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England's West Country Gardens, Devon and Cornwall


Tropical Gardens in England!

9 - 10 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 around a lovely garden touring into Cornwall today!


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.


Evenings in Falmouth offer a wide range of dining options! SGT Recommends Falmouth's Rick Stein's Seafood (Reservations subject to availability & highly recommended! OR guests can enjoy take away fish & chips.) Your tour hotel also offers a restaurant for those wishing a low key evening and there is a variety of restaurants. Many feature freshly caught local seafood!

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, explore the amazing gardens around the Falmouth area. 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 be able to suggest ideas based on your specific interests as well as weather conditions.


Certainly you will want to spend 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. Also today, Glendurgan is the subtropical gardens with a laurel maze dating from 1833.


OVERNIGHT: Falmouth area, same property as above

Day 5

Another day spent exploring Cornwall Gardens. Today you are spoilt for choice! Typically one can have a leisurely day around 2 garden properties or quick visits to 3 gardens. This is a private/custom trip so the pace is up to you. It is also possible to add another day in Cornwall to maximize your touring time in this lovely region. Just ask us for ideas.


The Lost Gardens of Helligan is definitely on our agenda. 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.’


Some other garden touring options near Falmouth 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. Perhaps you would enjoy a private tour of England’s only tea plantation at Tregothnan (special entrance/subject to availability.)


Yet another option is a half or full day 'cooking from the garden' experience. Learn to cook Cornwall in a Day with Cornish chef at Philleigh Way, a family operated farmhouse kitchen and garden (subject to availability on your chosen travel dates.) On this special event day you would: enjoy a welcome coffee/tea, a glass of Prosecco mid-morning and wine with lunch. Also enjoy a classic Cornish afternoon tea with jam, scones and home-made clotted cream with a cup of Cornish Tregothnan tea and depart with a bag full of Cornish delicacies prepared by you during the day. The full day course includes five demonstrations and three practical sessions. A sample menu of your cooking session includes an authentic Cornish Pasty, Dressed Brown Crab, Saffron Buns, Hog’s pudding and real clotted cream.


The stunning coast and nearby estuary villages will be explored as part and parcel of this lovely day, no matter what attractions/activities you choose.


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. Another option is lunch in famed Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant in Padstow (subject to availability.) 


Further north is the quaint village of Clovelly, a tiny and beautiful harbour village where no vehicles are permitted. The picturesque cobbled steps into the village open into inspiring views. Donkeys are still used to deliver goods down the cobbled hillside to the locals! There are art shops, the donkey stables and a fisherman cottage to visit. Here too is Clovelly Court, a Victorian kitchen garden with glasshouses and charming orchard. (Note that access is steep into the village but there is a Land Rover transfer possible for those that require such.)


OVERNIGHT: Barnstaple area

Suggested Property: Barnstaple Hotel or similar

Day 8

Another big garden day out in the West Country today!


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.


Tapley Park has been home to the Christie family for 2 centuries, here since the times of the Domesday Book, the property came of age in the Victorian era thanks to Lady Rosamund Christie. The Tapeley Park grounds are renowned for their beautiful gardens, particularly the Italian terraces, and include a lake, ponds, old woodland and a number of fields where a herd of Highland cattle graze. As well as a sizeable organic vegetable garden, Tapeley Park has one of the oldest permaculture gardens in the UK. Sustainability is a key theme throughout the property.


OVERNIGHT: Barnstaple area

Suggested Property: Barnstaple Hotel or similar

Day 9

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!

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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!