I only discovered South West Cornwall three years ago. I have been each spring since. Some crazy quaker dudes set up some EXTRAORDINARY gardens down there over a hundred years ago and they have reached perfection long after the death of their founders. Some are still in the same family that started them, some are owned by the National Trust. My favorites have not been got by the National Trust yet.
There is Trebah for example
Just one of the many lush places that are tucked away down here. It is just not possible to see all the best gardens in a week.
We even got to Tresco for the day in Scilly.
I took the boyfriend and the 16yr old. Asking her if she wanted to come with us for a week in Cornwall hanging out in gardens she responded "Cornwall, with pensioners. Hmm. Ok!"
The fantastic thing about a lot of these places is that they are EMPTY. You can have all the glorious rhododendrons, azaleas and camelias to yourself whilst everyone else is at The Eden Project or Helligan (neither of which I have visited and both of which are considerably more expensive).
The only place we ran into HOARDS of pensioners was on the Tresco Abbey Garden but it is big enough to duck out anyone's path. Daughter expressed surprise at the grey populace. I reassured her . "By the time you are my age, everyone will look like that." I said. I have her in training already. It was lovely however that she enjoyed the week too, and was genuinely astonished by the extraordinary beauty we found.
One morning we were having a leisurely breakfast in the garden of the cottage we rented and we got canvassed by the local council Tory candidate. We 'fessed up to being leftie libertarians and our bile for Mr Bliar and Broon. He was a nice bloke, hard working for his community. What I found fascinating was that he described himself as the
"Only Cornish candidate...all the rest are English".