Pleasure Grounds

Once acting as both a garden for pleasure and a status of wealth, Heligan contains an intricate collection of gardens, each with their own unique plantings and atmosphere.

Italian Garden © Lorna Tremayne Heligan Gardens Ltd

Pleasure Grounds

First laid out over 200 years ago, the Pleasure Grounds reveal an unusual range of romantic structures and unexpected features, linked by a network of historic pathways and lined by a magnificent collection of historic plantings.

Come and journey across the world: stand beneath the ancient rhododendron boughs of Sikkim, walk beside Maori-carved tree ferns in New Zealand, and relax amongst the Mediterranean inspired setting of our Italian Garden.

Camellias and Rhododendrons

With historic plantings over 150 years old, the Pleasure Grounds are also home to our National Collection of ‘Camellias and Rhododendrons introduced to Heligan pre-1920’. These magnificent yet vulnerable specimens simply captivate you as they bless the gardens with a vibrant explosion of spring colour. Like many other gardens in Cornwall – both large and small – Heligan benefits from an unusually mild climate that allows its exotics to thrive. 

Look out for

  1. The Witches’ Broom

    As you enter the Northern Gardens by Flora’s Green, look up at the ancient Douglas Fir on your right. The large dark green growth protruding from its trunk is in fact a Witches’ Broom! This genetic mutation is much prized amongst bonsai enthusiasts and witches!

  2. The Northern Summerhouse

    Dating from pre-1770, this easterly facing garden is not only the perfect place for catching the morning sun, but on a clear day it offers you the most incredible views across St Austell Bay.

  3. The Sundial Garden

    In the 1896 edition of The Gardener’s Chronicle, this garden was noted to have ‘the finest herbaceous border in Britain’. In summer, its borders are once again bursting with heritage blooms and are a haven for an array of bees and butterflies. 

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