The history of the Eden Project is fascinating. Tim Smit, who had previously helped restore the Lost Gardens of Heligan (which is still on our bucket list!), had a vision of showcasing the world's most important plants. The then working china clay pit, which was reaching the end of its economic life, became the perfect location for these world-famous biomes. The attraction was one of the UK's Landmark Millenium Projects and by the year 2000 the biomes were well under construction. Today the Eden Project is home to the largest indoor rainforest on the planet.
A visit to the Eden Project at this time of year is a lovely way to experience the British Spring as there is an abundance of blue bells, tulips and more in their outdoor gardens descending to the biomes.
The Mediterranean Biome
In this biome you will find landscapes from the Mediterranean, South Africa, Western Australia and California, all of which share very similar climates. With over a thousand varieties of plants, you can enjoy colourful flowers and the lovely aromas of herbs here. There is also a daily story time at noon and 2pm in this biome which I really recommend. The storyteller is so animated and engaging!
The Rainforest Biome
What I love most about the Eden Project is that, like nature itself, the experience is forever evolving (we last visited when Sienna was just 4-weeks-old and found it to be highly baby-friendly too). You can make the most of the annual pass which is free when you purchase a day pass, and the chances are that on future visits you will discover more amazing features, or learn new facts (I definitely did!).
This, apparently very smelly (!!), plant blossomed at the Eden Project just last Tuesday! The Titan Atum, also known as the Corpse Flower (due to it smelling like dying flesh!) only flowers for 48 hours. It is the largest flowering plant on Earth (growing up to 3 metres tall) but only blooms every 7 to 9 years!
Sienna trip-trapped over the wobbly Canopy Rope Bridge which leads to the Eden Project's new Cloud Bridge, where at given intervals you can walk through tropical clouds which swill up through the bridge! We loved it!
The Eden Project is also in partnership with what happens to be my favourite brand of herbal tea, Pukka. Many of the herbs used in Pukka teas can be found at the Eden Project, and you can pick up your own trail map at the information desk between the biomes. There is a giant Pukka tea box where you can sample the teas and learn about their medicinal properties.
Next year the Eden Project will even inaugurate its own hotel, designed by top sustainability and natural environments architect Tate Harmer. The hotel will be made up of several natural features including local stone cladding, as well as locally-sourced timber poles. Amazing!
The Eden Project really is a revolutionary hub of sustainability and education (from school trips to university courses), and as the Queen herself said when she visited in 2006, it truly does "offer a vision of hope for the future, and inspire us all to work to make this world a better place for everyone". Isn't that as indispensable as ever?