In March 2001 one of Cornwall’s now best known attractions opened its doors for the first time. St Austell in Cornwall had until then been best known for its china clay mining and the disused quarries were just something associated with the landscape. Today, the pit is home to an amazing eco project and some of the biggest biomes in the world.
Open all year
(except 25 Dec)
Opening times vary
Extra events throughout the year
Dogs welcome in the outside gardens
2.5 miles from Green Acres Cottages
See our Garden Breaks offer
What is the Eden Project?
Sustainability, recycling, environmental awareness, renewable energy and a love for the natural gifts our planet gives us is the ethos behind Eden as well as a love for educating people about it in a fun and creative way.
Plant species from around the world are grown in gigantic greenhouses resembling hexagonal 50 metre tall bubble wrap domes called biomes.
In one biome you can walk through a replica of the arid Mediterranean grape growing regions or bask by a citrus tree and smell the herbs and see the flowers from South Africa and California.
In another, you can feel the humidity and wander through an indoor rainforest complete with a waterfall and tropical birds.
The Outside Garden
As soon as you arrive, the colourful flags in the grounds of Eden come into view amongst the gigantic biomes.
The outside space spans the equivalent area of 30 football pitches, so you may prefer to take the land train to the entrance.
Once inside, meander down through the global outdoor allotments where plants are named and labelled with their medicinal properties.
Traditional Cornish daffodils and banks filled with campions, violets and bluebells in springtime give way to herbaceous borders full of life in early summer and onto roses, sweet peas and lavender and then wildflowers in the height of summer.
Over 1000 plants thrive in the arid water-thirsty soils of this biome representing the climate found in the Mediterranean, South Africa and California.
Olives, grapes, aloe vera and citrus fruit are intertwined with cork sculptures whilst herby smells combine with the sights of colourful flowers in a treat for the senses.
Experience the steamy heat of a living rainforest in a jungle of dense tropical foliage. Banana, rubber and bamboo trees thrive amongst coffee, cashew and cocoa plants. Learn the story of chocolate and coffee and walk around a Malaysian hut, paddy field and vegetable plot. Climb to the heights of the tree top canopy if you dare!
With sustainability at its heart, Eden also has a superb educational facility.
Housed in a wooden eco friendly venue called ‘The Core,’ exhibitions and interactive displays take you on a journey through evolution, renewable energy, eco systems, climate change and even the journey of a seed.
Children can really feel involved whether it be winding up a giant nutcracker or taking part in games to learn about seed dispersal. The Core also houses a wonderful deli and café serving super-foods.
Harvesting rainwater used to flush the toilets, creating a geothermal electricity plant, wind turbine energy and solar panels or using an eco friendly balloon to reach and monitor the plants in the rainforest are just some of the ideas in use.
Exploring the essential relationship between humans and plants means there is a deep respect for the environment throughout the site.
Other projects include educational training opportunities, workshops and being involved in economic regeneration projects.
Creative climbing equipment and sculptures such as the giant wooden ship sailing on a sea of tea leaves, the giant bee and a robot constructed from recycled electrical appliances really capture little imaginations.
The Core is a great place for interactive learning whilst daily storytelling and songs take place in the biomes, reciting local myths and legends.
Seasonal and themed events are also often featured during school holidays, such as the time The Gruffalo had a birthday party and crafts and activities will then centre around it.
Whilst the amazing displays both inside the biomes and in the gardens are full of colourful and unusual species of plants throughout the seasons, a constantly evolving programme of events ensures there’s something for everyone at Eden.
The Eden sessions live music gigs featuring current top performers make for great summer evenings. Harvest time is always an important time and after apple pressing, a Halloween festival wraps up the harvest celebrations.
The November to February winter season includes an ice rink and a Winter Wonderland of Christmas festivities.
Eating at Eden
As expected from an eco conscious concern, fresh local seasonal and home grown produce including special ‘Eden Extra-ordinary pasties’ are top of the menu at Eden’s restaurants and cafés, along with fair trade goods.
Try some unusual combinations at the Baobab smoothie bar in the rainforest, watch your meal be freshly cooked over skillets whilst chatting to the chefs or be waited on whilst relaxing in the alfresco atmosphere of the Mediterranean Terrace.
Breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas are all served and dietary needs whether it be vegan or gluten free, are catered for.
From toys to gardening equipment and food products, Eden’s various shops contain a vast range of recycled and sustainably produced goods made to ethical standards.
Green Acres Cottages is about 3 miles from the Eden Project at Bodleva.
Take the A390 towards St Blazey and turn down Prideaux or Cornhill Road before turning into Bodleva Road or head towards St Austell and follow the sign posts.
Eden Project Gallery
Images courtesy of Hufton + Crow and Visit Cornwall.