The Eden Project has been somewhere we’ve wanted to visit as a family for a long time, but living so far away from Cornwall we’ve never managed to get there. So on our recent holiday to Cornwall we decided that it was finally time to put that right!
The story of the transformation from a clay pit to a magical world of exotic plants is both fascinating and inspirational, and is something that really has to be seen in person.
With Max being only 2 and a half, I had some concerns about how suitable it would be for him. But I needn’t have worried. I knew that Max would love the biomes and the rainforest, but I didn’t expect him to be so entranced from the moment we set foot through the entrance. You enter at the top of a valley, so you have a wonderful view of the gardens and the biomes, and there is a viewing platform with specially positioned peep holes for toddlers who wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.
We decided to wander through the gardens down to the biomes and I have to admit that, being November, I wasn’t expecting much from the gardens, but as you can see from the photos, there’s still plenty of colour and interest to be found and Max had a great time exploring.
There are lots of educational play activities spread out as you wander through the gardens, and Max loved these. I’m not sure he got much out of them educationally, but for older children there’s lots of learning to be done about different plants, rocks, and other environmental issues. I loved the giant bee sculpture, set amongst lots of flowers which are great for pollination – amazing to see the verbena still in flower too!
One of Max’s favourite areas to explore was the vegetable garden – still lots of vegetables to be harvested, and, having carved our pumpkin only the week before, Max was very taken with the pumpkins! We grow some vegetables at home, which Max has been fascinated by, but it was great to see something on a much larger scale here.
The biomes are all interconnected and you enter via The Link – the Eden Project’s restaurant. This is where we’d been making a bee line for, thanks to the helpful information from the lady at the entrance. It has a cafe serving hot food and sandwiches, a juice bar, a coffee bar, an ice cream stand, as well as lots of seating and toilets. We ate lunch here before heading into the Rainforest Biome, and the food was really good, with a good selection of pick and mix kids lunchbox options too.
You head upstairs to enter the Biomes, and as you arrive upstairs you’ll see a cloakroom. We didn’t make use of this, but it’s free, and the Rainforest Biome in particular is very hot and humid, so it’s wise to unload all those heavy coats before you go in.
The Rainforest Biome really is amazing. As soon as you enter, the smell hits you and you feel like you’ve been transported to another part of the world. The route takes you through different parts of the world and the different plants you’ll find there – the Caribbean, Asia, South America. Max was really taken with it all, and despite missing the more educational displays, he just loved exploring the different pathways, and seeing all the different plants. At certain points we discovered little green birds which crawled amongst the trees on the ground, and he was hugely taken with them.
There is a walkway right at the top, where you can get an amazing view across the whole biome, but sadly on our visit this was closed.
The Mediterranean Biome is on the other side of The Link, and after the humidity of the Rainforest, the milder climate is a welcome break! As you enter, it transports you to a Greek island setting – all terracotta pots, white brick walls, twinkly festoon lights, and even a lovely looking greek taverna style restaurant, which made me wish we’d eaten there!
Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to explore the Mediterranean Biome as much as I’d have liked as Max was very much not in the mood by this point. He did like this little wooden train though, as you can see by the look on his face!
We had a wonderful day at The Eden Project. If you’re visiting Cornwall off season, it’s a great option, as there is lots to do indoors (and let’s face it, even on a rainy day in Cornwall, it hardly ever rains solidly all day, so you can probably get outside at some point).
I did feel that at £25 per person for an adult ticket, it’s not a cheap visit, but I was pleasantly surprised that this bought us a return visit within a year (which we hope to make use of in 2017). Under 4’s are free, so no charge for Max, and children (5-16) are £14. You can save 10% buy booking online in advance (we didn’t plan ahead enough to do this though!)
Address: Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
Opening: Open every day apart from Christmas Day. Check website for opening times
Website: The Eden Project