Sunday, 24 July 2016

Review: A Visit to The Eden Project


The Famous Eden Project Biomes
The Famous Eden Project Biomes



Why Visit?


To my slight shame, we have lived within striking distance of The Eden Project for over a year and had not visited until recently. As clichéd as it is, we actually had no idea what we were missing!


A riot of colourful plants
A Riot of Colourful Plants 


A trip to this attraction is not just a botanical and ecological education. It is also a trip around the world, as well as, paradoxically, a real dose of Cornish fresh air, as witnessed by the pair of calling buzzards we saw wheeling about in the huge expanse of blue above.

It is a delight to see the sheer creativity and ingenuity that have come together to create the place. And most of all, it is a really pleasant stroll through the most beautifully maintained gardens and greenhouses imaginable. 

We have now been twice, and as I mentioned, I'm quite embarrassed that we weren't expecting it to be very engaging.


The Welcome: 


Without fail, all of the staff we have encountered at The Eden Project have been friendly, polite and helpful. Top marks for customer service!


Welcoming Faces
Welcoming Faces 

Getting Around:


Two words: 'sensible shoes'. The paths are wide and well-maintained, and there is a land train to help you get around this attraction. However, there is no getting away from the fact that to really take in the magic of the Eden Project you will need to do some walking. Ok, perhaps a lot of walking.


Exotic Floral Beauty
Exotic Floral Beauty

Looking after yourself:


Part of the magic of this place is that it is built in a converted industrial landscape. You can't even see it, despite its grand scale, until you are in it: think of a large crater. This means that in summer the Eden Project is a hot place, and there isn't much shade. And of course, the tropical biome (golf ball shaped greenhouse) is just that: tropical. There is a small water fountain, and plenty of places to buy a cooling drink, but I would thoroughly recommend that you wear a hat and sunblock, wear clothing in layers which you can take off as necessary, and take your own supply of water.


Mediterranean Tiles in the Biome
Mediterranean Tiles in the Biome


Eating:


It's so refreshing that the quality of the food served here is amazing. We had a burrito (prepared in front of us in a completely open plan area) which was served with the freshest salad. Both were extremely tasty. We might possibly have indulged in carrot cake too, which was also yummy. 


Shopping:


I was surprised at the quantity and variety of things to buy at various shops around the site. I am no gardener, but even I was really thrilled by the selection of plants for sale. What a great concept in souvenir shopping: your very own piece of Eden!



Geometric Leaves
Geometric Leaves



Added to which, there were plenty of shopping bags, eco kitchenware, foodstuffs, recycled glass, jewellery... etc. Basically, a great place to find unusual gifts, and everything oozed quality. There was no cheap 'tat', which was really refreshing, but I'm not sure what you'd do if the kids are expecting a novelty pencil to spend their pennies on. Perhaps I missed that section- the main shop is huge so it's quite likely.

I was excited to see a selection of clothing by eco brand Braintree too.


Braintree Clothing

Plus, Pukka teas are for sale (see below for more on this).


Cost:


To visit the Eden Project with a family as a one-off would be quite a pricey day out. Personally I would say that it is worth the cost, as you could happily spend the whole day there. However, if you think there is any chance you might return within the year, it would be better to buy an annual pass (for the same price as one-day admission). 


The Highlights:


The Eden Project is a huge attraction. Most of the time I was too enthralled to even take photos, and there's no way I've seen everything it has to offer, but here are just a few of my highlights:

1: The smoothie bar in the Tropical Biome. Yum yum!


Yummy Smoothies
Yummy Smoothies



2: The Mediterranean Biome: I loved this area. If you've ever been to the Med and walked around the countryside this will be a really nostalgic experience. If you're having a staycation, or just missing some sun then have a wander through here and drink in the atmosphere and the smells and make believe!


3: The Roul Rouls and their delightful little chicks: they scamper around the Tropical Biome, pecking at fruit, and are just too cute. But, you'll have to see them for yourself, as I couldn't get a single photo as I was cooing over them too much!



beautiful floor red shoes
Thoughtful Details: even the floors are beautiful!

I'd thoroughly recommend the Eden Project for visitors of all ages and all interests. There are play areas and story telling for the little ones, as well as plenty of space for them to run off steam. There are too many facts hidden amongst the foliage for one person to ever tire of, and even poetry if you look for it. Whether you are interested in taking in all of the engaging information on offer, or just admiring the immense botanical beauty, I expect that you will have a fantastic time. 

Oh, and even the piped music in the café space is a treat, if you care to listen out for it! 


Pukka:


Pukka teas evidently have a relationship with the Eden Project, and there is a little section devoted to the magnificent herbs and spices which are oh so good to drink. I found this really fascinating: seeing things like vanilla pods and cinnamon growing in front of me was quite exciting, as I normally associate these great-smelling things with jars and essences.  

Following on from this, there was also the biggest imaginable range of herbal teas for sale in the shop. Quite handy for me, as these are my favourite teas! I indulged in a box of liquorice and cinnamon, and I'm very pleased that I did, as it is supremely tasty. 

Pukka Teas for sale in the Eden Project Shop 

Cinnamon 

Vanilla Pods 

Pukka spices

Pukka Merchandise 



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