The Eden Project, Cornwall – Welcome To The Jungle!
I had wanted to visit The Eden Project in Cornwall for so long, the biomes appear so futuristic it is almost as if they were designed for the first human inhabitants of Mars! Our first view of the whole area and these structures were when we went to take part in the adventure activities at Hangloose based there. From here we had a great view of the site…and then we took on Skywire, one of the longest and fastest ziplines in the UK! On Skywire we flew over the entire Eden Project site at speeds of up to 60 mph! Awesome fun at such a unique location…I would definitely recommend having a go at these adrenaline fuelled activities!
We visited The Eden Project during our first time glamping, where we stayed in an amazing converted shepherds hut with a roaring log fire, full of lovely little touches, a great experience in its own right! The Eden Project was just a 20 minute drive away from where we were staying, on a farm in Lostwithiel.
So at The Eden Project there are two huge temperature controlled biomes, one is the rainforest biome, the other is the Mediterranean Biome. There are also beautiful landscaped outside gardens, The Core building with loads of educational and discovery displays, as well as a really cool shop and nice café…but the crowning glories of The Eden Project are the biomes and what are contained within.
As you leave the entrance area you are hit with a view over the entire site set in a former clay pit…this is a WOW moment! Once we had got over the amazing view our next thought was “Where do we go first?” With so much to discover this can be a difficult one but we had seen on the board as we entered that we would be able to just make it in time for a guided walk in the rainforest biome.
The Rainforest Biome
We got there just in time to tag along on the guided walk, this was so much fun and gave us a real insight into the whole project. It was definitely the highlight of our trip, our guide was so enthusiastic and had a genuine real interest in what was being done here you couldn’t help but be wrapped up in everything she told us. During this tour I realised that it isn’t just the plants, amazing biodiversity, and architecture which are the stars of the show here, it is the dedicated staff as well. There are just four full time gardeners here who clearly are at the top of their game, the Eden Project is also a charity, something I wasn’t aware of, and there are volunteers who also help out along with seasonal staff. The other thing which caught my attention was that as a botanical garden The Eden Project is massively successful, with the rare and exotic plants grown here, probably even more successful than really famous institutions such as Kew Gardens.
On entering the Rainforest Biome the first thing which hits you is the humidity…I imagine very similar to if you were actually in a rainforest, the temperature inside is effected by outside conditions so our November visit was easily bearable. The temperature is kept within the ranges of 18-35°c. It is like being transported to another country, my head was darting around taking everything in, the sight of these amazing plants and trees set against the hexagonal structure of the biomes is really something!
The worlds largest indoor rainforest with over 1000 varieties of plants as we followed the walk through we were taken through the rainforests of tropical islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and tropical South America, every area incredible! On our guided tour we were told about the medical value of some of these plants, some of which are even being used in cures for cancer. We were told stories about the uses of many of the plants and shown things which we use or consume every day and I had never seen the actual source! Cacao Trees and Coffea Arabica, I had never seen how Vanilla grows until this visit and learnt that it is the smallest seed in the world! There really was so much to discover and learn. There was a small school group visiting at the same time as us and these lucky kids really were enchanted by the pla1ce, carrying their clip boards ticking things off as they saw them, they were having a great time! We also found out that this biome was used as the filming location for the villain’s lair in the James Bond film Die Another Day in 2002!
One of the best experiences here is the canopy walk, some of which was being extended during our visit so we couldn’t go right to the very top which is almost in the roof of the biome, but we could go to the canopy of the forest, and in a destination full of incredible views, this was up there with the best!
If you look to the top left of this picture you can see the part of the canopy walk which will be re-opening in Spring 2017, this will mean a return visit for us for sure! What a view that will be!
On the forest floor we stumbled across a group of people clicking away taking photographs of these beautiful little birds, roulroul, a ground dwelling partridge which The Eden Project have introduced as part of their ecosystem to help control some of the bugs and pests inside.
The Mediterranean Biome
Entering this biome, for me, had a strange sense of familiarity to it, the smells, the colours of the flowers, everything triggered memories of places I’ve been to, things I’ve seen, things I’ve eaten!! It took my mind to beautiful Cyprus having spent so much time there. The smell of that Rosemary those herbs, Rosemary (my favourite!), amazing!
This biome is more seasonal and I think a visit in spring/summer would show even more colours, tulips and poppies spring into bloom here. It may not be as gob smacking as the Rainforest Biome but it is very pretty, and for me it almost became a trip down memory lane. Pointing out flowers which looked familiar and figuring out where we had seen them before. There were also some cool little things here…quirky little things…have you ever seen an aubergine growing before? I hadn’t…and they had a whole variety of them here!
There is a really cool shop here full of organic natural products…and a lot of local products, I was really pleased to find some of the local beers here to try. It is not your usual souvenir shop…sure there are gifts and souvenirs you can pick up, but there is so much more, we really enjoyed wandering around here.
Outside looking over the gardens is this really cool sculpture by artist Paul Bonomini made from 3,3 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), the amount an average household will throw away over a lifetime…WEEE Man is a thought provoking interesting sight!
The Eden Project was a great day out, it was an adventure, it was full of discovery, and it was educational…in a fun way. It wasn’t a place where monotonous facts are thrown at you where you have to already have a real keen interest in the subject to get anything out of it…it was really good fun…and to see these sights in this setting with these amazing structures…it makes for a day to remember!
Entry to the Eden Project is £25 for adults, £14 for children, kids under 5 go free. If you book in advance online you get 10% off, your entry free is treated as a donation and is eligible for gift aid, plus it counts as an annual pass so you can return however many times you wish over the year. This is a really clever idea because this place changes throughout the year with so many different things to see. During winter months the site is lit up and looks spectacular, in the spring/summer whilst in full bloom it’s full of colour, plus there are the Eden Sessions…a series of concerts held at the site, what a place to see a live band play! Totally different! Plus…these biomes are weather proof…more success at beating the weather travelling around the UK during the winter months!
Thanks as always for reading, our travels around the UK and Ireland continued with an awesome 24 hours in Dublin, check out Instagram for some pics and look out for new posts coming soon! We are excited about staying in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle soon and exploring the surrounding area at this chilly…but beautiful time of the year!