I’m currently on a family holiday to Cornwall, one of the things I really wanted to do while I was there is to go to the Eden Project!
The day we went to the Eden Project the weather was dreadful. It rained non-stop all day, which I think meant that half of Cornwall thought they’d go there too! The drive from where we were staying to the Eden Project took about an hour and a half, but then we also had to queue for about an hour in the car to get in! As it’s the summer holidays though it’s something you have to expect.
One positive about getting there a bit later was that because it was after 3:30 pm when we bought our tickets, it was 25% off and the project was open until 8 pm rather than 5 pm. Also, we got a free yearly pass which can be used to return for free as many times as you like for a year, which was a great addition.
As you exit the visitor centre you’re struck with the stunning panorama of the Biomes. Even on the gloomy day we had it was still an incredible sight.
The first place we visited was the Core. This is the main educational hub of the Eden Project. Inside the core, there are lots of informative dioramas and displays all around the Core. This area focuses on recycling, climate change and the impact we have on the environment. It was so interesting to look around this exhibit and great for children who loved the interactive sections of the Core. One of the most impressive parts of the Core is the Seed. A 70-tonne sculpture by Peter Randall that was carved out of a single piece of Cornish granite. The seed is carved in the pattern of a Fibonacci spiral – the growth pattern found across the natural world in things like sunflowers, pine cones. This is a must see if you are going to visit the Eden Project.
The next place we visited was the Mediterranean biome. Both biomes are connected by a food hall that sells burritos, ice cream, fresh fish, mezze and lots of other diverse and delicious food. They also sell local ales and ciders.
The Mediterranean biome is host to the Mediterranean, South African and Californian landscape. Upon entrance to the biome there is a Mediterranean themed restaurant open on the evening, however, you have to book in advance in order to dine there as it gets very busy.
Inside the biome, there is a fragrance garden, olive grove, vineyard, cork sculptures, aloe vera plants and so many plants and trees. There’s also a seasonal garden. When I visited it was full of sunflowers and was truly beautiful to look at. It’s almost a sensory overload to begin with as you step inside the biome, with all the different smells, colours and textures of plants. There’s also a chilli garden, which was really interesting as it showed you some of the hottest chillies in the world. For children, there’s an American Indian hut to play inside and interactive storytelling in the citrus grove every day at set times. I’d say it takes around an hour to see everything in this biome.
The other biome is the Rainforest Biome, which is the larger of the two biomes. As soon as you enter you’re hit with the humid air, it is as close as you’ll get to being in a rainforest in the United Kingdom. Inside you’ll find banana trees, papaya trees, giant bamboo and thousands of exotic flowers and trees. Near the exit of the biome there’s also a juice bar that serves great juices, smoothies, milkshakes and frappes. There’s also a variety of birds and insects that live inside the biome. The birds are really friendly and aren’t phased by the tourists. One of my favourite parts of this biome is the rainforest walkway you can explore. There are interactive exhibits exploring the way of life of the Baka indigenous people, which is a really interesting exhibit. You also have an awe-inspiring panoramic view across the whole biome.
There’s also a waterfall which runs through and helps to control the humidity inside. It’s a really spectacular when you see it. It really aids the illusion that you’re deep in the rainforest.
If you’re feeling brave, there’s also the sky platform. You have to climb about 80 steps to get up there and only so many people are allowed up at one time. There really are breathtaking views from this platform, if you’re not scared of heights then you should definitely go up there.
The rainforest biome was definitely my favourite. There were so many diverse and interesting plants to look at, but also other exhibits such as a Malaysian hut, rubber plants and their uses and also sculptures. The theme of recycling and environmental awareness is really important in this biome. With the current rate of deforestation it’s vital that as many people are educated about its devastating effect as possible in order to try to ultimately prevent it.
Unfortunately due to the bad weather, we didn’t spend much time in the outdoor gardens or exhibits. However when we were walking to and from exhibits we go to see a few of the sensory gardens and also some of the fantastic sculptures, one that’s even made of recycled electrical appliances.
I really like the touch of the gift shops at the Eden Project. They’re not like your usual gift shops that sell cuddly toys and branded pieces of stationary that get forgotten about by the next day. The Eden Project sells organic, natural foods such as chocolate, coffee, tea, olives and chillies. They also sell Pukka tea and have their own Pukka tea shop. They do sell some conventional children’s items like pencils and toys but these are all made from recycled materials or sustainably sourced which is a fantastic idea that more gift shops should try. The Eden Project also sell their own range of skin care products. There are all also very affordable whilst being organic and cruelty-free. Another great touch to their gift shops are the plants that they sell. There are all kinds of varieties at really low prices and all suitable for your home environment so you don’t need to build your own biome! I bought my own little succulent which is still going strong.
Overall, I think the Eden Project is a fantastic day out if you’re in Cornwall. It might be a bit pricy but if you book online you do save 10% off your tickets, there’s also an additional saving if you use public transport to get there. I advise you look at their website to see they options best suited for you. It really is a great day out for all ages. I went with my Nan and Dad, who both enjoyed it as much as I did, there’s also lots of things to do for children. The architecture of the biomes, sculptures and everything inside the Eden Project is all fantastic, it really is a must see exhibit.
Don’t think it’s just some plants, because it really is much more than that. You really gain a valuable perspective on the importance of plants in our world and how incredible our world really is.