Visiting The Eden Project
Cornwall has more than its share of must-see attractions and the Eden Project is top of many visitors’ lists. It has now been over 20 years since Eden first opened its biomes and since then more than 22 million visitors have enjoyed its lush planting and fascinating stories. Here’s why you should definitely add to this number during your Cornwall holiday.
What Is There To See At The Eden Project?
Firstly, you won’t simply be visiting a garden, but a whole new world of plants and micro climates. The attraction explores themes such as the environment, sustainability and our relationship with plants: Eden educates as much as it entertains. You’ll come away knowing more about the natural world and probably carrying a plant from the gift shop.
Eden is open all year, although it’s debatable whether it’s a rainy-day attraction. You’ll stay lovely and dry (apart from the tropical humidity) in the biomes, but you might miss out on all the wonderful outdoor landscaping and exhibits. Your four-legged friend is welcome in the outside areas and there are plenty of places where kids can let off steam.
It is also worth checking out the events programme before booking your ticket, as there is usually something special going on.
Explore The Biomes At Eden
Those giant hemispherical greenhouses are the heart of Eden’s visitor experience. There are two Biomes: Rainforest and Mediterranean. The former is spectacular. You’re greeted by leaves the size of small cars, before wending your way up the winding paths, through trees and plantations, towards the waterfall at the canopy. Along the way you’ll learn about sugar, spices, bananas, chocolate and how cultivation shapes our everyday lives. Take a bottle of water and a fan and expect to feel a wee bit warm by the time you leave.
The Med Biome is cooler and the heady smell of herbs and flowers will remind you of every Greek or Spanish holiday you’ve ever had (there is even a Mediterranean restaurant…). The mosaic path takes you through olive groves and kitchen gardens, past vineyards with Bacchanalian sculptures, towards whitewashed buildings and ice-cold Korev.
As well as the biomes, don’t miss the Core building. This is home to Peter Randall-Page’s famous Seed sculpture as well as exhibitions and another cafe.
Eden’s Outdoor Spaces
Most visitors make a beeline for the Biomes. Don’t. Instead take your time to enjoy the winding path as it snakes down the side of the deep former clay pit. Look out for side paths that lead to intriguing tree-lined walks, where there are always surprise sculptures, dramatic plants or interesting interpretation boards to find.
The outdoor areas are planted with a blend of Cornish plants and specimens from all over the world. Come early in the year when the bulbs flower, then again in the summer when the whole place seems to smell of lavender and sweetpeas.
Keep your eyes peeled for water features, play areas and grassy places for picnics, as well as more hidden installations such as the spectacular Eve. There are plenty of kiosks where you can top up with caffeine/ice cream/pasties.
Playtime At Eden
Fancy zip-wiring over the biomes? Hangloose Adventure is an outdoor adventure company based at Eden, which offers adrenaline-filled activities such as base jumping, giant swings and aerial adventures, plus that spectacular wire that runs the length of the clay pit. This can be the best way to lure teenagers into a day looking at plants…
In the winter, Eden opens an ice rink. Book an evening skating slot to see the attraction in its full festive mode. Not your thing? Order a hot chocolate or mulled wine and watch the skaters glide by.
In the summer, the ice rink arena becomes a fantastic music and comedy venue for the Eden Sessions. Find out what’s on this year and book asap: tickets for names like Elton John, Kylie and Blondie don’t hang around for long.
Then of course there’s the annual event programme, from gardening activities to visits from Father Christmas. If you’re on your Cornwall holidays during school vacations, there’s always a theme with a linked events programme. HallowEden is particularly popular.
Eating At Eden
You can pack a picnic if you like to take advantage of Eden’s many nice benches and grassed areas. There are also take-out kiosks and counters dotted around the site. You’re greeted by the Coffee House at the reception building and when you head down to the biomes, there’s a choice of places to eat in the Link Building.
Eden caters for most tastes, from afternoon tea to burgers and fries. Pick up a pasty or go for a stone-based pizza or veggie curry in the Biome Kitchen. For a refreshing drink or indulgent lunch of locally-sourced dishes, there’s the Mediterranean Terrace restauranta among the bougainvillaea in the Med Biome.
Visiting The Eden Project: Good To Know
When it comes to the visitor experience, Eden simply gets things right. There’s ample parking, served by a smart fleet of buses (it can be a long walk from the car to reception) and a generous amount of loos.
It’s very family friendly, with changing facilities and play areas, as well as a choice of food and snacks that appeals to most palates. If you want to know more about accessible Eden, take a look at their website which goes into very helpful detail. In Cornwall with your dog? They’ll be welcome in Eden’s outdoor areas.
Allow plenty of time to browse Eden’s large gift shop. As visitor attraction gift shops go, Eden’s is definitely one of the best. You will come home with a chilli plant, some bamboo socks and a large book about trees (we did warn you).
How To Get To The Eden Project
To find out how to get to the Eden Project, take a look at their website, which gives you details of bus routes and cycle paths as well as road directions. Warning: switch off your sat nav and follow the brown signs instead. There are some pretty bendy little roads around St Austell, which you would probably rather avoid.
Cornwall Holiday Cottages For Your Eden Visit
Is Eden on the itinerary for your Cornwall holidays? It is a straightforward destination to reach from most parts of Cornwall, so wherever you stay, you can easily plan a day at Eden. Take a look at our holiday cottages in Cornwall to book your Eden Project break.