Five to visit: Lived in manor houses

We all like to see how others live and have a peek behind the front door, so for the ultimate through the key hole experience sign yourself up for a guided tour around one of these privately owned manor houses.

Pencarrow, near Bodmin
Sweep down the magnificent mile-long drive and through the grand front door of Pencarrow and you will be greeted by the Molesworth-St Aubyn family who invite you on a tour of their impressive 50 room Georgian mansion. As well as notable architecture you will discover displays of antique furniture, paintings and porcelain, and with signs of family life throughout, you’ll be regularly reminded that Pencarrow is a cherished family home. The sprawling estate is equally impressive with formal gardens and a Victorian rock garden, as well as 50 acres of parkland, lake and woodland. And it’s not just visitors that are drawn to Pencarrow, film crews love it too! With countless film credits to its name, Pencarrow is a favoured film location for the much loved German TV adaptations of Rosamunde Pilcher’s novels.

Prideaux Place, Padstow
Another favourite haunt for German film crews is Prideaux Place in Padstow, which has also starred in countless Rosamunde Pilcher adaptations. Its stunningly beautiful Elizabethan architecture combines with the 18th century exuberance of Strawberry Hill Gothic. Home to Peter and Elizabeth Prideaux-Brune, who are the fourteenth generation of the family to have lived at Prideaux Place since its completion in 1592, it is bursting with original features. Of its 81 rooms, 46 are bedrooms and only 6 of these are habitable - the rest are as the American Army left them at the end of the Second World War, complete with such notices as 'Lance Sergeants' Mess'.

Caerhays Castle, Porthluney, St Austell Bay
Not so much a manor house but a castle, Caerhays is owned by the Williams family and is nestled in a sheltered valley overlooking Porthluney Cove on the south coast. The Caerhays Estate takes in a beach and woodland, as well as an historically important spring garden which has an international reputation for camellias and rhododendrons and is home to the National Magnolia Collection. The castle itself was designed around 200 years ago and both the building and its occupants have played significant roles in the history of Cornwall. Tours of the castle and garden are available in the spring but those wanting a slice of castle life at other times of the year can hire a luxury holiday cottage on the rural estate.

Port Eliot, St Germans
Manor house doesn’t quite do Port Eliot justice as with 11 staircases, 15 back doors and 82 chimneys it’s fair to say that it’s of vast proportions. Boasting the rare distinction of being a Grade 1 listed house with a Grade 1 listed park and garden, Port Eliot is somewhat of a special gem in south east Cornwall and for the time that it is open to the public from March to July it takes visitors on an opulent journey through the centuries. Aside from its splendour, Port Eliot has also crafted itself a reputation for sell-out festivals and events in its grounds, so keep an eye on our what's on pages.

Trewithen, Grampound
With beautiful gardens famed for their plant hunter origins, royal connections and astonishing variety of species, it’s little surprise that Trewithen’s garden reputation precedes it. But nestled amongst these visitor drawing gardens is a mansion more than worthy of its impressive location. You’ll discover an architectural gem that hasn’t significantly changed its outward appearance since 1715 when Philip Hawkins first bought it. Boasting architectural features unlike anything else in Cornwall, ten generations of the same family have lived in Trewithen House and welcome visitors on tours between April and July as well as on August Bank Holiday Monday.

Please contact the properties to check opening times.

Things to do

Stay connected

Find us on socials and stay connected with the Cornwall you love.

We use cookies to personalise content and ads and to analyse our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. (Privacy Policy)