A veiew of The Eden Project's rainforest from on top of the hill, near the visitor centre.
Days Out,  Family

Days Out: The Eden Project

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The Eden Project; Cornwall’s very own little piece of paradise. It features the largest indoor rainforest in the world and, most importantly for me, it’s home to many happy memories from my childhood.  

When I was younger we used to go to The Eden Project as a family fairly often. Naturally, when I started to plan our Family Summer Holiday to Cornwall, The Eden Project had to go on the list. I couldn’t wait to explore this awe-inspiring attraction and create new family memories.

The Eden Project's welcome sign showing a map of the site.

Before our visit on a scorching Saturday afternoon, none of my gang {except me of course!} had visited The Eden Project before. It had been an awfully long time since I was last there, so I was keen to show my boys around and soak in all the new installations that have been added over the years. We were kindly gifted entry to The Eden Project and arrived on a very hot and sunny Saturday morning. We visited just in time to catch ‘Earth Story’, Eden’s summer holiday instillation. 

Before you get anywhere near the famous biomes, you’re instantly absorbed into The Eden Project’s peaceful and serene atmosphere as you make your way through gardens, sculptures, exhibits and more. 

A view of the Eden Project's biomes and some of their outdoor gardens
Luke smiling excitedly and pointing at some flowers in The Eden Project's outdoor gardens

There are over 3000 varieties of plants located in The Eden Project’s gardens and it’s recommended you allow 2 hours just to soak in their beautiful outdoor gardens, never mind the biomes. Walking amongst the buzzing of bees, the trickling of gentle water features and the beautiful fresh scent of sweet peas, it’s hard to imagine that the Eden Project site used to be a big old clay pit.

From a clay pit, to a vibrant hum of life, the outdoor gardens are beautiful and stretch on for miles, featuring gorgeous blooms, medicinal plants and sculptures. Best of all, it’s child friendly and even features a huge climbing frame called The Nest. Luke’s highlight was the Giant Bee Sculpture, which can be found in the direction of the biomes. 

An extreme close op of a honey bee collecting nectar from a purple flower at The Eden Project
An extreme close up of a species of flower, perhaps Dahlia, from the Eden Project. The flower has petals that look like spikes or fireworks and is white and pink.
An extreme close up on a honey beee collecting pollen from a yellow flower at The Eden Project.

The Eden Project’s Summer Event 2019: Earth Story

This summer, something really BIG has come to The Eden Project. They’ve introduced the Earth Story – a hugely exciting, hands on programme that focuses on exploring the evolution of life as we know it. Upon entering the site, Luke was given his Earth Story booklet that was teaming with facts and information about the exciting giant beasts and majestic animals from both the past and present, and hopefully the future too. The installation explores Earth’s most weird and wonderful creatures from the past and present. Using VR, you can come face to face with a giant Armadillo and other fantastic creatures from the past – there’s an additional charge for the VR Safari, but it’s well worth it. Using the map and coordinates in the booklet, Luke and I were able to find lots of the animals mentioned, including the orangutan and the Aldabra Giant Tortoise that were hiding deep in the rainforest. 

A metal sculpture of an orangutan hiding in the Rainforest biome at The Eden Project
A photo of the Aldarbra Giant Tortoise from The Eden Project's Earth Story instillation

Earth Story is a really great installation for a whole number of reasons. Mostly though, it’s so hands on and engaging that it’s impossible not to learn from it. At the end of the day, we definitely took a lot away from the event, including several ways in which we can do our bit to help protect the planet and our precious wildlife. There are even science workshops, family games, trials and challenges to help engage children and adults alike.

The Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome

The rainforest biome is one of The Eden Project’s main attractions, and as soon as you make your way through the visitor centre and see the rooftops of the biome, it’s easy to see why. The iconic bubble wrap-lookalike biome stretches across the Cornish countryside and its impressive size takes your breath away. If you think it looks big from the outside, wait until you’re in the jungle!

The Rainforest Biome is the largest indoor rainforest in the world. In other words, it is seriously impressive and, in my completely honest opinion, totally worth the entry price alone. Take your jackets off and pull your hair up into a ponytail because entering through those doors magically transports you to the tropical rainforests from throughout the planet. 

A sign at The Eden Project explaining what Canoe Plants are.

