*AD- press trip: We were gifted entrance tickets in exchange for this post, review – Eden Project in Cornwall. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
At the weekend we were invited to the Eden Project for a family day out. Mr B and I visited Eden over 10 years ago, so we have never taken the girls. I have been wanting to go back for ages, and this past weekend was L’s 4 birthday weekend and therefore a treat for her to show her around. Our review – Eden Project is part of our family day’s out in Cornwall series that I’m planning this year.
What is the Eden Project?
The Eden Project is an educational charity, social enterprise, and visitor attraction. It is one of the top visitor destinations in Cornwall. Nestled in a huge crater, the massive biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, and exhibitions. They serve as a backdrop to the striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts (Eden Sessions) ice skating, and exciting year-round family events.
I remember years ago hearing about the Eden Project being built while I was at school. Tim Smit, the brains behind Eden had previously restored the elegant Lost Gardens of Heligan and looked for another project. The construction process in 1998 met with a few snags with the rain. I can totally imagine this as the enormous old china clay pit is like a huge bowl and lies 15 metres beneath the water table. In May 2000 the biome’s start to resemble the shape we know them today. One fascinating fact I love is that they made all the soil for the biomes! In September of that year, the first plants arrive for the Rainforest Biome. On the 17th March 2001 the doors open for the whole world to see inside.
Arriving At Eden
As locals, we found it easy to get to Eden from the main road but it can be tricky if you don’t know the area. It’s suggested you use the postcode PL24 2SG for the satnav. With it being a wet soggy windy day in Cornwall, it was very quiet arriving in the car park. We were directed to the Orange carpark which is one of the closest to the entrance. There is loads of free parking! It’s a fair slope to walk down to the entrance, so bear that in mind with older and younger people. A park and ride train is available to use up and down from the car parks.
Once we got through the ticket area and visitor entrance we walked down the windy path to the Rainforest Biome. I was excited to see this part for our review Eden Project. You could take the bridge and then the lift down if you prefer. But we thought we would use the lift back up!
One the way down to the biomes there are lots of things to read and see. L wanted to know what everything was! That’s one thing I love about Eden is the educational aspect. There is so much to learn for all ages.
Back in 2009 when Mr B and I visited it was in the Summer and the Rainforest Biome was extremely hot and muggy. On our visit this time, on a cold wet February day it wasn’t overly hot, just comfortable. In here you can experience four of the world’s rainforest environments: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Tropical South America. (Temperature ranges from 18-35 degrees.)
It’s massive with the trees towering above you. It’s the closest you can get to a rainforest without actually going to one! and yes, it’s like stepping into another world once you enter those doors!
Our Favourite Things To See In The Rainforest Biome:
- The Canopy Walkway – It was beautiful to walk over the rope bridge and look down below at the plants and trees.
- The Malaysian House – A stunning bamboo house on stilts complete with a rice paddy field.
- The Climate Platform and Weather Station – where you can discover more about the link between the atmosphere and climate change, read live weather data and find out how computer climate modelling helps forecasts.
- The Waterfall – In the South American part of the rainforest.
- Bananas – It was fantastic to look up to see the bunches of bananas
- Cacao Trees – Growing beans to make chocolate!
- The Orchid Pergola – I love orchids so this area was fascinating to me.
- Oil Palm Exhibit – This exhibit explores how the most widely consumed oil in the world can be produced more sustainably. It’s brilliant to learn this.
There are many other things to see in the Rainforest biome like the coffee bean trees, the wild rubber exhibit, the canopy walk, and the pineapple plants, but those were our highlights.
Because we had little Dottie in the pram we were not able to climb the steps up to the canopy walk. It’s 64 steps up to a suspended walkway to the top of the biome where you can see everything!
I must just mention that apart from the canopy walk everywhere else is pram friendly in the Rainforest Biome.
After the Rainforest Biome, we walked through to the Mediterranean Biome. The temperature here is much cooler, around 9-25 degrees. It’s smaller than the Rainforest Biome and feels more “open”.
You walk through the landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia and discover the amazing variety of plants growing in these warm temperate regions of the world. I’m thoroughly enjoying sharing our favourite things in our review Eden Project!
Our Favourite Things To See In The Mediterranean Biome
- The Bacchanalian Sculptures – revelling in the vineyard.
- The Citrus Grove – Stunning lemon, limes, and oranges growing on the trees. Plus the giant lemon-like fruit!
- Western Australia Garden – With the grass trees.
