Being English I’d heard of the Eden Project before and in my head I had a visual image of the place being giant golf ball shapes protruding out of the earth, yet I never really understood what the place represented.
Situated in Cornwall the Eden Project is built upon an old Kaolinite pit and consists of two huge biomes. Plant species from all over the world are grown and preserved within the two expansive enclosures, the largest biome recreates a tropical environment with the smaller biome simulating a Mediterranean climate.
The man behind the concept of the Eden Project is Tim Smit and its architect was Nicholas Grimshaw.
There are some wonderful panoramic views of the complex from the viewing platform shortly after entering via the visitors centre. Visually stunning, the Eden Project looks like a futuristic mars space station that’s been constructed amongst the hills of the Cornish countryside. Either that or a giant grownup home for adult Teletubbies. The sheer size and scale of the biome domes from this vantage point is spectacular and it’s worth taking ten minutes to take in all in.
Once you’ve walked along the beautiful paths and gardens (watch out for the giant bee on your left hand side) you’ll cross a small bridge and enter a building where the central focus beneath your feet is the Eden Project’s wonderful open-plan restaurant.
Eden Projects Bakery
Situated between the Eden Projects two Biomes is the Eden Bakery. Here the bakers create handmade pastries, fresh pizzas, savoury dishes and cakes. Unlike most restaurants you can even chat to them as they work because they are baking in front of you. Do save your appetite for dessert though because some of the cake and scones on display are simply amazing.
The largest of the biomes houses numerous tropical plants such as banana, coffee, bamboo, rubber. It’s climate is kept at a tropical level with a moist atmosphere, as you climb higher in the dome it becomes increasingly hot and humid. Luckily there’s a juice bar within the dome serving smoothies and there’s also water stations where you can buy water to keep hydrated whilst you wander.
The tropical biome dome is also home to a hot air balloon that rises up within the dome, it’s used to trim back over growing plants and trees. We were lucky enough to see the Olympic flame carried by Ben Fogle in the balloon to celebrate day one of the Olympic torch relay.
For those of you who don’t suffer from vertigo you can venture towards the top of the dome to a viewing platform that looks out over the rainforest. It can be very humid walking up the steps to the top so allow plenty of time and take some water. There are plans to potentially create a canopy walk way for visitors but there is no confirmation date of when this may be available.
The Mediterranean dome is a much less humid affair and is a pleasant stroll. There are numerous interesting sculptures throughout and can be hired as a beautiful wedding venue.
In 2005 the Eden Project opened The Core, an educational facility with classrooms and exhibitions. It was designed to communicate its core message of the relationships between humans and plants.
The Eden Project is a welcome break for the standard tourist attractions, its core message is promoted but not forced and it’s an extremely welcoming place. It’s an attraction you should visit if you are in Cornwall even just to see the place for a distance, it’s an impressive sight.