Get ready to be transported to four areas of tropical rainforests from throughout the world. 

It’s not all just fancy ferns and banana trees though. The experience of walking through the rainforest biome is completely immersive and mind-boggling. You begin at the bottom and work your way through the tropics, trekking {the way is tarmacked and suitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs etc, but does slowly work its way uphill} your way through over 1,000 varieties of plants in 18-35°C heat.

Native rainforest sculptures made of wood that are found in The Eden Project's Rainforest Biome

Making your way through the rainforest biome is awe-inspiring.

There are four sections of rainforest to explore and experience: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America. Each area is filled with signposts loaded with bite-sized information that is easy to digest and reiterate to kids. There are also water fountains dotted through the rainforest and, to the relief of many (especially the kids) a ‘cool down room’ which is an air-conditioned hut where you can temporarily escape the heat.

A macro close up of some red flowers from The Rainforest Biome at The Eden Project
A close up of a big, pink flower found in the tropical rainforest biome at The Eden Project
A giant green tropical leaf from a tropical species of plant found in the rainforest biome at The Eden Project
A close up of a red flower found in the rainforest biome at The Eden Project. The flower looks similar to a pine cone.
An image of a Roxburgh Fig tree bearing fruit
Luke pointing upwards as he stands in front of a collection of tropical ferns

The views from the Canopy Walkway make the whole experience 100% worth it! 

Reaching the rainforest canopy rewards you with incredible views and a walk along the Canopy Walkway – a rope bridge that takes you across the top of the biome, sporting fantastic views of the tropics. Most excitingly though, you can learn about just how quickly cloud cover can obscure your vision in the tropical rainforests by taking a walk across the Cloud Bridge. It periodically spurts out swirls of mist that is impossible to see through. The squeals of delight from the kids was worth the walk up there! 

Woman walking across the Cloud Bridge at The Eden Project. The woman is in the foreground and visible while the people further ahead on the walk way are hard to see through the water vapour

Throughout the biome, both kids and adults learnt loads about our planet’s rainforests. 

There truly is so much to see and it’s all nicely spread out so that at no point are you bombarded with information. It’s not just plants in there either, along the way we saw several Roul-Roul birds digging and scratching at the floor, looking for bugs to snack on. There are also millions of ants and other species of bugs and lizards. You will notice a display towards the beginning of the biome that lists the creatures you’re likely to see as you wander through the tropics. 

a close up on the ground dwelling roul-roul birds found in the Eden Project's rainforest biome.
a close up of the ground dwelling roul-roul birds found in the Eden Projects rainforest biome. The birds are plump, have black or dark green feathers covering their bod, red legs, a red beak and a striking red patch around their eyes which looks like red eyeliner

The ‘Must See’ Bits

There is so much to see that choosing the best bits is quite tricky! For us though, these are the ‘must see’ sections of the biome and it’s well worth taking the time to stop and explore these sections a bit more.

The Waterfall 

This thunders its way through the South American rainforest and as you ascend the exhibit, you get closer and closer to the top. We saw a broken tree leaning across the waterfall that was absolutely buzzing with life. It was thick with black ants working away – incredible! 

The Canopy Walk and The Cloud Bridge  

My favourite section of the whole biome was the Cloud Bridge! The level of mist and water vapour was intense and learning just how quickly cloud cover can build up and how effectively it ‘clouds’ your vision was mind blowing. Walking along the rope bridge over all the other visitors and being way up in the rainforest’s canopy was also an incredible experience and one you’re unlikely to experience anywhere else. 

The Malaysian House

This house, complete with a garden sporting herbs and other useful plants is a must see. Luke loved walking up the steps and exploring the open planned house. 

Fruit Spotting 

We saw bananas, pineapples and more on our visit to the rainforest. It is fascinating to see food that we’re so familiar with being grown “in the wild” so to speak. Did you know that pineapples grow on bushes?

The Palm Oil Exhibit 

We all saw the banned Iceland advert featuring extreme deforestation and “‘RangTan”. We all have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to the mass consumption of Palm Oil. The exhibit here in the Rainforest Biome explores how we can produce the most widely consumed oil in the world in a more sustainable manner. It was a real eye opener, especially having made our way through most of the beautiful rainforest species, to learn about the damage the palm oil industry is doing.

