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Caerhays Castle

Caerhays Castle
Late March is Charles Williams’s favourite time of year at Caerhays Castle, when the Asiatic tree magnolias are in full bloom. “On a sunny day, you feel as if you are sitting halfway up a mountain in the Himalayas,” he says.

The estate where his family have lived for five generations certainly enjoys a spectacular setting; nestled into the hillside overlooking Porthluney Cove, near St Austell. Daphne du Maurier cited the Cornish estate as the inspiration for Manderley – indeed the 1979 BBC series Rebecca was filmed here. Most recently it was  the location for Tim Burton’s film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Charles’s second wife Lizzie recalls the first time she saw Caerhays Castle, her home now for the past 22 years, surrounded by the estate’s famous rhododendrons and magnolias. “It was nothing short of impressive,” she says. “It’s a magical place to live and a labour of love looking after the place. I adore describing myself as a housewife. It’s quite a house.”

Today the pair live in the Grade I-listed castle, with Charles continuing the horticultural work of his great-grandfather and Lizzie devoting herself to the house and dogs.

While, as with any great estate, the upkeep of the bricks and mortar is a Herculean task, Caerhays is peculiar in that it has a weight of history in its blooms.

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