Stepping out of Eden’s shadow – the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Stepping out of Eden’s shadow – the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Stepping out of Eden’s shadow - The Lost Gardens of Heligan

As interesting as The Eden project is - I would much rather spend my day visiting Heligan.  Stunning scenery aside it has a fascinating history. Built and owned by the Tremayne family for centuries it was in the 1800’s that the gardens began to be developed and many gardeners were employed to help achieve this. Nearly all of them however were called up for service in WW1 and sadly many never returned. Heligan house was used as a convalescence hospital for officers and the gardens fell into ruin.

In the 1970’s the house was coverted into flats and sold off. In 1990 the land was inspected and the severely overgrown and derelict gardens discovered. What followed was years of painstaking and back breaking work to not only restore but develop the gardens into what they are today – a superb day out for the whole family and dog friendly too!

There is an extensive and in some parts steep woodland walk full of hidden surprises and a small play area for the kids. You can follow this down to the Jungle area full of banana palms and other diverse tropical species and feel like an explorer crossing the Burmese Rope Bridge!

Eventually you will reach the animal enclosures with sheep, goats, ducks, hens and turkeys – many of which are on the endangered species list. You may even spot the Shire horse being trained to do work around the site.

Near to the house are the interesting and manicured formal gardens and glasshouses.

You can choose to split your day up and grab a bite to eat in the café or purchase some plants and things to take back home from the well stocked farm shop.

So if you are staying with us we recommend a day visiting these fascinating gardens – we even offer discounted tickets available from The Laurels reception just ask us when you are here!

Our Favourite North Cornish Beach …….

Our Favourite North Cornish Beach …….

Our Favourite North Cornish Beach............

We often get asked which our favourite beach is and I would imagine it's like asking who your favourite child is – they are all so different and each have a uniqueness to them that we cannot choose!

Here's a brief guide to the best beaches all within a 30 minute drive from us here at The Laurels Holiday Park and the reasons why we think they are great!

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay – Huge open stretch of sand, great for surfing (there are many surf schools and rental shops) Lots of fantastic restaurants and bars - nearly all with superb views over the bay. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover 5th May - 30th September.

Bedruthan Steps – A National Trust beach and home to the legend of the giant Bedruthan who made himself stepping stones which you see today in the form of huge rocky outcrops stretching along the beach. National Trust café at the top of the Carnewas cliffs. Dog Friendly. No lifeguard cover

Mawgan Porth – Another large beach which is a delight to spot as you drive down the windy roads towards it. It is surrounded by rugged cliffs and plenty of eating/drinking options close by. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover 19th May - 30th September.

Porthcothan – Smaller than others and limited parking this a a fairly quiet gem of a beach. Lots of caves and rockpools to explore at low tide. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover 19th May - 30th September.

Misty Mawgan Porth

Treyarnon Bay Tidal Pools

Treyarnon Bay – A stunning beach and at low tide has a wonderful tidal pool to take a dip in. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover 5th May - 30th September.

Constantine – Superb for experienced surfers and with large dunes to explore, at low tide it’s neighbour beach Booby’s Bay can also be reached. Limited parking. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover5th may - 30th September.

Mother Ivey’s – Small but perfectly formed the only access is from the coastal path and the holiday park behind. No immediate parking. Dog Friendly. No lifeguard cover.

Harlyn – A nice big bay-perfect for families. Popular with horse riders. It has smaller surf than Constantine and is great for learners. Ice Cream trucks and catering vans have a spot there in the summer. Lots of rock pools to keep everyone entertained. Dog Friendly. Lifeguard cover 5th May - 30th September.

Harlyn Bay

Harbour Cove / Hawkers Cover

Trevone – A pretty, smaller beach much deeper than it is wide. Dog’s banned from Easter Day to October 1st. Lifeguard cover from 19th May - 30th September.

Harbour Cove & Hawkers Cove – You don’t have to worry about loss of beach at high tide here plenty of sand stretching for over 1.5miles at low tide and linking Hawkers cover to Harbour Cove and St George's Cove. It is one of the quieter ones due to no lifeguard cover and a 5-10 minute walk to access the beach but is more than worth it! Dog Friendly. No lifeguard cover.

