Created in the Arts and Crafts style, the garden has two terraces near the house linked by steps. The white cherry blossom is spectacular in the Spring while the borders in the Rill Garden are planted with both herbaceous and semi-tender perennials.
A shelter belt of conifers provides a micro-climate allowing many tender plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand to grow.
Further down the valley, the gardens become less formal and lead to the South West Coast Path.
Coleton Fishacre is an RHS accredited garden.
National Trust members visit for free.
Rupert and Lady Dorothy D’Oyly Carte discovered the valley at Coleton Fishacre while sailing. They commissioned Oswald Milne, a pupil of Sir Edwin Lutyens, to design the house. Work began in 1925 and the D’Oyly Cartes moved in the following year.
Milne also designed the gazebo. The shelter belts and layout of the gardens were planned by Edward White while the D’Oyly Carte’s focused on the plantings.
In 1870s, Thespis, a comic opera written by WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, was performed at the Gaiety Theatre in London. Rupert’s father Richard was the manager of the Royalty Theatre in Soho, and realising the duo’s potential commissioned them to write Trial By Jury. This was followed by The Sorcerer and HMS Pinafore in 1878. The huge success of these comic operas, allowed Richard to build the Savoy Theatre in 1881 followed by the Savoy Hotel in 1889. Rupert inherited the business from his step-mother.
Rupert and Lady Dorothy’s only son died in a car crash aged 21. The couple never recovered from this tragedy and in 1936, they divorced. Rupert continued to lived at Coleton Fishacre until his death in 1948 when the house and gardens were inherited by their daughter Bridget.
The following year, Bridget sold Coleton Fishacre to Rowland and Freda Smith. They maintained the house and garden until Rowland’s death in 1979. Just before Freda’s death in 1982, she gave Coleton Fishacre to the National Trust.