Best historical houses to visit in Cornwall

Cornwall offers a variety of magnificent mansions and gardens for visitors to explore. Whether you are interested in delving deep into Cornish history, love exploring secret stately gardens, or just fancy something different to do with the kids, then this could be the perfect day trip for you.

 

Prideaux Place

Padstow

Fourteen generations have lived in this Elizabethan manor house overlooking Padstow on the north Cornish coast. Wander through the rooms and gardens at your leisure, or you can take a guided tour. 

The Prideaux family is an ancient Cornish clan with origins dating back to the 11th century, descended from such diverse characters as William the Conqueror, King Edward 1st and Queen Eleanor of Castile. Jane Austen was also a close relation.

Explore the gardens to discover a classical temple, an obelisk, a grotto and an exedra. A small stone arbor housing Roman funerary urns whose inscriptions date them back to 50AD are also available to view.

The onsite tea room offers light lunches and  serves a delicious Cornish cream teas, so you can spend the whole day exploring at your leisure. 

We have a great selection of cottages in the Padstow area; the picturesque harbour town is extremely popular with visitors. 

 

Godolphin House & Estate

Helston

This granite built Tudor and Stuart mansion constructed in the 17th century was once considered to be the most fashionable house in Cornwall. A myriad of footpaths, riverside and woodland walks surround the house for you to discover.

Take a tour or follow the family trails in this long since abandoned romantic estate and gardens. The garden, which has barely changed since the 16th century, boasts an original medieval layout and is considered to be one of the most important historic gardens in Europe today.

Visit the Leeds engine house and stack, the remains of the Godolphin family mine. Stroll through the tranquil and mysterious woodland, where the mine has left an unnatural landscape.

Check out our cottages in the Helston area.  Staying here will provide you with a great base for exploring the west Cornish coastline. 

 

Saltash

This well preserved medieval Tudor House in Saltash is a fantastic day out for the whole family. In the east of Cornwall and on the banks of the River Tamar, the huge estate has a superb collection of textiles, armour and furniture.

Cotehele was owned by the Edgcumbe family for nearly six centuries and is one of the least altered medieval houses in the country. Cotehele Quay nearby is now the home of the restored Tamar sailing barge ‘Shamrock’. Built in 1899, she carried cargo up and down the river Tamar.

The garden consists of formally planted terraces, a valley garden, with a medieval stew pond and dovecote. Visit the Victorian summerhouse and the 18th century tower with stunning panoramic views across the Tamar.

Have a look at cottages available in the Saltash area, near the border between Cornwall and Devon, providing you the opportunity to explore both counties.

 

Antony

Torpoint

This superb early 18th century mansion in Torpoint is nestled in amongst beautiful parkland and stunning gardens. Faced with silver-grey Pentewan stone, the house contains a fine collection of paintings, furniture and textiles.

In 2010, Antony House was used as a film set for Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton. Visit the family museum and follow the history of the Carews back to Domesday, and when they lived nearby in a 15th century manor before building the present house in the 1700’s.

The gardens, bordering the Lynher estuary, landscaped by Repton, include a formal garden with topiary, a knot garden, modern sculptures and the national collection of daylilies.

Check out the collection of cottages we have available on the south Cornish coast near Torpoint. 


Bodmin

Lanhydrock House is a fantastic country house and estate near Bodmin set in wooded parkland of 450 acres. Arrive early so you get plenty of time to explore the fifty rooms including the kitchen, nurseries and servants quarters.

After a devastating fire in 1881, the house was refurbished in the high-Victorian style.

The most impressive room in the house is the gallery which survived the fire, preserving the stunning 400 year old carved plasterwork ceiling.

A main feature of the garden at Lanhydrock House is the impressive plant collection. Stroll to the garden’s thatched cottages, where you can listen to the stories of Lanhydrock’s former gardeners and find out about their work.

Take a look at some of the Cornish country cottages we have available in the Bodmin area. 


Mount Edgcumbe House and Estate

Torpoint

Mount Edgcumbe sits on the very south east of Cornwall within the Rame Peninsular looking out over the Plymouth Sound. Nestled within the 865 acre estate, the house was designed to face outwards rather than inwards, as most stately homes did in order to make the most of the views. 

Making up a portion of the South West Coastal Path, the estate provides ample walking with plenty to see along the way, such as the Grade I listed gardens and numerous Grade II listed structures including St Julian’s Well and Milton’s Temple. 

The formal gardens are well established at Mount Edgcumbe with hundreds of years of gardens being retained and expanded. Explore the different layers of horticultural history which date back to the 16th century. 

Take a look at some of our cottages in south Cornwall near Torpoint.


Latest from History & landmarks

Everything you wanted to know about the UK's favourite holiday destination