- The Mosaic Path – It’s like follow the yellow brick road!
- The CAMFED Garden – This garden shows the nutrient-rich agriculture and climate-smart techniques used by female agricultural entrepreneurs supported by the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). Enabling women across sub-Saharan Africa to grow food, and develop jobs and opportunities at scale for their communities. It won Gold and the People’s Choice Award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019. I can see why with its bright colours and striking exotic plants.
Other highlights inside the Mediterranean Biome include the perfume vats in the perfume garden, the knarled old cork trees, huge Aloe Vera plants, and olive trees. In the centre of this biome is the area set out for the storytelling, by the citrus grove. Check out the website for daily times.
Outside The Biomes
With over 20 acres of gardens to explore, you will not get bored outside the biomes at Eden. Again unfortunately due to the weather in February, we were not able to explore much of the outdoor areas, but what we did see is well worth a trip back in more favourable weather.
You can explore miles of paths that twist and turn up and down the slopes of the pit. You’ll get breathtaking views of the biomes and discover gardens and landscapes featuring everything from beautiful ornamental flowers to crops used for medicine, fuels, materials, and food. Outdoor play equipment and gardens includes the Minibeast Mansion play tower, the nest climbing frame, The Spiral Garden, The Mine, and the Zipwire and adventure activities.
The Core at Eden Project
A stunning newish edition to Eden is The Core building, based on the design structure of a sunflower. This building houses a permanent exhibition called Invisible Worlds. Includes a soft play area, cafe and training rooms available to hire.
There is much to see and do at this exhibition, including learning about ecosystems, evolution, and climate change. A particular highlight is the Seed sculpture at the centre of the building. Artist Peter Randall-Page was commissioned to sculpt the “Seed” which is made from a single piece of Cornish granite weighing over 167 tonnes.
Eating at Eden Project
Situated between the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes are the Eden dining halls downstairs. It’s massive! You can look down and see the food being prepared. Depending on the day and time of year the Med kitchen in the Mediterranean Biome is open. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open on our visit in February. But I hear it serves up beautiful Mediterranean-inspired food such as authentic Spanish paella, stone-baked pizzas, Tuscan vegetable antipasti, deli meat antipasti, and mixed cheese antipasti, and Tiramisu. You can sit and dine alfresco style taking in the sights around you.
There are various Ice Cream parlours a pasty shop, and a coffee house on site. Outside are many picnic areas and benches, ideal for the Summer.
Many dietary requirements are catered for, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. The Eden Project prides itself on sourcing local produce and sustainable food. They actively encourage you to bring your own reusable cups and bottles to fill up. Around the whole site are water stations. The kid’s menu is pretty extensive with lots of options.
Facilities At Eden
I like to include as much info as I can on my review Eden Project so you can go prepared for your visit. There are plenty of accessible car parking spaces (in carparks Apple 1 Apple 2 and Banana) and toilets. Including baby changing facilities. Manuel and automatic wheelchairs are available for free. A park and ride bus up and down from the carparks – note this does not run from the accessible carparks. Seating is dotted around the whole site. A cash machine is located opposite the ticket office. Dogs are permitted to visit with you in the outside gardens but are not permitted inside the biomes. This does not apply to assistance dogs that are welcome throughout the site. A gift shop is located on the way out.
Ticket Prices at Eden Project
(Prices correct as of September 2021)
|ADULT Off-peak £29.50||Standard £32.50||Peak £35|
|Senior Off-peak £27.50||Standard £30.50||Peak £33|
|Student Off-peak £24.50||Standard £27.50||Peak £30|
|Children aged 5-16 £10 all year round|
|Children aged 0-4 FREE all year round|
If you are planning to visit both Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan within 28 days you can buy a combined ticket saving you money. See here for more info on this.
Eden does local passholder tickets which are great value for money if you live locally as you get unlimited access.
How To Get To Eden Project
Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
You can check out the Eden Project’s website for directions on foot, car, bus, train.
We thoroughly enjoyed our morning at Eden, the average time spent is around 4 hours walking around, getting a bite to eat and visiting the gift shop. Our review Eden Project is here to share our thoughts. It does seem quite expensive for entry, but I can see why, as it takes a lot to run and keep up the standards. However, if you are local, the local passes are well worth it. The Eden Project is suitable for all weathers, we proved that by visiting during a storm! There is much to learn, see and do and great fun for everyone. I can’t think of any other attractions with as much focus on sustainable living, eco-friendly and learning about the world around us. It is one of a kind!
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.