Pencarrow House

East Cornwall

Belonging to the well-to-do Molesworth-St Aubyn family, this wonderful Georgian manor was remodelled in the late 18th century in the best Palladian fashion, aiming to mimic the grandeur and proportions of a Greco-Roman temple. It's certainly an arresting sight, and brimming inside with rococo detailing, sweeping staircases, priceless china and marble busts, as well as a line-up of family portraits (including a couple by Sir Joshua Reynolds). Entry to the house is by guided tour.

The gardens are equally impressive, with many fashionable features of Georgian garden design, such as a grotto, a palm house and an Italian garden. Many of the plants here are descendants of species brought back by notable Cornish plant hunters such as the globetrotting Lobb brothers, who stocked many of Cornwall's great estates with exotic flora. The camellias and rhododendrons are especially beautiful.

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