering the quaint fishing villages of the north Cornwall and Devon coast. Our options include Port Isaac of TV show Doc Martin fame, Boscastle with its Arthur and Thomas Hardy connections, and rugged Tintagel Castle, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur, scenically placed high on top of the wild cliffs accessible only by steep walking.


RHS Rosemoor, created and given to the Royal Horticultural Society in 1988 by Lady Anne Berry, is a magnificent garden that has been developed into a joyous 65 acres of gardens and woodlands. Highlights include Herb and Cottage Gardens, a Potager, a Fruit and Vegetable Garden, two beautiful Rose Gardens, a Foliage and Plantsman's Garden.


OVERNIGHT: Barnstaple area

Suggested Property: Barnstaple Hotel or similar

Day 8

Via the landscape of the Exmoor Moors, we will pay a visit to the charming Victorian country house, Knightshays Court. The gardens here feature lily pools, floral borders, amusing topiary and a newly restored kitchen garden.


Also today, Stourhead Gardens, featuring one of the world's finest 18th Century landscape gardens including a magnificent lake, classical temples, enchanting grottos plus rare and exotic trees. The Temple of Apollo here was featured in a memorable scene between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice and should be recognizable to fans.


Return to London this evening.



Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times beyond our control.


Please note that your final day to day itinerary may fluctuate to accommodate variable opening times/days for listed attractions, special events and places of interest. Please discuss your needs with us for an individual itinerary with rate quote.


Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.


What Your Tour Package Includes

This is a suggested tour itinerary and can be modified to best you your individual wishes.


Suggested tour package includes: # of touring days with vehicle & exclusive services of your driver/guide/companion, your accommodation for # nights while on the tour including full breakfasts, all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide. Your price also can include dinners and/or entrance fees to attractions or these items can be left out of the up front package/to be paid directly for maximum flexibility. Airport transfers, accommodation pre and post tour, scheduled city day tours/attraction passes/transport passes or theatre/event tickets can be added to your package as you wish, subject to availability.


SGT is at your service!

Mapicon Why SGT?icon

The Special Group Tours Advantage is our unique and intimate understanding of what you expect traveling in the UK and Europe. We have not only visited but have spent many years living in and loving the cultures you will experience down the ‘B’ Roads and off the beaten track. We have worked with local suppliers and our guide/companion team for over a decade, creating unique special interest itineraries. Special Group Tours offers our “insider” knowledge to you.


The SGT Small Group Touring Concept is traveling with just 4 - 14 guests per departure. It is our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of a standardized route and treating you as an individual and not a number. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility to get off the beaten track to discover hidden gems. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too!


At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!