Trewithen House and Gardens

Trewithen House and Gardens

Grampound Road, Near Truro, TR2 4DD
Tel: (01726) 883647


A masterpiece of landscape gardening


Covering some thirty acres and created in the early years of this century, the gardens are outstanding and internationally famous. They are renowned for their magnificent collection of camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and many rare trees and shrubs which are seldom found elsewhere in Britain. The most striking feature is the long lawn in front of the 1730's house, flanked by sinuous borders of mature rhododendrons. The extensive woodland gardens are surrounded by traditional landscaped parkland. Other attractions include a children's playground and a video presentation of the house and gardens. The gardens are one of only two in this county to be awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide to the South-West. Teas and light refreshments are available. In 2012, Trewithen received the accolade of becoming an International Camellia Garden of Excellence.

The beautiful Magnolia Fountain was created by Tom Leaper and constructed from granite and bronze, is regarded as a work of art. The Camera Obscura, the only one in Cornwall, is housed in a wooden hut high in the canopy of the trees. It is an unusual and fascinating device that projects an image from outside onto a table inside a darkened room.

Trewithen has been honoured with several royal visits beginning with King George V and Queen Mary in 1927 and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1942. Other visits in the course of the last forty or so years are as follows:

1959 – Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
1985 – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
1985 – Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
1987 – Princess Anne, The Princess Royal
1987 – The Prince and Princess of Wales
1988 – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
1989 – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
1990 – Diana, Princess of Wales
1991 – Diana, Princess of Wales
1993 – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
1996 – Princess Anne, The Princess Royal
1997 – The Duke of Gloucester
1998 – Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall
2007 – Princess Alexandra
2012 – The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall

Trewithen has been used as a film location for two Rosamunde Pilcher films. The interior of the House was featured in 'The Blossom of Life' in 1999 and the entire façade of the south side of the house was changed to look like the front as a location for 'Amazing Grace' in 2005.

Nursery and Plant Centre

There is a wide range of plants and shrubs for sale. Over 1,500 varieties and species are available, and retail or wholesale orders are welcomed.


The origins of the house go back to the 17th century but it was the architect Sir Robert Taylor, aided by Thomas Edwards of Greenwich, who was responsible for the splendid building and interiors we see today. Philip Hawkins bought the property in 1715 and began extensive re-building. The house has been lived in and cared for by the same family since that date. Trewithen has been used as a film location for two Rosamunde Pilcher films. The interior of the House was featured in 'The Blossom of Life' in 1999 and the entire façade of the south side of the house was changed to look like the front as a location for 'Amazing Grace' in 2005. Sir Christopher Hawkins who inherited the house in 1738, and known locally as "Sir Kit", extended the grounds but added little to the house, reinforcing his reputation as a miser among his local tenants. The following verse was said to have been fixed to the gates of Trewithen:

A large house, and no cheer,
A large park, and no deer,
A large cellar, and no beer,
Sir Christopher Hawkins lives here.

On Sir Christopher's death in 1829, Trewithen passed to his brother John Hawkins (who built and lived at Bignor Park in West Sussex), a man of great learning and intellect who planted many fine trees at Trewithen – including Holm oaks.

John was succeeded in 1841 by his young son Henry Hawkins – known to all as CHT – who chose not to live in Cornwall. When he died in 1903, the estate passed to his nephew John Heywood Johnstone, changing the family name for the first time in nearly 200 years. Sadly John survived only a year after his inheritance – leaving his 22 year old son George Johnstone in charge.

It was George who was responsible for developing the gardens and, by sponsoring some of the great plant hunting expeditions to the Himalayas and China, introduced a wealth of new species. When George died in 1960 his widow and eldest daughter Elizabeth continued his botanical work – with Elizabeth going on to be awarded the Bledisloe Gold Medal for services to Agriculture and Landowning.

Trewithen's current owner is Michael Galsworthy, George Johnstone's grandson. Equally committed to the care and further development of both the gardens and the wider estate, he came to live in the house with his family in 1980. Since then, he has overseen the planting of more than 30,000 trees to enlarge the shelter belts and surrounding woodlands – compensating for the many casualties of the great storm in 1990.

Mr and Mrs Galsworthy currently live at Trewithen with their two children Jack and Imogen. Mr Galsworthy, who is George Johnstone's grandson, also has three children by his late wife Charlotte – Olivia, Stamford (Sam) and Susannah. He inherited the estate from his aunt, Elizabeth Johnstone, when she died in 1994.


The Tea Shed is a cafe serving simple, fresh, local food throughout the day including light lunches. Set within Trewithen Gardens, it has an emphasis on home-made, natural eating in beautiful surroundings. Everyone welcome. Parking is free and there is good disabled access.


On the A390 between Truro and St. Austell.

Opening Times

1st March to 30th September - 10.00am to 4.30pm
Monday to Saturday
Sundays - April and May only

Admission Charged

Truro       St. Austell       Probus Gardens       Grampound       Tregothnan       Tregony

Cornwall's Garden Centres       Creed House and Garden       Probus