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Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park

mount edgcumbe house and country park

A Day Out at Mount Edgcumbe House in Cornwall

Nestled on the Cornish coast sits the beautiful Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park. Spread across over 800 acres, it offers a delightful day out for families looking to explore Cornwall’s rich history and natural beauty. With its impressive 18th century house, formal gardens, woodlands, and beaches, Mount Edgcumbe has something for visitors of all ages.

statue at mount edgcumbe

Getting There

The house and gardens are situated just across the River Tamar from the city of Plymouth. It’s an easy drive of around 20 minutes from Plymouth city centre. For those coming from further afield in Cornwall, Mount Edgcumbe is around an hour’s drive from places like Looe, Polperro, and Fowey.

The most straightforward route is to take the Torpoint Ferry from Plymouth to Cornwall. It’s a quick 5 minute hop across the river. Ferries depart every 15 minutes and operate all year round except Christmas Day. The ferry is free for pedestrians and cyclists. For cars, it costs £2.60 per car for a return ticket.

Once across the river, Mount Edgcumbe is well signposted. Head uphill from the ferry and follow signs for the house and country park through the small villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. Pay attention as the roads here have some tight bends! Soon you’ll spot the impressive house nestled above the trees.

Opening Times

The house, cafe, and main gardens are open from 11am to 4:30pm during the main season between April and the end of September.

Make sure to note that they are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

The wider country park areas are accessible all year round from 8am until dusk.

It’s best to check the Mount Edgcumbe website before visiting as opening times can vary for special events. Note that the house itself may have limited openings on some days for private functions.

Ticket Prices at Mount Edgcumbe

It’s free to explore most of the extensive country park at Mount Edgcumbe. This includes access to the woodlands, coastal paths and beaches.

However there is a charge to enter the formal gardens and house:

  • Adult: £9.50
  • Child: £5
  • Concessions £7.50
  • Family (2 adults + 2 children): £17

Annual membership is also available from £22 per person. This gives unlimited access for a year.

mount edgcumbe garden

History of Mount Edgcumbe House

Built in 1547 by Sir Piers Edgcumbe, the house has witnessed over 475 years of history, evolving alongside the changing tides of Cornwall.

Tudor Beginnings:

The Edgcumbe family, tracing their lineage back to the 14th century, played a prominent role in Cornish affairs. Sir Piers, a wealthy landowner and MP, embarked on the construction of Mount Edgcumbe House as a testament to his family’s influence. The house, with its imposing Tudor architecture, became a symbol of power and prosperity, standing sentinel over the Plymouth Sound.

A Grand Transformation:

Over the centuries, the house underwent several transformations. In the 18th century, Richard Edgcumbe, elevated to the peerage as Baron Edgcumbe, commissioned extensive renovations. The house was adorned with opulent interiors, reflecting the family’s newfound status as Earls of Mount Edgcumbe.

A World War Tragedy:

World War II cast a dark shadow over Mount Edgcumbe. In 1941, German bombs heavily damaged the house, leaving it a shell of its former glory. However, the Edgcumbe family embarked on a challenging restoration project. The house, painstakingly rebuilt, reopened to the public in 1961, a testament to resilience and the enduring legacy of the Edgcumbe family.

A Legacy Unveiled:

Mount Edgcumbe House is no longer privately owned by the Edgcumbe family. In 1971, the 7th Earl faced financial difficulties and sold the estate to Cornwall County Council and Plymouth City Council, marking a significant shift in its ownership.

Since then, the House and Country Park have been jointly managed and owned by these two council bodies. This partnership has ensured the preservation of this historic landmark and its accessibility to the public.

mount edgcumbe

Facilities

Mount Edgcumbe has excellent facilities to make it an easy family day out. The Stables Cafe provides hot and cold food, drinks and ice creams from 9am to 5pm daily. There’s ample outdoor and indoor seating.

The country park has several walking trails that are stroller and wheelchair friendly. There are accessible parking spaces close to the house. Plus there’s an onsite shop, plant nursery and children’s play areas dotted around.

For rainy days, there’s enough indoor space in Mount Edgcumbe House to comfortably spend a few hours. The house displays intriguing artefacts, artwork and porcelain. Kids will enjoy playing with the costumes and puzzles too.

mount edgcumbe fountain

Best Highlights for Families

Formal Gardens: The ornamental gardens with their imposing terraces, exotic plants and Edgcumbe family crests are a visual delight. Children will love exploring the maze-like paths, water features and colourful flower beds. Lookout for the CInderella-style lost slipper sculpture!

Adventure Trail: This self-guided woodland trail has fun activities designed for kids aged 4-11 years. There are obstacle courses, dens to build, balance beams and interactive learning. Pick up an activity pack for £3 at the start. Expect it to take around 90 minutes to complete.

