We go to Cornwall most years, and have for as long as I can remember. It’s the perfect place for a summer holiday, with fantastic beaches and plenty of things to do with kids. The Eden Project is one of our favourite places to visit in Cornwall. Ryan and I have been a few times, before kids, and when Ava was a toddler. She had a great time running around, but was way too young to understand the eco messages.
Now Ava and Thea are older, it’s the right time to take them. The guys at the Eden Project kindly gifted us a family ticket, so that we could share our experience with you. The girls are curious about the world and how we can protect it, and of course we are keen to encourage that. The Eden Project is a big place, and there is loads to see. There is plenty to keep a family busy for a whole day, and then some.
The Eden Project Story
The ethos behind The Eden Project is “to connect us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future”. This really resonates with us, as we want to help our children live in a better world.
Back in 1995, this whole area was a clay pit, about to run out of clay. A year later, plans for the project were started, and construction began in 1998. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and that barren landscape has been transformed into a lush ‘Living Theatre’ of plants, ready to be enjoyed. They even made their own soil, showing that environmental regeneration is possible. Now dubbed ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’, this landmark was only expected to attract around 750,000 visitors a year, but ten years later had welcomed over 13 million! Not bad for a charity, right?
As well as regenerating a brown-field site, and providing a fantastic eco-friendly, sustainable tourist attraction, the guys at Eden also do loads of education and support some great causes. You can find out more on their website, I think it’s an interesting read.
Fun, Whatever the Weather
One of the best things about The Eden Project is that it is an all weather attraction. That can only be a good thing in Britain! There are beautiful gardens and grounds to explore, but if it does happen to be raining, don’t worry, as there are huge biomes, which are like gigantic green houses. One the day we visited, the weather was mixed, so we made the most of all of the areas.
Here are a few pictures of some of the outside spaces, including a giant spider statue, and the wonderful sensory garden. Ava and Thea absolutely loved running about and exploring it all.
The Mediterranean Biome
This is my favourite Biome, as it’s lovely and warm, without being too hot. It also smells gorgeous, thanks to the herbs and flowers. The plants are incredible, it’s so inspiring.
We went to an interesting talk about space, in the middle of the biome, which was an unexpected bonus. There is also a restaurant, which we didn’t go to, but looks great – maybe next time!
The Rainforest Biome
This is the very hot and damp Biome, housing the largest rainforest in captivity. It gets hotter as you go higher, so I would avoid going up to the top of this one if you are pregnant or not feeling too well! There is a cold room at the top, which is a bit like a giant fridge. It’s amazing but then when you go out to the rainforest again, it kind of makes it worse! There is a drinking fountain there too, which is very welcome.
As you can see, it’s incredibly beautiful, and as well as the plants, you get to learn about the different communities who live in the real rainforest, and the challenges they face.
Ava loved hiding in the plants!
Finding the Right Food For Kids at The Eden Project
Whenever we go on a day trip with the kids, the food outlets are of utmost importance! To save money, you could take a picnic, but that would be a shame, as there are plenty of yummy options available. The food is fairly-traided, direct-sourced, organic, seasonal and/or local. They are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. If you have picky eaters, it’s worth planning ahead using this picture:
We went to the main food area in the centre, and the girls chose lunch boxes where they could pick their own options. I took some pictures of the menus to give you idea of what to expect. I believe the menus are seasonal, reflecting the produce available at the time, so are subject to change.
I had nachos, and Ryan had a burrito and they were both scrumptious.
You are encouraged to sort your food waste and recycling. There are also places where you can refill your drinking bottles with free fresh water, to cut down on plastic use.
Getting Around The Eden Project
The whole site is wheelchair and buggy friendly. There is also a land train that goes from the bottom of the site to the visitors’ centre at the top. We made use of that, as after a long, fun-filled day, we were all feeling quite tired!
Aside from the biomes, there is another indoor education space for kids, called the Core. I think this is aimed at older kids; mine didn’t take much notice. But they loved the gigantic Seed sculpture, and we really enjoyed the exhibition about germs, which is above it.
What To Take To The Eden Project
- If you have smallish children, a buggy would be handy, even if they don’t normally use one. It will help save little legs and some whinging! Thea is 4 1/2 so was OK, but last year, we definitely would have needed one.
- Layers of clothing, as the weather in Cornwall is notoriously unpredictable. There is a cloakroom in between the biomes, so you can leave unwanted waterproofs and jumpers there (unsupervised) when you go in the hot biomes.
- Water bottles. It gets really hot in the Rainforest biome, and the Mediterranean biome is also nice and warm. There are drinking fountains around so you can either drink from them, or refill your bottle.
- Comfy shoes. You’ll be walking a lot!
- A camera. You’ll definitely want to take lots of photos.
- Money for the gift shop. It’s pretty epic.
Booking Details for The Eden Project
You can just pay on the day, but I’d recommend booking your tickets to The Eden Project ahead of time. That way, you save up to 10%, plus avoid queues, as it can get very busy. You can book advanced tickets on their website, for from £25 an adult, and from £12.60 for children aged 5-16. 0-4 year olds are free. An advanced family ticket is £64, and you can revisit as many times you like for a whole year.
You can also buy a combined ticket for The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which I would also highly recommend. We have been twice, including an amazing outdoor after-hours theatre performance. It’s well worth a visit too.
I’ll leave you with some pictures of the beautiful flowers and interesting messages we found around the Eden Project.
Have you ever visited? What did you think? I’d love to hear your favourite parts, so please leave me a message.
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