The Orchid House 

Lose yourself in this beautifully colourful section of the rainforest. It houses over 500 species of Orchid, including many you’ll have never seen before. When we visited, Luke met a man who was trying to come up with a common name for a type of orchid. There were a few excellent suggestions for this beautiful white flower, we went with something along the lines of ‘The Jellyfish Flower’ as it has beautiful trailing petals. So, if you happen to find yourself in a botanical garden sometime in the future looking at a white orchid called The Jellyfish Flower, just know that we named it! 

an image showing a pineapple growing on a bush

The Rainforest Biome at The Eden Project is remarkable and I could easily go on and on about it. I recommend visiting this one first, then getting yourself some lunch or a can of water from one of the many available eateries in the food court area, before making your way to The Mediterranean Biome

The Mediterranean Biome

The Mediterranean Biome is slightly smaller than the Rainforest Biome, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t equally as impressive. Be prepared to recognise plants, fruits, herbs and spices that you’re already familiar with and lose yourself to the effortlessly chilled out vibes of The Med. 

The white signboard that welcomes visitors to the Mediterranean Biome featuring a drawing of Dionysus

Temperatures here are, thankfully, a bit cooler and range from 9-25°C.

That is mostly why I’d recommend visiting the Rainforest biome first as The Mediterranean Biome helps you to cool off after your rainforest experience. Entering The Mediterranean Biome is a bit like what I imagine entering paradise to be like. Your senses are overloaded with the sweet smell of herbs and spices, the beautiful bright flowers catch your eye, birds can be heard singing and, if you fancy, you can even try out a spot of al-fresco dining in The Med restaurant that operates in the biome. 

the paving on the floor of the Mediterranean biome at the eden project, it features a pattern of large terracotta tiles and smaller, colourful patterned tiles.

Take a relaxing stroll and discover the vast variety of plants that grow in this region of the world.

In the Mediterranean Biome we found ourselves taking a leisurely, relaxed stroll through sections of the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia, discovering the amazing variety of plants growing in these warm temperate regions of the world. Just as in The Rainforest Biome, there are over 1000 species of plants to discover in The Mediterranean Biome – their scents fill the air and the authentic design of the biome transports you to paradise. Honestly – if I could live in the biome, I would.

Cork tree leaves fill the frame
various shrubs and over hanging flowers fall from terracotta pots
bright pink flowers overhang the walkway in the Mediterranean biome at The Eden Project

It’s so amazing here that you can actually host your wedding here, which is exactly what was happening when we visited! The biome was closing a little earlier than usual and beautiful tables had been laid out for guests. I couldn’t imagine a better wedding venue if I tried (and I have spent the last 5 months looking!) 

Walking through the biome it’s fun to spot plants that you’re familiar with.

We saw the gnarled trunks of cork trees and I spent a long time trying to explain to Luke that corks from bottles (and Australian hats!) come from these trees. I don’t think he believes me! There were also grape vines, tomatoes, aubergines, Aloe Vera and tonnes of other plants we recognise from our every day lives.

a collection of succulents and cacti fill the frame
luke looking through a metal frame licking a pink icecream
a close up of purple and green grapes from grape vines
a green spiky succulent fills the frame. Through the gaps in the branches you can see the bubblewrap-like texture of the Eden Projects biome walls

We also saw vineyards that had huge, impressive sculptures protruding from between the grapes.

At first we didn’t know what these sculptures were about, who this giant, brutish bull was or why they were dancing in between the grapevines. As we slowly made our way around the biome, we discovered that this imposing sculpture is called The Rites Of Dionysus and it tells the tale of Dionysus, the Greek god of vines, and his followers writhing through the grapevines, blowing trumpets, banging drums and dancing. I read up a little more about the sculpture when I got home as the jagged edges and contrasting colour of the sculpture really makes it stand out against the thorny hues of grasses and succulents in the biome. After reading the linked article above, I found out that the sculpture serves as a bridge between ancient civilizations and the depicts truths of human nature. Originally, Dionysus was to be the god of vegetation, but as the grapes fermented, things clearly went a bit downhill! 

A sculpture of a raging black metal bull, depicted as Dionysus, emerges through the vineyards with his minions who are banging drums are laughing
A sign that gives information about Dionysus and the sculpture featured at The Eden Project

Our favourite bits from The Mediterranean Biome.