Deer Park and Coastal Walks: Young ones will get a thrill spotting the wild red and fallow deer resident in areas of the park (but don’t get too close!) The scenic coastal paths also make for a fabulous walk any time of year. Enjoy sweeping sea views and fresh salty air. Lookout for military fortifications and tiny coves dotted along the shoreline.

Earl’s Garden Play Area: Let kids burn off steam at this playground next to the Orangery Cafe. Set right by the house, it features towers, slides, swings and climbing frames atop a soft surface. Best suited for under 12s. There’s a small wristband fee of £1 per child.

Seaside Beach Fun: From Earl’s Beach you can look back and enjoy fabulous views of Mount Edgcumbe House. Or take a picnic across to Cremyll Beach on the other side to enjoy lazy summer days skimming stones or making sandcastles. Swimming is not advised from the beaches due to strong currents.

mount edgcumbe orangery

The Orangery Garden Café

Nestled amidst the 865-acre splendor of hte park is the Orangery Garden Café, a haven of delectable delights steeped in rich history. Built in 1775, this elegant venue seamlessly blends its heritage with contemporary charm, offering a unique and unforgettable dining experience.

Step into a bygone era, where the aroma of freshly baked scones mingles with the whispers of past celebrations. Imagine grand soirées hosted by the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe, their laughter echoing through the halls adorned with intricate plasterwork and sparkling chandeliers. Today, the Orangery retains its aristocratic grace, inviting you to dine amidst this captivating legacy.

Indulge in culinary artistry as the talented chefs present a menu brimming with fresh, seasonal produce. Savor the quintessential cream tea, or treat yourself to a gourmet lunch featuring locally sourced meats and seafood. The Orangery Garden Café caters to all palates, offering vegetarian and vegan options alongside tempting sweet treats.

Beyond the exquisite food, the Orangery’s true magic lies in its setting. Panoramic windows frame the verdant expanse of the Italian Gardens, where manicured lawns and vibrant flowerbeds create a mesmerizing tableau. Bask in the golden glow of the Cornish sun as you sip your afternoon tea, or enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner amidst the tranquil ambiance.

orangery cream tea

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Mount Edgcumbe? – Cornwall enjoys a mild climate year-round. Spring and summer offer vibrant gardens and warm weather, perfect for picnics and outdoor activities. Autumn brings stunning foliage, while winter provides a serene atmosphere for nature walks and cozy tea breaks.

Is it accessible for visitors with disabilities? Most areas of the Country Park and House are accessible, with designated wheelchair-friendly routes and facilities. Please check the website for detailed information.

Are there any guided tours available at Mount Edgcumbe? – Yes, there are guided tours of the House available at various times throughout the day. You can also join ranger-led walks and talks in the Country Park.

Are dogs allowed? – Yes, well behaved dogs on leads are welcome

Other nearby attractions

There are many great places to visit alongisde a trip to Mount Edgcumbe, including:

  • Roche Rock – This iconic craggy rock outcrop near St Austell looks like a ruined ancient castle and can be spotted from ships entering Plymouth Sound. Park at the country park to walk out and admire views across Cornwall.
  • Antony House – This grand early 18th century mansion with impressive Regency interiors and parkland is just across the Torpoint ferry. It hosts events like outdoor theatre and has garden tours, woodland trails and a tea room.
  • Plymouth Hoe – Offering views across Plymouth Sound, the Hoe park contains historical sights like Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse and war memorials alongside a Victorian bandstand, coastal paths and grassy areas for recreation.
  • National Marine Aquarium – Located next to Plymouth’s harbour and Sutton Harbour marina, this aquarium displays over 4,000 sea creatures including sharks, turtles and colourful coral reef fish among Britain’s largest single tanks.
  • Cremyll Ferry – Take a short ferry crossing of the River Tamar from Admirals Hard in Stonehouse to the picturesque smuggling hamlet of Cremyll, revealing lovely views back towards Mount Edgcumbe House.
  • Cotehele House & Quay– A short drive northwest sits this medieval turreted manor filled with tapestries and armour on display. Walk to the quay on the River Tamar to visit the mill, discovery centre and take boat trips.
  • Looe Beach – Just 20 minutes east, explore the historic fishing port of Looe with its sandy Banjo Pier beach, winding Shopping streets, restaurants and bars clustered around the tranquil river setting.
  • Polperro – Found close by, walk the quaint narrow lanes of this charming fishing village dotted with colourful cottages that lead down to inner and outer harbour walls.
  • Adrenalin Quarry – Try thrilling outdoor activities like abseiling, zip wires and high ropes over a flooded quarry lake amongst woodland trails and picnic areas at this site between Liskeard and Looe.

Whether you want to learn about Cornwall’s rich history, stroll through beautiful countryside or enjoy a relaxing coastal walk, Mount Edgcumbe has it covered. With flexible tickets, brilliant facilities and loads of family appeal, it makes for an excellent value day out when exploring this corner of southwest England.

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