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Historic houses, castles and mines

Before we start, all of the following are run by the The National Trust or English Heritage, so we love ’em. For overseas visitors the reason we love them is that they: generally offer something for everyone; are well presented and maintained; offer sensible parking; consistent quality of café fayre (where applicable) and good loos.

Local sites first

St Mawes Castle
Facing Pendennis, its sister castle, St Mawes is considered to be one of Henry VIII’s most beautiful coastal fortresses. A free audio tour brings the castle back to life, putting you on the battlements over 450 years ago.

01326 270526

This large estate at the head of Carrick Roads, the deep water estuary of the Fal, offers a wide variety of different gardens with year-round appeal. From rare and exotic plants, camelias and rare hydrangeas to park, woodland and riverside walks Trelissick has something for every visitor. The converted Georgian stable block is now a gallery displaying the best of local art and crafts. Trelissick also plays host to a year long programme of events, including theatre and music.

Feock, nr Truro TR3 6QL
01872 862090
For a special day out visit Trelissick by river, for more details visit www.falriverlinks.co.uk

Rest of Cornwall

Cornish mines and engines
Including the Industrial Discovery Centre and two mighty beam engines,  this attraction offers three sites in one. Michell’s Engine and Taylor’s Engine – housed in its own three-storey building - are both working engines and visitors are encourage to ‘get-up-close’ with walks through the old flue tunnel and dizzying views up the 120ft chimney stack.

Pool, nr Redruth TR15 3NP
01209 315027

Godolphin – privately owned, but if you are walking the National Trust estate, you are welcome to use their facilities
Discover the beauty of Godolphin House and gardens, which offer over 700 years of Cornish history. The privately owned Grade I mansion of c1475, complete with its Elizabethan stables, lies surrounded by very early formal gardens (1500 and earlier) and lovely grounds. Lots to see and do including a displays of farm wagon; an exhibition of the restoration work to-date; American tipi, games and storytelling for the children; and an informal restaurant and shop with unusual Cornish produce. Plus, anyone who offers their facilities (loo) free to people walking the National Trust estate, is fine by us.

Godolphin Cross, Helston TR13 9RE
01736 763194

A sub-tropical valley garden running down to the Helford River. This lush and sheltered valley with carpets of native wild flowers, fine trees and rare and exotic plants was created by the Fox family in the 1820s. In addition to the beautiful gardens, the valley leads down to Durgan hamlet and beach on the banks of the Helford estuary; has a foot ferry link to and from Helford village on the other side; and for children there’s the chance to go airbourne on the Giant’s Stride and getting lost in the famous laurel maze.

Mawnan Smith, nr Falmouth TR11 5JZ
01326 250906 (opening hous only) or 01872 862090

This magnificent late Victorian country house was the atmospheric home of the Agar-Robartes family. With fifty rooms to explore including the great kitchen, evocative nursery and 17c Long Gallery with plaster ceiling depicting biblical scenes, the house provides a unique insight into the workings of a wealthy well-run household of the time. Surrounded by formal gardens within a parkland setting, Lanhydrock offers many miles of walks through woods and along the river.

Nr Bodmin PL30 5AD
01208 265950

Levant Mine and Beam Engine
A bit of a hike but well worth it to see the only steam-powered beam engine in Cornwall. Forming part of this historic mine on the cliff edge your visit could include a trip down into the underground tunnels (dry) used by the miners.

Trewelland, Pendeen, nr St Just TR19 7SX

Pendennis Castle
Journey back through 450 years of history at Pendennis, from tudor times to World War II. New for 2006: Interactive exhibition in the Royal barracks provides the perfect introduction to the history of Pendennis plus the new tea room for a Cornish cream tea.
01326 316594

St Antony’s Lighthouse
This prominent lighthouse was built in 1835 and is still operating today. The lighthouse is well worth a visit and whilst you’re there why not  explore the Old Gunnery or view sea birds from the bird hide.

St Michael’s Mount
Described as a ‘magical rocky island crowned with medieval castle and church’ this iconic island castle is still home to the St Aubyn family and the small community that live on the island. The island has a unique and extraordinary maritime garden created in terraces just above the sea, which includes ‘sub-tropical’ species. Guided tours of the gardens by arrangement. You can walk to the island via the causeway during low tide or take a motor launch when the tide comes in.

Marzion, Penzance TR17 0EF
01736 710507
Tide information: 01736 710265

Described as a ‘small and lovely architectural gem’ this beautiful Elizabethan manor house built by the famed Arundell family in 1572, offers a wealth of history both in the house and the surrounding gardens. Home of the Royalist Cival War hero, John ‘for the King’ Arundell, the manor is a wonderful example of Elizabethan architecture and includes ornate fireplaces and plaster ceilings; a 576-pane Great Hall window and decorative Dutch gables. ‘Secluded and intimate’ the manor is just a stone’s throw from the modern world yet miles away in spirit.

Kestle Mill, nr Newquay TR8 4PG
01637 875404

          Galleries and museums

          • Theatres and cinemas

          • Gardens




Roseland Holiday Barns is run by Maxine and Peter Little, Roseland Holiday Barns, Voskelly Barn, St Mawes, Truro Cornwall TR2 5AB.