The Perfume Garden

To the left after entering, you’ll find the perfume garden. Honestly, I could just sit there for hours. This little space is filled with scents you’ll be familiar with from various products you use in everyday life. Ever wondered what goes into your favourite perfume? As you make your way through the perfume garden, wafts of sweet, heady scents fill your nose and it’s the most relaxing of experiences. 

Giant lemons…well, actually, they’re citrons

After coming across so many plants that we were familiar with, albeit very few that we’d seen actually growing before, it was amazing to stumble across the giant lemon like fruits called Citrons! The fruits on these trees looked like lemons, but they were much, much bigger and sort of lumpy too.  

Huge Aloe Vera

I have a cute little Aloe in my bathroom at home and, until now, I thought I’d seen some pretty impressive Aloe plants in my time. However, the giant sprouting Aloe Vera in the Mediterranean Biome puts them all to shame! They’re definitely worth hunting down, plus they make for a cool selfie backdrop. 

The Western Australian Garden

This exhibit wasn’t here last time I visited, so it was great to discover something new with my boys. It was also quite topical as they boy’s uncle happens to have been visiting Australia for several months now, so it was a great little talking point. We were amused to find a little furry flower called Kangaroo Paw in the Australian gardens that was really rather cute. The Australian garden is also home to giant, sweeping grass trees that you have to see to believe. 

A man looking at plants in The Eden Projects Mediterranean biome while eating icecream and another boy facing away from the camera. The man is pushing a buggy.

After exploring the gardens, the rainforests of the world and the Mediterranean, it was time for us to head home. But not until we’d visited the shop.

The Eden Project shop, as you’d imagine, is full of eco friendly products. It’s hard to walk through and not pick up most of what you see! However, our car was already chokka block as we visited on our way back home to Hampshire. Amidst the beautiful and ethical gifts, we found some gems to bring home with us. We picked out a couple of bamboo reusable coffee cups and some Eden Project honey – made by Eden Project bees! There are so many different, ethical items on sale here that it really would be easy to buy the lot if I had the money! 

We left The Eden Project feeling happy, relaxed and pleased we were able to make such wonderful family memories in such an incredible place.

I’m so pleased we were able to visit The Eden Project as a family and create beautiful, lasting memories. It is definitely on the top of our list to visit again when we next visit Cornwall. If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall, The Eden Project definitely needs to be on your list of places to explore. It is a bit on the pricey side, but for the amount you get out of your visit, I’d say it was well worth the money. I would totally recommend starting early because there’s really just so much to see and do.

A close up of purple/blue flowers in the Eden Project's outdoor gardens

Important Information:

Price: Tickets can be purchased in advance, which will save you 10% of entry price. At full price, a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £75.

Opening Times: The Eden Projects’ opening times work seasonally, so it’s worth checking their Opening Times page when planning to book. Note that on some days (listed on the website), the Mediterranean Biome closes early.

Accessibility Guide: Wheelchair friendly. There are wheelchairs and power chairs available to borrow on a first come, first serve basis. If you have a personal assistant, there is no charge for them to accompany you. Amazing toilets fitted with changing benches, hoists, showers and more. Find out more information about The Eden Project’s accessibility here.

Time Scale: It’s recommended 2 hours to walk around all of the outdoor gardens. The Rainforest Biome takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to fully explore and The Medetarrean Biome takes approximately 1 hour. There are other exhibits dotted around and lots to see and do that isn’t in the biomes, so I recommend starting early in the day to ensure you have enough time to see everything.

With Kids: Make sure you wear appropriate shoes – there’s lots of walking. Ensure you have layers that can be removed when entering the Rainforest Biome as it is significantly hotter here than it is outside. There are free land trains operating that can take you to and from the entrances to the biomes. The whole area is pushchair friendly. Soft play and outdoor play areas are available and there are over 240 toilets on site.

With Dogs: Dogs are welcome in the outside gardens and water bowls are provided. Dogs are not allowed in the biomes, unless they are service dogs. 

Pinterest image sfor a blog post about visiting The Eden Project as a family
Pinterest image sfor a blog post about visiting The Eden Project as a family

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.


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