The Eden Project is one of the most popular attractions in Cornwall for tourists and residents alike. The 35-acre site showcases ingenuity and human imagination with stunning gardens and crop displays, art installations, exhibitions and stories set against the backdrop of two massive biomes.
The first biome houses the world’s largest indoor rainforest, featuring exotic plants, waterfalls, roul-roul partridges and Sulawesi white-eye birds, among more. The second, a recreation of a Mediterranean microclimate, including plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and California as well as olive groves, vineyards and aromatic herbs.
The Eden Project is more than just a complex of tropical gardens. It’s a gateway into the relationship between plants and people, not to mention a fascinating insight into the story of mankind’s dependence on plant life.
The rainforest biome is the largest rainforest in captivity. Bananas? Coffee beans? Cashews? This steamy indoor jungle has it all. Highlights include an authentic southeast Asian hut and vegetable garden as well as the Rainforest Canopy Walkway and Rainforest Lookout. The latter offers a spectacular view over the entire biome.
The Mediterranean biome is rich with sights, scents and stories from the Med, South Africa and California. Expect to see wild vines, age-old olives, citrus plants and cacti as well as huge sprouting aloe veras. This biome also boasts a spectacular array of traditional artwork, including golden paths, mosaic art and sculptures.
Back in 1998, the outdoor gardens were a barren landscape with no soil and no plants. Today, it boasts more than 3,000 plant varieties across cropped and wild landscapes. Follow the meandering pathways to discover secret gardens, giant sculptures and an allotment complete with two brightly dressed scarecrows.
The Core is Eden’s educated and exhibition space. You’ll find a plethora of interesting art installations – many of which are interactive – under its spiral timber roof, including the 75-tonne Seed sculpture.
Brave the wobbly Rainforest Canopy Walkway to explore the canopy like a real scientist and experience breath-taking views across the biome.
Eden hosts a number of storytelling sessions throughout the day. Tales range from local Cornish folk stories to fables about rainforest plants all the way from the Amazon.
The Core has an indoor play area for children under five. While the Sense of Play Garden and Spiral Garden offers a safe place for kids to let off steam outside.
Eden’s zipwire ride Skyride offers sight-seeing at speed. The zipwire runs above the biomes, spans 660 metres and reaches speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Eden also has a jam-packed seasonal events programme including The Great Easter Egg Hunt, summer barbeques and a winter festival.
The food at Eden reflects the stories it tells: it’s responsibly sourced, fairly traded and freshly made. Eden also does a really good job at catering for vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters and gluten-free diets.
Eden Kitchen offers a fine selection of food, from handmade pastries to savoury dishes to cakes and scones.
The menu for Med Terrace Restaurant features Mediterranean dishes such as goat’s cheese and red pepper tortelloni, stone baked pizza and Tuscan bean salad.
While Eden Bar and Grill serves delicious burgers from a local butcher.
If you fancy a light bite, Eden Coffee House and The Pasty Snack Bar serve hot drinks, cakes and pastries, and a selection of warm Cornish pasties, respectively.
The Baobab Bar, located deep within the rainforest biome, serves refreshing baobab smoothies made from coconut milk, banana and baobab powder from Africa’s trees as well as baobab rum cocktails.
The shop in the Visitor Centre is a great place to pick up gifts and unusual plants before you leave the Eden Project. A lot of the gifts have been sourced from or inspired by plants and the natural world, and include things like toys, books, clothes, chocolate, coffee, soaps and skincare products.
Got any questions about your upcoming trip to the Eden Project? Get in touch via the contact page. You can see more photos of the Eden Project on my Instagram @itslarashingles.