Rock – Opposite Hawkers’ Cove the views here are stunning and there are a number of pubs and restaurants to sit and take it all in. Dog friendly. No lifeguard cover.

Daymer Bay – A more secluded bay and popular with both wind and kite surfers it is accessible from Rock at low tide. Dog Friendly. No lifeguard cover.

Polzeath – One of Cornwall’s most popular beaches it is fantastic for learning to surf and has parking on the beach! Beware at high tide the beach does become quite small. Dog’s banned from Easter Day to October 1st. Lifeguard cover 5th May - 30th September.

Daymer Bay

As you can see we really are spoilt for choice – you could visit a different beach a day for the entirety of your stay with us and for those who are surfing we have a wetsuit dunk tank and drying area to ensure your kit stays in top condition.

If you prefer a more active day then all these beaches are linked by the stunning South West Coast Path. You can even park at one of the beaches, walk the coastal path then catch the First Kernow A5 bus that runs between Padstow and Newquay back to where you started and you can also cross the water by hopping on the Padstow to Rock Ferry which is almost constantly running. 

If you don’t fancy driving at all you can catch the Plymouth city 11A bus from our entrance into Padstow and then connect to the First Kernow A5 bus that runs between Padstow and Newquay which stops at many of these wonderful beaches.

I’ve already got a good book, a picnic and my wetsuit packed in the car….what are you waiting for??

The Best Cider in Cornwall?

The Best Cider in Cornwall?

The Best Cider in Cornwall?


I admit I have never been much of a cider fan - always finding the mass produced stuff far too sweet and lacking in any depth of flavour however when one of our seasonal pitch holders here at The Laurels Holiday Park told us about a family owned cider farm just 4 miles from us in the village of St Mabyn I had to go and investigate!


Owned by the Bray family since 1919 the farm is in a beautifully picturesque setting – quiet with miles of rolling hills yet easily accessible.

We had booked in for an Orchard tour and were greeted warmly by Tom Bray (Chief Cider Maker)!


Firstly we were offered a generous cup of the good stuff  - I opted for a half and half – half dry and half sweet which was the first cup of cider I have really enjoyed - you can actually taste the apples also gloriously not full of carbonated bubbles. Another of our group (the driver) had a cup of the most delicious apple juice. Next onto the transport – a cart filled with hay bales to sit on pulled by a tractor where we were driven around the Orchard and given a detailed and interesting talk by Tom about the whole cider making process.



We sampled apples straight from the tree whilst still supping the end result!

After the tour we went back to the barn and sat in the sunshine with a lovely cheeseboard and several jugs of cider – (you get more than your moneys worth) and chatted with Tom and other guests.

You can also buy cider to bring back home with you which is exactly what we did!

Since our first visit we have been back many times – from May through till August Bank Holiday they hold a weekly Sunday Cider Social – a wonderful gathering open to all with BBQ and a live band (mostly traditional Cornish folk which paired with the cider leads to lots of dancing and a great afternoon)!

No better way to enjoy Cornwall with kids and dogs roaming free around the hay covered yard with worn leather sofas and chairs mixed with wooden benches.

On Fathers Day they have the Haywood Farm Downhill (homemade cart racing again open to all) the entries starting from the top of the hill with the aim to make it down to the barn in one piece via some dodgy corners – the wackiest and the biggest wipeouts always raise the most cheers!

Near the end of January (Jan 19 2019) they hold a ‘WASSAIL’ which is a magical event basically blessing the orchards for the coming season. Flaming torches and recitals of the traditional shouts of Wassail are followed by live music in the warm and toasty barn with the addition of hot mulled cider and steaming bowls of stew.

The best thing about what Tom and family are doing at Haywood is the sense of welcome and community spirit – on their facebook page come Autumn there are regular plees for help picking the apples  rewarded with a BBQ and more delicious cider.

Featured on the BBC series ‘Back to the Land with Kate Humble’ and with The Duke of Cornwall HRH Prince Charles sampling some of their amazing cider at this years Royal Cornwall Show - Haywood Farm is making a real name for itself.

So Best Cider in Cornwall? I would say so and with one of the best and most unique experiences whilst camping in Cornwall this is something you do not want to miss.

To keep up to date with what is going on at Haywood Farm check out the events page on their website. Cheers and hopefully see you there!