The Eden Project is a surreal, unworldly landscape born in a rather peculiar location. Hiding in a quarry in Cornwall, it’s the brainchild of Tim Smit, who had a vision to build the largest captive rainforest in the world. Changing this barren quarry crater forever, the Eden Project, has been quoted as the 8th Wonder of the World, and it might just be one of the most beautiful transformations you might ever witness.
The Eden Project is an all round fabulous place for families to lay eyes on, to soak up facts, to get touchy feelie, and to meet what you eat from around the world. It’s also a brilliant rainy day destination.
1. Dream Big Little Ones
This message we reiterate to our kids on an almost daily basis. Nothing is out of your reach. And this is the message that hits you as you approach the entrance of the Eden Project. Before you’ve even laid eyes on whatever it is you’re about to see, a series of boards display enlarged photos of the landscape as it was – a clay pit quarry with unstable foundations, and describe the vision of one man, Tim Smit, to create a lost world in a crater. Now that’s an adventure!
The Eden Project is made up of a number of interconnecting biomes, the two largest being the Rainforest Biome and the Mediterranean Biome. On site there is also the Core, home to exhibitions and an indoor play area for little ones.
2. Showcasing the World’s Most Important Plants
The Eden Project is the greatest ever collection of plants useful to humans. In one place your children can see a massive diversity of plants from all over the globe and understand how every day products in their lives are made from plants. Chocolate, rubber, coffee, bananas, sugar – you can see all of it right here under one roof. A vat of knowledge to be soaked up and digested. Unbelievable.
3. Understand why Conservation is critical
The Eden Project is an educational charity. From the moment you enter to your entire journey around the site, it’s 100% absorption into the environment and unfortunately its threats. From a text book in school, our children can read about the perils our planet is facing but here at the Eden Projects it comes to life and they come some way to understanding it first hand. Seeing plants in their habitat with the ecosystems that the rainforest supports can seriously make the penny drop. Hurray.
4. Explore a Lost World
Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park. You take your pick which movie set you feel you’ve stumbled into when you enter the rainforest biome. For kids I can only imagine the sense of adventure with the sheer scale of plant life towering above. Scurrying across rope bridges, steamy walkways, scrambling around bamboo huts, dug out canoes and a real waterfall. My kids adored it running round in wonder. A delight to watch.
5. Test your Nerve – Ascend the Rainforest Lookout
One of the biggest draws to the Eden Project is the chance to climb up to the Rainforest Lookout – a spectacular birds eye view of the rainforest biome. After the wobbly ascent, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible sight down below – the canopy, a mass of verdant textured interwoven foliage stretches out across the biome, whilst giant trees, like the kapok and balsa, almost touch the hexagonal roof.
The Lookout is limited to 45 minute slots at 10am, 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm. Our biggest tip on visiting the Eden Project is if it’s hot – queue for the 10am as it could well close later on in the day if the humidity exceeds safe levels (although staff tell us that it often quietens down after 3pm as visitors head to the beach – so make a call on just how sunny it is and go with it). It’s it’s cloudy, then although it can still get very hot in the biome, 4pm is the good slot to avoid massive queues and was in fact the one we went for, with thankfully no queues at all. Result.
6. Touch and Feel Exotic Plants
Striking tropical blooms shouting ‘I am vivid’ jumped out on us on every turn and blew my girls away. We allowed them to carefully and with the utmost gentleness to touch the flowers. Everything’s real here (and giant!)
7. Learn about how Rainforests actually Work to Cool the Earth
The Weather Maker exhibit, also includes installations exploring how the world’s rainforests act as air movers, water sweaters, flood defenders, rain makers, sun reflectors and carbon catchers. Minnie had fun turning the handle to show how water vapour evaporates through leaves and pulls water up from the roots (flood defenders). I love that the Eden Project has such an interactive enthralling way of teaching.
Our 9 year old lapped it up like it was a gift from the gods and loved the kids booklet that she could fill in whilst roaming the place (£5 on entry). Our 6 year old enjoyed the general atmosphere but understandably many exhibits went way over her head. Whilst under 4 years old receive free entry, it might be best to wait until your kids are the right age to visit given the stiff admission fees (although annual guest card offered free for a further 12 months after full price admission).
8. Walk in a Cloud & Learn about Climate
The new Weather Maker section is now open and includes a rope bridge, a cloud bridge and an immersive exhibit where you can shelter from tropical rain storms. Our girls were thrilled with the cloud bridge and excitedly walked over and waited for the bursts of steam at least half a dozen times with no sign of interest waning. It’s pretty cool.
9. Rest little legs by scheduling in the story telling sessions
The Eden Project, however exciting, can be a mammoth day out for Littles. We found that instead of wandering around aimlessly (easily done whilst in so much awe!) we took a note of the story telling times so that our girls (and us) could get a bit of down time. These are displayed on a board on entry after paying and were 12 noon and 2pm on the day we visited in the Citrus Grove in the Mediterranean Biome.
An animated story teller captivated the children, all happily relaxing on bean bags. Definitely a wise move.
10. Relaxed, plentiful family eating options
After steep entry fees, paying for an entire family’s lunch (as well as the delicious ice-creams on sale) may well blow your entire budget. If that’s the case, bring a packed lunch – there are plenty of lovely areas to spread out and graze. The friendly staff also commented that it was fine to have your own packed lunch on the outside and inside tables of the Eden Kitchen and the Burrito Bar. All the food onsite though looks absolutely delicious oozing healthy options. The stone baked pizzas (from £8.50) at the Med Terrace in the Med Biome looked outstanding, whilst European dishes such as Spanish Paella, Lamb Tagine or Linguine (£9.95) looked pretty darn good too. We would head to the Med Terrace on our next visit as it seemed much less busy than the other eateries.
For more information, check out
0-4 free, 5-16 £14.00, adult £27.50, family ticket (2 adults/2 kids) £71.00
If you buy online you get 10% off tickets
If you live locally in Cornwall or Devon watch out for the local deals on Summer or Annual passes