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Godolphin House

godolphin house

Step Back in Time at Cornwall’s Finest Tudor Estate – Godolphin House & Gardens

Nestled within a sheltered valley setting nearHelston lies the National Trust-owned Godolphin House. Boasting one of the finest remaining examples of a Tudor manor house in the country, visiting this lesser-explored Cornish attraction makes for an atmospheric day trip back through the centuries.

Ramble freely around the historic formal gardens or step inside the meticulously preserved medieval home to uncover captivating tales of its noble residents across five dynasties since the 1300s. Here’s everything you need to plan an visit.

go dolphin house from the air

Getting There

You’ll discover Godolphin House positioned roughly nine miles south-east of artistic harbour town St Ives and the same distance west of bustling Penzance along the A394.

Sat Navs can sometimes struggle to locate Godolphin. From Helston take A394 to Sithney Common, turn right onto B3302 to Leedstown, turn left, follow signs. From Hayle B3302 to Leedstown, turn right, follow signs. From West, B3280 through Goldsithney, turn right at Townshend. Then follow signs for the car park

When using “What3Words” to locate Godolphin: quit.warms.casually

There are trains running to Hayle, Penzance and Cambourne and you can pick up a taxi at the station.

If travelling by bus, take No 39 Helston to Camborne via Sithney, Townshend and Leedstown, Bus No 39A Penzance to Camborne via Leedstown, then Bus No 39 from Townshend

Godolphin House sits peacefully inland not far from Praa Sands Beach and Tregonhawke near Breage village. Free onsite parking is available for visitors.

Opening Times & Tickets

House & Gardens Opening Times: Mid Feb – Oct: 11am-5pm. Last entry 4pm.

Please note that while improvement and refurbishment works are taking place, the house is currently only open in the first week of each month (except January)

Standard Admission Prices:
Adult £13.20 | Child £6.60 | Family £33

National Trust members can access the site year-round for free but note the house itself may have limited winter openings. You can check the website for up to date information.

godolphin

The Estate’s Rich History

Godolphin House bears witness to centuries of history, encompassing tales of wealth, power, and cultural heritage. Its origins trace back to the early medieval period when a manor house was established on the site. The Godolphin family, whose name it bears, rose to prominence during the Middle Ages, amassing considerable wealth and influence in the region.

In the 16th century, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Godolphin House underwent significant expansion and renovation, transforming it into a grand Elizabethan manor. The architectural features of this period, including mullioned windows and ornate plasterwork, still adorn the structure today, serving as a testament to its rich heritage.

Throughout the centuries, Godolphin House remained in the hands of the Godolphin family, playing a central role in the social and political landscape of Cornwall. The estate encompassed vast lands, including farms, woodlands, and mining interests, contributing to the family’s considerable wealth and influence.

godolphin door

During the English Civil War in the 17th century, Godolphin House found itself embroiled in the conflict between Royalists and Parliamentarians. The family’s steadfast loyalty to the Royalist cause led to the house being besieged and damaged by Parliamentary forces. However, following the war, the Godolphin family regained their estates and continued to reside at Godolphin House for generations to come.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Godolphin House underwent further modifications, reflecting the changing tastes and architectural styles of the time. However, by the early 20th century, the house had fallen into disrepair, and parts of it were demolished.

In the mid-20th century, the National Trust acquired Godolphin House and began efforts to preserve and restore the remaining historic elements. Today, visitors to Godolphin House can explore its beautifully restored interiors, stroll through the surrounding gardens and estate, and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Cornwall’s history.

Don’t Miss Highlights

Formal Gardens – Stroll through immaculately presented ordered beds overflowing with roses, herbaceous plants and topiaries flanked by turf terraces and stone balustrades.

Tudor Great Hall – Stand awe-struck admiring the perfectly preserved hammer-beam roof, carved porch and minstrels’ gallery where travelling players once performed for dynasties of owners.

King’s Room – Discover Godolphin family connections to royalty like Charles II and marvel at one of the house’s few rooms boasting original Tudor ceilings and Jacobean panelling.

