The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s – well, make that Britain’s – best-known and loved visitor attractions. This former clay pit near St Austell is now a beautiful oasis of plants, visited by over a million people every year.
Eden is far more than a garden, it’s the one of the world’s largest greenhouses and the largest indoor rainforest. The attraction is run as an educational charity, with a mission to tell the story of the living world and our relationship with it. It does this in innovative and engaging ways, from the spectacular rainforest biomes that house incredible plants, to a lively events programme. It has been supporting sustainability for years, and works closely with Cornish community projects. Put simply, there’s fun guaranteed for everyone in and around the massive biomes of Eden.
The Cornwall Hotel is just a short drive, or pleasant bike ride, from the Eden Project, on the outskirts of St Austell. Read on to find out a bit more about this popular local tourist attraction.
What’s to See at The Eden Project
There’s so much to see and do at the Eden Project. As well as the famous biomes, there’s a visitor centre and exhibitions, lots of places to eat, drink and shop, and a vast outdoor area divided into different types of gardens.
The hot and humid tropics biome takes you into another world (or rather, other parts of the world) by presenting a living theatre of stunning plants and creative interpretation — and don’t miss the spectacular canopy walkway.
The Mediterranean Biome is more like a stroll to a taverna: pleasantly warm and sweet-smelling, and filled with the quintessential olive groves of the Mediterranean. Within it is the South Africa Garden, which recreates the varied mountain-to-coast habitats of the velds. Elsewhere, there are exhibitions, play areas and of course, incredible planting.
In the fresh open air, miles of pathways snake around the beautiful 20-acre Outdoor Gardens. Boasting over 3,000 plant species, the gardens are a veritable celebration of the wonders of horticulture. While wandering you’ll get a true sense of the enormity of the tropical biomes, too.
Family Friendly Eden
Eden has achieved the impossible: created a visitor attraction that appeals to all ages. There are activities and play areas for little ones (the nest climbing frame is a particular favourite), and the Eden Project always runs fantastic school holiday programmes that teach about things such as a sustainable future.
Let’s be honest: it’s not always easy taking a teen on holiday. A day at a garden attraction, even an exciting eco-based one that recreates a cool tropical rainforest, still might not tick all the boxes for older kids. Eden has you covered, though.
The site is home to Hangloose Adventure, who run a series of daredevil activities including England’s longest zip wire.
Show your kids this menu of Eden’s adventurous activities, and they’ll be beating a path to the car.
It really doesn’t matter when you visit the giant greenhouses and outdoor garden of this cherished Cornish tourist attraction, either, because exhibits are constantly changing to reflect the distinct seasons. And then, of course, there are the popular year-round events…
Christmas at the Eden Project
Every year, Eden runs a dazzling programme of Christmas and winter festivities. It’s a bit different each time, but there’s always an ice rink, plenty of festive food and drink, and beautiful lights. Wander around with a warm mulled wine in hand as the joyful sounds of live Christmas music play in the background.
You could always combine it with a short Christmas break at The Cornwall…
The Eden Sessions and Other Events
Over the last few years, Eden has become renowned for its fabulous summer concerts series. Iconic acts such as Elton John, Blondie and Kylie have played at the Eden Sessions, as well as current favourites Bastille, Foals and The xx. There are also comedy sessions, and line-ups have included Eddie Izzard, Bill Bailey and Tim Minchin. Come along early, grab a drink, and wander around the gardens while you’re waiting for the gig to begin.
Going to an Eden Session does need forward planning, and tickets can sell out fast. There’s a full programme of other events at Eden, from park runs and pasty festivals to the annual Halloween celebrations and the gorgeous springtime bulb event. Why not dance the night away inside a tropical rainforest greenhouse at a silent disco?
Eden Project - Need to Know Information
All visitors to the attraction must currently purchase a timed ticketing slot in advance, which has an arrival window of 30 minutes. Once inside you are free to stay as long as you like.
It’s a five-mile drive from The Cornwall to Eden, up the A390. When you arrive, there is lots of parking (and we mean lots), with a bus service from the higher car parks. If you choose to cycle (and there are a lot of great trails around here), you’ll get discounted entry. There are bike racks and lockers for your kit. There’s also a great choice of restaurants and cafés on site, and you can pick up one of Eden’s famous pasties or pre-book a picnic lunch when purchasing your entry tickets.
If you’d like to find out more about accessible Eden, have a look at their website, which is full of helpful information. Eden is very well-equipped for loos, baby changing and feeding areas. Four-legged family members are welcome in all the outdoor areas, and assistance dogs can access all areas.
Thinking about where to stay near the Eden Project? Get in touch with us at The Cornwall. We are one of the closest hotels to Eden; and its sister attraction, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, is just down the road.
Other wonderful gardens well worth a visit include National Trust Lanhydrock House & Gardens, Lamorran Gardens near St Mawes, and Pinetum Gardens in St Austell.