The Ergohacks Verdict

The Eden Project, nestled in an old china clay pit near St Austell, Cornwall, opened its doors in 2001. It may have started as a hole in the ground, but today its biomes are more than a tourist attraction, the Eden site is a sustainable, ethical, educational, concrete example of a thriving social enterprise that fuels many charitable projects around the globe.

The main attractions are the rainforest biome, mediterranean biome and outdoor gardens, but there is so much to see and do at Eden. The Core is an interactive exhibit for both children and adults where they can push buttons and turn levers to their heart’s content. Food at Eden is wonderful with multiple places to eat. It’s home to the Skywire Zipline – the longest in zipline in England – and sculpture can be found around the garden – including a giant bee. There are trails and activities for families that are always of the highest calibre as well.

The Eden site is a place of substance. It has many wonderful things to do see and do, but more than that, it’s a place that challenges perceptions and makes us think twice about how we interact with the world around us. We can all benefit from being reminded how we use and abuse our environment, but Eden goes another step beyond, it showcases the wonders of the natural world and how we can interact with it in a sustainable, positive way that includes everyone. Eden is where Cass discovered her love of levers and small birds, it’s where she learned how clouds are made and that climate change is a real thing. It’s also where she bought her favourite bamboo socks and discovered a passion for African instruments. Cass says she loves the domes “because it feels like you’re traveling to a different part of the world.”

It’s a place for everyone. A day spent at Eden taught us all something new and it’s always a great day no matter what the weather. We first visited in Winter at Christmas and this year we spent a wet summer’s day there and it was two very different experiences. It’s a place where there’s something new to learn and see every time we visit. A phenomenal place. Highly recommended.

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Buy tickets from Eden Project

Cost: £27.50 (Adult), £14 Children (5 – 16, under 5s free)
Discounts: Students £5 with proof (NUS card accepted), Green Travel £4 discount, Personal Assistants Free Entry, 10% off Advanced Booking (>1 day before visit)
Annual pass (same cost as tickets, but full ticket price is donated to the Eden Charity and receive free entry for 12 months). 10% off Advanced Booking (>1 day before visit).

Become a member

We didn’t even consider this option, convinced that it would be out of our price range. On our first visit, we just paid for advanced tickets. For our second spur-of-the-moment visit, we paid £69 on the day for annual passes. A Joint Membership or Individual Family Membership paid by Direct Debit is £72.

Membership comes with perks – free entry, priority parking, priority booking for events, free member events, 10% off in Eden’s shops, restaurants and cafés, a quarterly magazine, a monthly e-newsletter and free entry to selected partner attractions every November including the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Garden and Tate St Ives. It’s an enticing offer well worth considering and if you’ve recently bought tickets, it’s possible to convert 1-2 Adult tickets to Single/Joint Memberships – which we’ve just done for less than £3.

Features

Travel season: Open year round, except on Christmas Day.
Location: Eden Project, Bodelva (nr St Austell), Cornwall, PL24 2SG, UK
Secure on-line booking: Yes
Public transport access: Excellent
Parking: Free Parking
Lockers/Luggage storage: £1 coin (returnable) lockers available.
Nearby: The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Opening times
Open daily except for Christmas day and a small number of training days.
Site gates open: 9 – 9:30am
Ticket desks open: 09:30 – 10am
Biomes open: 10 – 10:30 am
Last entry: 04:30pm
Site closes: 4 – 6pm, select summer evenings 8 pm.
Timed restrictions: Scheduled closures through-out the year for private events.
Full opening times at the Eden project site here.
The Adventure activities are only available on specific dates listed here.

Public transport access
By Bus: First Bus 101: St Austell railway station – Eden (30 minute journey). Route 101 timetable
By Train: Nearest train station St. Austell (on the main line from London)
By plane: Nearest airport is Newquay Cornwall Airport
Cycling/On Foot: Multiple routes available, see them here.
Bicycle locks/storage: Bicycle racks located in patrolled car park.

Special considerations

The Eden Project is highly accessible and crowned winner of the Inclusive Tourism Award by Visit England in 2017. See their full access statement here.
Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the site.
The restaurants and cafés at Eden offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Dogs on a leash are welcome and catered for, but they are not allowed in the biomes or covered areas (except for the visitor centre) and have to be with their owner at all times.

Variable temperature
A significant portion of the attraction is outdoors with three main in-door areas that are not linked: A large reception area (with toilets and shop), Biomes (linked with a restaurant, toilets and shops in between) and the Educational Centre. There is a shuttle from reception to the Biomes.
In the rainforest biome temperatures are warm but not that hot, however the air is humid. The Mediterranean dome is warm with dry air. The restaurants, education and reception buildings are heated in the winter.

The Eden project is an environmentally conscious attraction with a comprehensive sustainability policy in place. The Eden project operates on ethical and sustainable principles, raises awareness about ecological issues and aims to demonstrate and help visitors to be more environmentally conscious as well. The Eden shop sells fair trade, plant-based and recycled products, and most of their catering supplies are locally sourced.

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About The Eden Trust

“The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events. Registered charity number 1093070 (The Eden Trust). Money raised supports our transformational projects and learning programmes.” Read more on the official Eden project site here.

This travel review is based on a full day visit during December 2015 and another 2 visits in July 2017. This article was first published on 7 February 2016 and last updated on 3 August 2017.