I didn’t know anything about Eden Project until a week ago, yet as soon as I saw the pictures, I knew it is one of those places you have to see at least once in your lifetime.
And now, a few days after visiting it, I can say I am still in awe with nature’s beauty, enhanced by the curiosity and conservative efforts of man.
And I don’t think it’s just for people like me, fascinated by nature. You’d love it even if you only go for the architectural and landscape design or just for some fun with the family. After all, that’s what Eden Project is – a big park, like a botanical garden, with two geodesic structures, two domes that shelter diverse ecosystems.
Eden Project is close to Cornwall, UK and it was open tot he public in 2001 and the area where it’s built is a former clay pit. It took two and a half years to build and most trees and plants were brought in through the domes’ “roofs”, and planted from above downwards.
In the center you have the domes and the Core, which is an exhibition and educational center. That’s where artists exhibit nature related works, and that’s where you can find out more about the project’s purpose. Outside, around them, you have alleys going through a botanical garden with sculptures inspired by natural elements.
My favourite part was the rainforest dome, the biggest of the two, around 200 meters in length. It has an amazing diversity of trees, plants, birds, and I loved it even if the humidity made my hair curly again.
There was 94% humidity in the air and at times it would start “raining” – drops of water would fall from trees leaves and from the dome ceiling. The water used in this biome is collected rainwater.
In the mediterranean dome, with a length of 136 meters, you’ll get to see olive trees, vineyards, read about the legend of Dionysus. One of the biggest surprises for me was to see how many types of aubergines there are in the world, hehe. I only knew three or four, but they had around a dozen types there.
What to do at Eden Project
You can get a guide or you can just walk and explore, reading about the plants and the ecosystems as you walk by them.
When the sun sets you’ll see the laser lights on playing on the shapes of the trees in the park and the domes lit up by green light. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and you’ll get the feeling you’re on Dune. The sandworms are the only ones missing.
What I also liked is that they have everything you need there, including a few cafeterias, and a gift shop with eco friendly products. You’ll find anything from fair trade chocolate to bamboo kitchenware, for very good prices.
Also, all day long they have activities – workshops, tea tasting and such, to keep the visitors entertained.
It’s more than a botanical garden. It’s a huge scale project, impressive both on the outside and on the inside.
With its Sci-Fi look, it’s no wonder it was chosen as a setting for scenes in several famous movies, such as the James Bond Die Another Day, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and hosted famous artists (Amy Winehouse, Muse, Elton John, The XX – just a few of my favourites 🙂 ).
See it live or online
And if you’ve read so far, I have a surprise for you. You can visit the Eden Project through Google StreetView. Of course it’s not the same as actually seeing the domes with your own eyes and smelling the tropical flowers, but it gives you an idea.
How to get there: it’s a 6h drive from London, a pretty long way, but it’s worth it. If you go by public transport, you can even get a discount. Find more info on getting to Eden Project on their website.
Tickets: The entrance fee is £25 for adults and the card gives you access for a year. So you can return and see the ecosystems in different seasons, and notice how they change along the year.
Have you visited Eden Project? Do you plan to? We’d love it if you shared some thoughts and photos with everyone here 🙂