Cornwall's Eden Project

My opinion plus information on the Eden Project. This is an unofficial description and I have no connection with the Eden Project!

THE EDEN PROJECT, CORNWALL
The Number One Visitor Attraction in Cornwall

Admission Charges To Eden Project

Opening Hours

Address And Phone Number

How To Get To Eden

The following is my personal opinion and description of the Eden Project in Cornwall plus other information on this world famous Cornish visitor attraction.


Phew! I was definitely getting very hot under my fig-leaf. The air was warm and hanging heavy and yet at the same time felt moist and damp. My loose shirt seemed to cling to my body as I walked. I looked around at the banana trees bearing their fruit and the surrounding splurge of plants. In the distance I could hear the sound of gushing water, a waterfall, and the babbling of a stream, birds were chirping away cheekily. I eased my way further along the path determined that I would discover the waterfall and whatever lay beyond.

I'd almost forgotten that my BoyFriend was with me as I was lost in the magic of my adventure. There was a bamboo bridge ahead over what looked to be a small river. We kept on walking, BF's face becoming quite red and flushed. As we rounded a bend we saw a house or hut made of bamboo and wood. We quietly crept up to it only to find that the house was deserted, except for chickens living on straw beneath the ground floor. Inside were old pots and pans and the remnants of another way of life. I later found out that this was a Malaysian Kampung Village House.

We had to keep moving. The path was now taking an upward slant and I could make out the waterfall in the distance. I wiped my brow and neck and felt sure that if we kept going we would reach the summit soon. From there we would be able to take in the view and watch the water leaping, like liquid lemmings, over the cliff edge and crashing headlong to the river below. To my left the rice was in a padi and the trees were nuts.

The path got rougher as we kept on climbing, BF was managing to match my stride. At last the top of the waterfall was in sight. And eventually - we made it! The water spray and the gentle breeze from the power of the water was so welcome. We stood for a while and just soaked up the view. As we looked down on the tree tops there were small yellow birds resting in the branches and smiling back at us. I breathed in the energy and beauty of nature thinking it might come in useful later.

Refreshed, and feeling several degrees cooler beneath my fig-leaf, we made our way down another path. On the nearby cliff face were ethnic paintings full of mystery and based on Peruvian Shaman teachings. There was Spirit Woman and Serpant Woman illustrating the influences of the dead and long held beliefs - all in wondrous colour.

As we continued downhill we passed crops of Rubber, Cocoa, Cola and Sapodilla. Cola for 'those' soft drinks - the native Indians chew the beans as stimulants. Cocoa for chocolate and Sapodilla for chewing gum. There was so much to take in as the temperature increased once more. Palms with coconuts, sugar cane, hemp to be used for ropes or brown office envelopes all came into view. We were tempted by fruits of mangoes, papayas, lychees and breadfruit. My mind was a blur of excitement and wonder. In my imagination I was Eve. I glanced at BF but couldn't quite see him as Adam - he needed to rest.

We sat down with coffee and some sticky buns to reflect on all we had seen. Here we were many miles from home, well 290 from London, in another country, well the Cornish think it is, and we had landed up in Eden, well the Eden Project to give it the full name.

I was loving it. Just plonk me somewhere hot in a jungle, or on a deserted island, and it's clothes off, me Jane you Tarz... I looked at BF again, nose down reading his guide book, perhaps not. But this Eden Project is fantastic. We'd just been in the Humid Tropics biomes and, previous to that, the Warm Temperate biomes - which I'll tell you about in a minute or five.

OK, just in case you don't know, and to give you all the guff, the Eden Project is on the Eastern side of St.Austell in Cornwall and is, I'm told, well sign posted from all of the local main roads, the A30, A390 and A391 - so you can't miss it. Eden buses run from Newquay and the St.Austell train and bus station (details of times on 01872 273453). See also map at bottom of this page.

So now you'll be able to get there! When you do - and you must - you'll see eight inter-linked, round in shape, conservatories - Eden call them biomes. Yes, I know you may have seen conservatories or greenhouses before but not like these. They are the biggest in the world. You could fit the tower of Big Ben into one, for example, and still have room for a hang-gliding convention.

