Tresco Abbey Garden
The sub-tropical Abbey Garden is a glorious exception; a perennial Kew without the glass, home to 20,000 plants from more than 80 countries, flourishing just 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall.
Tresco Abbey Garden was established by Augustus Smith in the 19th century around the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey. Today, the garden is home to plants from across the world’s Mediterranean climate zones, from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa.
Fringing the lush grid of paths which criss-cross the gardens are a host of succulents, towering palms and giant, lipstick-red flame trees. Here you can find flowers of the King Protea and the handsome Lobster Claw, great blue spires of Echium, brilliant Furcraea, Strelitzia and shocking-pink drifts of Pelargonium.
The face of the garden changes throughout the year. In spring flowers bloom weeks ahead of those on the mainland – the perfect tonic after a long, cold winter. In the autumn the reds, golds and ambers of the seasonal foliage contrast with the magnificent proteas, aloes and camellias. Even at the winter solstice there are usually more than 300 species of plant in flower.
The treasures to be found within the Abbey Garden are not limited to the floral kind, either. The Valhalla Museum within the Garden is home to shipwrecked figureheads collected across the Isles of Scilly and now part of the National Maritime collection.
Opening Times & Visit Information
Tresco Abbey Garden is open daily from 10am until 4pm throughout the year. The Abbey Garden Cafe is currently closed for the winter, reopening in March 2020.
There are daily tripper boats to Tresco from the neighbouring islands of St Mary’s, Bryher and St Martin’s, and regular trips from St Agnes. Please see island boat boards for details.
At the entrance to the garden is the Garden Cafe, a well-stocked gift shop and an exhibition telling the history of the Abbey Garden.
Rental guests and Islandshare Owners staying on Tresco receive complimentary entry to Tresco Abbey Garden. Entry prices for all other visitors are shown below.
Whilst the garden does have a number of sets of steps, there is also an accessible route along shingle paths suitable for wheelchairs. A limited number of mobility scooters are available to hire (booking strongly advised). For further information on accessibility around the garden, please call 01720 424108.
Scholarships & Bursaries
The Abbey Garden is an incredible place for horticultural students to gain invaluable experience. Garden curator Mike Nelhams is involved with various scholarships and bursaries which can help students gain placement in this prestigious botanical site.