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“Lovely lunchtime visit”
Review of Pinetum Gardens

Pinetum Gardens
Ranked #7 of 50 things to do in St Austell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Pinetum Gardens is relatively unknown and yet possibly one of Cornwall's loveliest gardens. Situated in St Austell, Pinetum Gardens is 30 acres of well maintained and manicured gardens, offering 12 different garden styles and nearly 6000 varieties of plants. One of the big selling points of the garden is that nearly all of our plants are labelled and whilst you can expect to find the usual Cornish suspects of camellias, rhododendrons and alike, there are many exotic varieties vying for your attention. Pinetum Gardens is in fact a series of gardens, all offering something different throughout the year. As the name suggests there is a Pinetum, a collection of 80 conifers set in four acres of land, this is a truly majestic and magical part of the garden, that takes your breath away on first glance. Not all conifers are evergreen and some produce wonderful autumnal colours, whilst others produce fir cones as big as rugby balls, making autumn an amazing time to visit. Whilst it would be worth visiting Pinetum Park for the conifers alone, there is so much more to see including a beautiful Winter Garden, planted to showcase the best of winter plants, all were chosen for their beautiful winter flowers, bark and coloured foliage and lots of scented leaves. There are also many heathers, hundreds of bulbs and some very unusual evergreen trees. The gardens also boast a Zen inducing Japanese garden, that features an authentic Japanese tea house and nearly every plant in the garden is grown from seed that were donated by the Kyoto Botanical Gardens in Japan, after a visit their many years ago by the garden creators. Pinetum Park is a relatively new and unusual garden, started 30 years ago by some local, horticulturists who set about travelling the world to collect seeds and plants to establish this remarkable garden. Now, well established, the gardens are open throughout the entire year and with so many plants to see, there is something to admire no matter what time of year you visit. The garden also has a tea room serving morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea and a gift shop. 95% of our garden can be accessed by mobility scooters and wheelchairs. You can hire a mobility scooter from the ticket office.
Reviewed 6 September 2013

This is a lovely little place - no need to enter the gardens in order to visit the tearoom. Delicious, unfussy food and little trinkets to buy in the shop. The cream tea is a good one, too!

1  Thank Princessgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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288 - 292 of 310 reviews

Reviewed 21 August 2013

I just do not understand those reviewers who have left anything other than excellent comments about these gardens.

These gardens were designed, largely planted and tended by one very imaginative elderly lady started as recently as 1976. They are now maturing beautifully and are utterly divine. Today, as four of us toured the grounds it was very quiet, which only enhanced our experience.

The cafe' serves wonderful home cooking by very friendly, helpful staff.

We are so pleased to have " found" these gardens and will be returning very soon.

2  Thank peterthelight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2013

Although we live quite near, we've never taken the time to visit here.We took a picnic lunch and sat down by the lake, watching goslings explore closely watched by their mum.Further up the gardens were ducklings, and the gardens were clean and tidy all around.A little expensive, but a nice day out, easy to find and easy to park.No entry fee if you just want to visit the cafe and plant sales area.

1  Thank kemlawrence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2013

A plantsman friend highly recommended this garden but I cannot agree although I know the specific circumstances (lack of time) was a major influence, combined with lack of information. The long walk from the car park was expensively well-signed, but there was no-one to take my money at the hut and so I rang the bell as requested. And again. The ladies in the shop and plant sales area were very kind and helpful but couldn't take my money and said to just ring the bell more. Finally a gent came...and the reason for delay was obvious, he was on the phone. He stopped talking long enough to take my money but not long enough to answer any questions: I now only had 40 minutes to visit the gardens and needed help to plan what to see.
Oh well, I was sure it would be mapped as well as signed. It wasn't...there was no map, but I went in an obvious direction and soon entered the Japanese garden. Oh the tranquillity there! I could feel my stress and frustration fall away as I entered the zen-ness. Loved the bridge. But then I was out in a vast open space with no sign of gardens, and no signs. Rather than go back on myself I chose left but that seemed to lead no-where so I jogged over the grassland to the lake. Nothing there of gardens, no signs, waste of precious time. Then I found a garden..seemed circular and no wau in...hint, to opening is at the higher end (yes I was at the lower end!). It's the winter garden, so in July I decided not to waste time there. Then I found gardens, around a house, very nice but I was rather het up by now and frustrated by the paths that went no-where rather than being able to relax and enjoy. Time up, I went back to the hut to suggest the importance of help or/and maps for visitors...of course there was no-one there but I poked around and hey presto, found a handout there with a map!!! If I had been given that when I paid then I wouldn't have had troubles. It was £7 entry and I didn't even get a sticker or ticket let alone a map. That's just not good enough.
Why did the plantsman friend recommend the garden? Well, he had plenty of time, and is keen on shrubs and trees, whereas my main interest is hardy herbaceous. And I guess he had a map!
Suggestions to other visitors: allow over an hour and ensure you get a map before you start.
Suggestions to Pine Lodge Gardens: Give a map to each visitor, welcome them and answer any questions.
If you can't man the hut, then a large map of the gardens by the bell will inform people so they can plan their visit, alleviate boredom and annoyance, and help them feel less 'in view' of the people at the café tables. Likewise a board listing 'must-see items in the garden right now' would be helpful during the wait.
Lower your prices. This was the third garden I'd visited that day, and I think it was the same cost or more than those two gardens put together. And I'd put you as less enjoyable than either of those: Pinsla and Marsh Villa. Even the amazing Garden House is cheaper admission. At the very least offer discounted prices within an hour of closing. Can you justify £7 for 40 minutes, even with a map?

1  Thank Carrie T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2013

I visited yesterday just for Sunday lunch but was so impressed by what little I saw of the site that I shall certainly be visiting arp gain, just for the gardens.
The restaurant is small and rather cafe-like but did serve an excellent Sunday roast. The staff are very amiable and service is prompt and courteous.
The restaurant is also dog-friendly which is very useful to know.
Entry to the restaurant/cafe is free but access to the garden is charged.

Thank Ian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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