They are not made up of your normal plain old panes of glass but of hexagonal shaped, clear plastic type panels, each nine metre across. These all fit together, honeycomb like, to give a very impressive structure of a unique design. The Cornish say this will one day be as famous as the Sidney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids and other such landmarks. I wouldn't want to disagree - you have to see it to believe it.

These eight biomes are divided into two sections - four for the Humid Tropics and four called Warm Temperate. They are full of plants, trees, bushes and anything that grows. Recently birds, lizards and frogs have been introduced, but only the birds are visable. Between the two sections is a cafe, restaurant and cloakrooms all in an enclosed, yet large, airy space.

At the beginning I was describing the Humid Tropics biomes. I wasn't kidding, there really is a waterfall, stream, house and a steep upward path - though there is an easier route for wheelchairs and those none too steady on their pegs. It can be very hot and half way up to the top of the waterfall there is a special 'cool' hut for anyone whose gasket is on boiling point. I didn't need this, I love the heat.

I would have been happy if there had been just the Humid Tropics biomes, because they were so spectacular, but there was much more.

The Warm Temperate biomes aren't so exciting or dramatic but I still enjoyed them. The plants are more familiar and most come from the Mediterranean, California and South Africa. So here you will see olives, oranges, lemons, satsumas, grapes, kiwi, aloes and the like. It is very well laid out with lots of information about the plants plus other unusual things. You will find life size bronzes of Dionysus (sometimes known as Bacchus) and his mates all dancing in a circle. He was the God of wine, fertility and festivals, so it's as well to keep in with him. There are also pigs made out of driftwood silently snorting between the plants. You can have a sniff at some tubs, if so inclined, to see if you recognise the smells. All good stuff. I thought so at least.

When you first arrive at Eden there are, what seems like, dozens of car parks all named after fruits - so hopefully you will be able to find your car again. We were in banana. You can then either walk from here, to the main 'Gateway to Eden' entrance, or hop on a free bus. We walked and there are some great views as you look down towards the biomes. It is certainly a lovely creation nestling within a large dip or bowl shape some 50 metre deep, with the biomes adjoining cliffs at the far side. It's hard to imagine that this was once an old china clay works.

In front of the biomes are gardens, a lake and all sorts of other bits to keep you interested. It's beautifully landscaped. Theatre and other events are held here. We went in one tent like structure and a man, dressed in strange gear, told us a story! It was so nice, just simple fun. In the gardens there is an enormous Eve, naked and kneeling, and covered with grass. There is also a metal male structure, which I took to be Adam (with some very unusual equipment) and a giant bumble-bee. On a sunshine day all of this would be perfection - providing, of course, you like flowers, plants, nature and gardens.

The Eden Project was one for the new millennium. It opened in March 2001 and took until then from October 1998 to build. If I had to be negative, which I definitely don't want to be, I would say that the only problem may be that it has been too successful. They reached their millionth visitor by the June of 2001, just three months after the official opening. 500,000 turned up just to see it being built! When we went it was out of the main summer season but there were more than enough people. Friends, with whom we were staying and live locally, told us that in the summer it gets jam packed with visitors which detracts a little from the experience - large queues can form. Their advice is to either go out of season or after lunch during the summer. Most people apparently get there early in the morning. Weekdays, they say, are busier than weekends - which seems strange. So there you go!

I cannot speak too highly of the Eden Project. I loved my visit. I have my fig-leaf pressed and ready for my next Eden adventure. I will return one day to this eighth wonder of the world.

Address
The Eden Project
Bodelva, St.Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG

Phone
01726 811911

Website: Eden Project

Opening Hours
Nov - Feb 10am to 4pm (last entry 3pm)
Mar - Oct 10am to 6pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Entrance fees
Adults £13.80
Children (5-15) £5.00
Infants (under 5) Free
Seniors £10.00
Students £7.00
Family £34.00 (2 adults + up to 3 children)

Fig-leaves
Several sizes: Petite, usually for women. For men: small, medium & who are you trying to kid.


MAP SHOWING WHERE THE EDEN PROJECT IS LOCATED.