When I was 18 I used to work for a local newspaper which we sold holidays through. One of the trips that was really popular was coach trips to the Eden Project, which baffled me as from what I could tell is was just plants & shit.
That was when I was a bratty 18 year old though with not an ounce of culture in me. Fast forward to the ripe old age of 35 and on a family holiday staycation to Cornwall for a wedding and I actually fancied going along to see what it was all about. So me, my mum and sister in law Ruth went to see some plants & shit.
For those who don’t know the Eden Project is a complex which is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species, and each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The biomes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames. The two bimones emulate two natural environments; a rainforest and a mediterrainian climate. There is also an outside botanical garden which is home to many plants and wildlife native to Cornwall and the UK.
We arrived at about 12.30pm on a Monday in the summer holidays and I can tell you it’s been me a new respect to people with kids, it’s was HEAVING. I don’t pity parents who are are tied to those timescales of craziness that are the school holidays. We would never normally be holidaying outside of term time however as we were in the area for a family wedding so didn’t have the luxury of choice on this occasion. Top tip number 1: Buy your tickets online before had and you get to skip the 40 minute queue we had to wait in – our punishment for being under prepared.
We were short on time so heading straight over to the rainforest biome as that’s the one we were looking forward to seeing most. Let me tell you it gets pretty hot and sticky in there, especially when it’s so rammed full of people and the higher up the biome you get the hotter it becomes. There’s plenty of cool stuff to see once inside though, bamboo, banana trees and some pretty interesting looking flora and fauna. Meandering through the jungle there are little activity stations dotted around for the kids and good descriptions of what everything is.
Next up was the Mediterranean biome which, surprisingly I enjoyed more than the rain forest. It had all my favourite types of plant; olive trees, vineyards (perhaps not so surprising it was my favourite afterall) but my absolute favourite section was the perfume garden which (again unsurprisingly) smelt divine. The Mediterranean biome was definitely more interesting, possibly because it housed stuff we can relate to like the fruits and vegetables we love to eat. It was a much more pleasant temperature and less busy as well which helped with the laid back atmosphere.
Outside the biomes is more agriculture where you’ll find working gardens growing local fruits and vegetables like courgettes and potatoes, all of which are used in the on-site restaurants.
Talking of food, there are plenty of options to eat from cafes for a sandwich to a full table service a la carte restaurant in the Mediterranean biome. The best value looked to be the canteen located in the connecting walkway between both biomes where you could get a full meal for £9 and everything is prepared in an open kitchen in front of you. However top tip number 2: they allow you to take your own food in and there are loads of grassy areas for a little pic nic. We treated ourselves to a Freakshake which wasn’t extortionate at £4.50 each – they’re not on the same level of the behemoths you get at The Great British Cupcakery but they were sustenance enough for us.
My honest opinion? Real talk, it was ok. Is it worth the £27.50 entry fee? Absolutely not, you’re talking over £100 for a family of 4 and i’m not entirely convinced it would be all that interesting for children anyway. Yeah it’s cool looking at all the big leaves and they have a few motion rides and a Space talk to keep the little ones occupied but bearing in mind you’re most likely to take them in the school holidays, you’ll probably going to spend the majority of the time standing in queues for things.
If you’re massive into botany then I’m sure it’s like Disneyland but we only spend a couple of hours there and felt we’d seen it all; my £30 would have been better spent elsewhere.
*Thanks to my sis-in-law Ruth who was my fantastic photographer for the day and let me use all her pictures!
I’ve heard the Gardens of Heligan are better but I think the Eden project is kind of a place everyone needs to visit? We’re planning a trip to Cornwall next year and will probably still go – I’ll remember to book online! x