About the garden
The garden by the sea. A sub-tropical garden on a backdrop of ocean views surrounds the Lutyens-style house at Coleton Fishacre, built by Oswald Milne for Sir Rupert and Lady Dorothy D'Oyly Carte in 1925. Keen gardeners, the D’Oyly Cartes introduced large numbers of unusual shrubs and trees.
Almost frost-free, the range and size of Southern Hemisphere trees and shrubs are remarkable, and rare plants flourish in the warm formal terraces around the house. Tender and exotic plants from New Zealand, the Mediterranean and South Africa thrive in a climate which is as mild as South Cornwall.
The Hot Border at the bottom of the terraces is filled with fiery planting, loved by Rupert D’Oyly Carte. A stream runs through the Rill Garden where annuals, perennials and roses present a fragrant patchwork of pastel hues. Water runs down the valley, which is dammed to make small pools along the way where damp-loving perennials luxuriate.
The bottom of the garden is an informal woodland, thickly planted with rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, sitting alongside exotics including bananas, ginger lilies and tree ferns. Paths weave through wildflower meadows along a shelterbelt of trees, providing space for den building and picnics on the coast. At the bottom of the garden, visitors can access the rugged, unspoilt stretch of the South West Coast Path.
Don’t miss Pudcombe Cove viewpoint to see the tidal swimming pool built for the D’Oyly Cartes. Cared for by the National Trust, work is ongoing to restore the garden in keeping with original planting archives while embracing the changing climate and enhancing biodiversity.
With accessible routes and enticing views out to sea, seasonal family nature trails and volunteer-led garden tours, there’s something for everyone. Explore the Arts and Crafts style house, refuel at Café Coleton and browse the lifestyle gift shop.
Please note: This garden is partially accessible.