A region of craggy cliffs, sheltered creeks, glorious sandy beaches and quintessential villages – rich in local life, pagan legend and delicious, locally-made food and drink.
This grade-II listed Tudor mansion originates circa 1300 and is located in the magnificent Tamar Valley of Devon and Cornwall. It is one of the least altered Tudor houses in the UK, with most of its original oak furniture still in place alongside hanging tapestries, arms and armour, pewter and brass.
More than 1,000 acres of beautiful grounds surround this National Trust-protected property, with miles of historical countryside trails stretching down to the River Tamar.
The extensive gardens are home to a working estate watermill used to make flour (available for purchase). Beautiful industrial ruins rest in the wooded Danescombe valley, including an old sawmill and paper mill.
The earliest turret clock in the UK still doggedly ticks and chimes the hour from its original position in the chapel.
A secret tunnel leads from the formal East Garden to the wild Valley Garden, home to an original stone dovecote and stew pond. The path curves down to a Victorian summer house and the tiny Chapel in the Wood.
While you’re there
The newly restored sailing barge (originally built in 1899) sits on the quay, a few moments’ walk from the mansion. A Discovery Centre tells the story of Tamar Valley and Cotehele Quay, once a thriving hub of industrial action.
Especially for the under 12s
There are several discovery trails and special events and activities for younger kids. See the family section of the website for what’s on when.
Getting there & doing it
Cotehele is located in Calstock, a large village in south-east Cornwall. The nearest towns are Tavistock and Plymouth. Calstock train station is a 1.5-mile walk from Cotehele. The walk follows the River Tamar and is well-signposted.
You don’t need to book in advance. Guides are on hand to answer any questions about the property or its furnishings and history, so a tour is not necessary.
The on-site Barn restaurant and tearoom serves local produce, with a special kids menu. Or take a picnic to eat in the lovely gardens.
When to do it
The house opens all year round, seven days a week. The garden is open all year from dawn until dusk. Weekday afternoons are the quietest time to visit. Spring (April-May) is best, when the garden starts to bloom.
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