Special Events & Tours – Uncover more tales from Godolphin’s past at regular pop-up talks or book an Architectural Day Tour for expert-led house access (Thu & Sat only).

Was Godolphin House used in Poldark?

In the BBC series “Poldark,” Godolphin House serves as a stunning backdrop for many pivotal scenes, contributing to the show’s immersive portrayal of 18th-century Cornwall. The grandeur of the house, with its historic architecture and picturesque surroundings, perfectly captures the opulence and elegance of the era in which the series is set.

Throughout the show, Godolphin House is depicted as the ancestral home of the powerful Godolphin family, adding depth and authenticity to the storyline. Its majestic interiors and sprawling estate provide a richly textured setting for the unfolding drama, whether it be clandestine meetings, lavish gatherings, or moments of intimate reflection.

The house’s rich history and scenic beauty make it an integral part of the “Poldark” series, enhancing the viewer’s experience and bringing to life the world of 18th-century Cornwall in all its splendor and complexity.

bbc poldark godolphin

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed? – Dogs on leads are welcome everywhere within Godolphin’s garden and outbuildings, including the tea-room. Assistance dogs only are allowed inside the house and King’s Room.

Is Godolphin House wheelchair accessible? – Yes, the main ground floor of the house is wheelchair accessible, but please note that some areas of the estate may have uneven terrain.

Is there a tea shop on-site? – Yes, there is a charming tea shop offering a selection of refreshments and homemade treats.

Are guided tours available? -Yes, guided tours of the house and estate are available at scheduled times. Check with staff for details.

Are there family-friendly activities at Godolphin House? – Yes, the estate offers various family-friendly trails and activities, including a children’s play area.

Can I have a picnic on the grounds of Godolphin House? – Yes, visitors are welcome to enjoy picnics in designated areas of the estate.

Is there a second-hand bookshop at Godolphin House? – Yes, there is a charming second-hand bookshop on-site, offering a selection of literary treasures.

Other nearby places to visit

When you are in this area, you should think about some other nearby attractions too:

  • Flambards Theme Park – Located near Helston, this theme park offers over 40 rides and exhibitions including a Victorian village and wild rides like the SkyRaker and Thunderbolt.
  • Barbara Hepworth Museum – Found in St Ives, this art museum contained in the former studios of Dame Barbara Hepworth displays a retrospective collection of her modern sculptures as well as commemorating her workplace.
  • St Michael’s Mount – Reached by foot at low tide or ferry, explore this castle and church topped island linked to legends of giants and early Christianity, with stunning sea views across Mount’s Bay near Marazion.
  • Trengwainton Garden – Situated near Madron, these National Trust gardens contain exotic flowering plants from across the globe, set amongst ponds, streams and wooded areas with several architectural follies.
  • Minack Theatre – Watch an open-air performance etched into the dramatic clifftop backdrop overlooking the sea at this theatre near Porthcurno, open annually between April and September.
  • St Ives – Around 30 minutes’ drive, enjoy sandy beaches, coastal walks and a picturesque working harbour. Explore narrow streets containing galleries, unique shops and restaurants.
  • Levant Mine and Beam Engine – Go underground at this 19th century tin mine near St Just and discover the huge steam engine used to power what was once Europe’s deepest mine shaft.
  • Paradise Park – Found near Hayle, this wildlife sanctuary cares for global endangered species and offers regular flying displays from birds of prey. Families can feed or touch animals too.
  • Geevor Tin Mine – Take a guided tour into the depths of the largest preserved mine site in the UK near Pendeen, operational until 1990 but worked from ancient times. Surface buildings also explore Cornish mining history.

Whether you’re passionate about gardens, history, or just fancy somewhere magical to explore, Godolphin House promises day trips back through the centuries. Wander at your own pace or book tours bringing alive Cornwall’s finest Tudor manor in all its glory!

Find out about other Cornish National Trust properties here.

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