A perfect half term or family holiday activity, a visit to the Eden Project is filled with wonders enough to keep the entire family entertained for a whole day. There’s a tractor-pulled land train, ideal for the tiniest visitors; a rainforest under a steamy, tropical dome with waterfalls and lush jungle plants; a Rainforest Canopy Walkway, where you can benefit from a monkey’s eye point of view by walking among the tree tops; locally sourced, fair trade food in the cafes and restaurants; a Core educational centre with frequently changing exhibitions and year-round garden displays, as well as activities, gigs, concerts, and a winter ice rink.
Because the Eden Project is mostly under two large domes, it offers year-round attractions to visitors: even on unseasonably cold and blustery days, its great advantage is that its jungle canopies, blooming plants and indoor exhibitions are undiminished. The outdoor gardens are a true delight in the spring, too, with hundreds of smiling yellow daffodils and other bright flowers in full bloom. While it’s generally better to book online in advance to beat the entrance queues at the height of summer (with savings of up to 15%, a little forward planning can be quite economical, too), it is quite possible just to turn up on a whim- a perfect idea in inclement weather. Another advantage is that, once purchased, entrance tickets are valid for an entire year, so it’s possible to come back again to see the gardens in every season at no extra cost- if you live near enough!
Special events are commonplace, with big celebrity names such as Elton John having performed at the Eden Project in the past. With Mediterranean and Tropical biomes, the Eden Project is educational as well as entertaining, and it’s run on a charitable basis. The Tropical or Rainforest Biome offers a really exciting learning experience, with plants growing which are commonly used in our everyday lives, such as cocoa, coffee, and cola, while the Mediterranean Biome offers a burst of colour and fragrance with tulips and olive trees, as well as more exotic Californian plants- it turns out that California has a Mediterranean climate, too. There is easily enough to see and do at the Eden Project for an entire day, but if you’re staying in St Austell for a few days or more, it’s quite possible to pop back with your annual pass tickets. The themed cafes on site have plenty of nourishing, wholesome food, dogs are permitted in some areas, and the Project has recently installed a zip wire for visitors to take part in more vigorous physical activity.
The Eden Project offers a fantastic family day out, but one with a conscience. It is built on the site of a disused open cast mine, bringing back plant life and greenery to an area that’s been devastated by the post-industrial age, as well as creating hundreds of jobs in the local area. The Eden Project is a charity and a social enterprise too: visitors can choose to make their entrance fee a charitable donation, and the Project uses these funds to sponsor and manage environmental and social regeneration projects in both the UK and worldwide, as well as focussing on Cornwall and creating positive change locally.