Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Eden Project - Cornwall Part Three

Back in 1999 The Eden Project was an old abandoned quarry in Cornwall. Hard to believe when you see it today with it's biorbs looming above the beautifully landscaped gardens. Just outside of St Austell, The Eden Project is one of the finest attractions and famous places in Cornwall. Not just an attraction however, The Eden Project is also a charity and social enterprise where they aim to create learning experiences about our world alongside doing valuable research into plants and conservation. Everything they do from the food in the cafe to the water that cleans the toilets are run in the greenest way possible - it made us really stop and think about being a bit more eco-friendly in our day-to-day.

The Eden Project also hosts a rich programme of music, art and entertainment bringing the local community back in through it's doors for more than just the planting. This year they are hosting the likes of Eddie Izzard, The xx and Sigur Ros on their outdoor stage to name just a few. But it is the gardens set within the two huge biomes that people come to see.



Starting in the Mediterranean Biome you wander through the plants and gardens of Southern Europe and even get to dance with the bull god, Dionyssus.

Lemons and olives grow on trees, and you really do forget you are in Cornwall for just a few moments.

Top 10 things to see in the Mediterranean Biome

  1. Drifts of colourful poppies and lupins in our Californian grassland
  2. Bacchanalian sculptures revelling in the vineyard
  3. A collection of heady natural scents in our perfume vats
  4. Giant lemon-like fruits called citrons
  5. A dazzling array of South African proteas
  6. A carpet of tulips in the spring
  7. Gnarled old cork trees - and even some cork sculptures
  8. Huge sprouting aloe veras
  9. The mosaic path; we call it Liquid Gold
  10. The delicate flowers and scents of South Africa's Fynbos habitat

Your next stop will be to the star of the show, the Rainforest Biome. Here you will find a perfectly formed rainforest taken from Malaysia to the Seychelles. You will see bananas and coffee growing - and different types of rice, all to the sound of gushing streams and waterfalls. It really is a triumph and opening this year is a skywalk to see the forest from above. Currently you have to do this via a very wobbly aerial walkway - only for the completely fearless. 




Top 10 things to see in the Rainforest Biome

  1. The Rainforest Lookout, which takes you above the treetops
  2. Mangrove swamps bring a taste of tropical islands
  3. The Rainforest Balloon, that lifts our gardeners up to the canopy
  4. Our Malaysian hut, complete with vegetable plot and paddy field
  5. Bananas - spot bunches of them high up in the trees
  6. The waterfall, crashing through our South American rainforest
  7. The plants that bring us cola, cupcakes and chewing gum
  8. A mini soya plantation, the controversial crop found in all our food
  9. Rubber trees, in everything from car tyres to condoms
  10. Cocoa and chocolate - everyone's favourite beans.

No visit is complete without lunch and I was very impressed here too. The main cafe is run like a buffet but prices are reasonable (about £8 for a lunch) and suitable for vegetarians as well as meat and fish eaters. Children are probably better off in the Mediterranean Cafe which makes fresh pizza and has paella for the adults. 

There are lots of other things to see and do at The Eden Project but it was raining and so we stuck to the Biomes for our entertainment. It is open all year round and standard adult tickets bought on the door are £23.50. Check out The Eden Project site for concessions and offers. 

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