We’ve spent the last couple of days visiting sights in Cornwall and Devon. First up was the Eden Project. This was something of a disappointment for me as I had thought it might be a place that would appeal to Russell but we were both underwhelmed. I know it’s hard to say that when you are talking about something that is on as large a scale as this place was. What the developers did was transform an old quarry into a botanical wonderland featuring two different biodomes (one tropical rainforest the other Mediterranean). The stated goal is to help people to comprehend the interconnectivity of all life. I’m not entirely convinced that it accomplishes this but I think it’s a fine place to bring children to learn about plants and ecosystems. As for me, I found it to be way too commercial especially for “a educational charity” as it supposedly is. I mean hang-gliding? Really?! What does that have to do with learning about the interconnection of all life forms? If I had to describe the place I would say botanical garden meets amusement park.
After the Eden Project we visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This was another commercial botanical garden so it included the requisite gift shop and eatery. The gardens themself were well-kept but not particularly spectacular. There was a large kitchen garden as well as perennial beds and lots of tree ferns. There was also a view of the distant Cornish coast. It was definitely worth the visit but it was rather a long drive from our hotel so by the time we get back to the hotel we were tired. We decided to revive ourselves with afternoon tea — scones with clotted cream and jam. Delicious.
Today we drove again a bit of a ways to visit a couple of sights (both Russell and I felt that it might have been better to have had a hotel closer to that which we wanted to see) but being here in the countryside had its advantages as well (namely peace and quiet). Our first sight was a lovely home called Lanhydrock. This place was very impressive in my opinion. The house is a delight and more importantly is set up so that you can do three different self-guided tours of it. If you do all three tours as we did you end up seeing quite a lot of the house and the way that they have the rooms set up makes it feel like a still working country house. The gardens were not particularly remarkable but we didn’t really explore the “park” as it was so hot (a heat emergency is on for today).
After Lanhydrock, we visited another house and garden called Pencarrow House. We actually didn’t tour the house because the only way you could see it was with an organized tour and neither of us was feeling up to that so instead we purchased garden-only tickets and spent the next hour exploring the grounds. Again, this garden had its moments — a nice little waterway surrounded by astilbe and gunnera (huge leaves) and some pretty views — but wasn’t really tremendously well maintained or even very floriferous (fancy way of saying “not a lot of flowers”). Still, I’m glad we visited as the two of us enjoyed a nice sit together on a shaded bench looking at the Georgian house and listening to the tinkling fountain and a particularly squawky peacock! A memory I shan’t soon forget.
Back at the hotel it was a late afternoon in front of the fan, dinner in the dining room, and packing as we head out tomorrow for Bath.