I had wanted to visit The Eden Project for a long time and pleased we got the chance to go during our recent family holiday to Cornwall. We were spending the week at Coombe Mill Farm, which was around a 35 minute drive to The Eden Project.
On the morning of our visit, I’d discovered that inside the May edition of BBC Gardener’s World magazine, there was a 241 card. The card, which is valid for a whole year allows 241 entry into hundreds of gardens nationally, including The Eden Project. We took a quick detour to Asda on our journey and managed to pick up the last copy. This saved us £28.50 and we now have the card to explore other gardens. Alternatively you can also book online to save 10% on ticket entry. Your ticket is then valid for as many free return visits over the year, although at a 4 hour drive for us I’m not sure we will get to use it again.
When we arrived we hopped on a handy bus that took us from the car park straight to the entrance. After buying our tickets we were straight into the gardens and got to see our first glimpse of the famous huge biomes. As it was Easter there were extra activities on for the day for children, Mini wanted to explore these first. Although it was the main Easter week, the school holidays for Cornish children had already ended which meant The Eden Project was fairly quiet during our visit.
We wandered through the gardens towards the stage area where the Easter activities were. There were five activities to try out, which Mini received a stamp for completing. First up she and Mr Mack had a go at “Welly Wanging” to see who could throw their welly the furthest. There was also a race to plant vegetables in a soil bed and a game to try to throw bean bags through a turning windmill. The games were great fun and really well put together. When Mini had completed her five games she was able to exchange her stamped card for some sweets and a rainbow rubber.
Next we decided to head into the rainforest biome, the bigger of the two. Mr Mack tells me that I’m practically cold blooded, so I was looking forward to feeling the warmth inside. When you step inside the entrance to the biome, the views are simply breath taking. Everywhere you look there is something new, as you try to make sense of the jungle maze unfolding inside the biome. The path leads you spiralling up higher inside, past tropical plants, trees and wildlife too. All of the plants have name labels and information boards explaining more about them and where they come from.
At the top of the biome, we reached the treetop canopy walk. This is a series of connected bridges weaving right across the top level of the biome. The views down below were amazing, it really felt like we were in an actual rainforest. The bridges explored the story of the water cycle, Mini loved running through the cloud bridge. There were a few bridges that weren’t pushchair friendly, these were clearly marked. The rest of the site was accessible and very easy to manoeuvre a pushchair around.
As the path took us back down through the biome, we came across a stall selling Baobab. I’d only ever tried Baobab once before in a macaroon and was intrigued at the sound of a smoothie. Mini can sometimes be reticent to try out new flavours but she was desperate to try out the smoothie, maybe something to do with how warm it was inside the biome. The smoothie was delicious, really creamy and refreshing.
We decided after our exploring it was time for a rest to eat lunch. Normally I find that the food at attractions can be a bit boring and overpriced, so we had packed a picnic. However, I wished I hadn’t after smelling the food on offer at The Eden Project. In the main restaurant there was a huge selection of dishes, freshly prepared using local ingredients. I loved that there were food options from around the world, rather than the normal boring sandwiches on offer. If we get the chance to visit again, we will definitely check out the food. We did however treat ourselves to a cake after lunch, I had the hugest cinnamon bun I’d ever seen, which was delicious. The restaurant had great eco friendly features, such as separate recycling bins for rubbish and taps to fill your water bottles for free.
After lunch we headed into the Mediterranean biome. Whilst we were in there, there was also a story telling session for children. Both the Minis enjoyed sitting on the bean bags to learn about why mini beasts are important to plants. The story teller was a lot of fun and had all of the children joining in with the story, however we all ducked for cover when he got the water pistol out.
It was really interesting to feel the different atmosphere inside the second biome and to see the different types of plants and trees that grow in this climate. Next we headed outside towards one of the play areas. We were lucky with the weather during our visit. It was sunny in the morning and duller but still dry in the afternoon. Obviously the gardens look most beautiful in the sunshine, however there was plenty to explore inside to make a visit to The Eden Project perfect for all weathers.
I loved that as we explored the gardens, there were lots of paths leading off in different directions all inviting little ones to discover what was down them. The gardens were also home to sculptures and art nestled amongst the plants, which were interesting to see and interact with.
The last indoor area to explore is The Core. This is home to some science exhibitions, with a hands on play lab. It also houses a giant blue ceramic sculpture that breathes vapour rings, Mini had fun trying to catch them. There was also a small soft play area inside The Core and another café.
There is a land train that takes visitors from the main visitor centre down to the biomes and back again. The train runs every 20 minutes throughout the day. However we decided we’d get some extra steps in and walk back to the entrance. This time we took a different winding path, as we got higher it was lovely to look down on the gardens below us.
I must admit, I was a little unsure if there would be enough to occupy little ones at The Eden Project however I was pleasantly surprised. Mini really enjoyed herself, she especially loved the Easter activities but also learning about plants and trees from around the world. I think entrance is expensive if we had paid the full on the door price, however with our 241 voucher this was much better value. We spent 6.5 hours on our visit so definitely got a good day out. I also think it would be lovely to come back again to see how the gardens chance throughout the seasons. Maybe I need to convince Mr Mack that we need another Cornish holiday later in the year!
For full ticket information and opening times visit The Eden Project website here.