Ever wanted to bask in the temperate Mediterranean sunshine, trek through the rainforest, or commune with the native African people? Before you book an expensive flight ticket, best check out the Eden Project. Here, for only £23.50 you can enjoy luxurious, tranquil settings from around the globe in the world’s largest biospheres – also known as giant greenhouses! Tickets are valid for one year and have unlimited entry if you choose to donate the entrance fee to The Eden Trust charity.
The Eden Project is nested inside a crater on the outskirts of the little Cornish town of St Austell, and spans over thirty football pitches. Each dome is filled with a dramatic display of greenery, distinct to specific tropical regions of the world, such as Peru’s rainforests, South Africa’s coffee plantations and California’s deserts. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a few indigenous birds flying overhead or see a lizard scurrying across the sandy floor.
The Eden Sessions
During the summer, the Eden Project hosts the Eden Sessions, a series of shows featuring world renowned bands and comedians among the backdrop of the illuminated domes. Previous artists include Sigur Ros, Elton John, Muse and Primal Scream. All of the profits from the Eden Sessions goes to educational charitable organizations within the environmental sector.
The Winter Festival
Cornwall is one of the wettest, yet mildest places in the country, boasting a whopping five days of annual snowfall each year – it’s a wonder how it falls in a tropical greenhouse. The Winter Festival turns the biospheres into a Christmas wonderland, filled with fairy lights, Santa’s grottos and real snow machines. During this time the concert area is turned into a huge ice rink, real reindeer are brought in from Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean biosphere hosts Christmas-themed arts and crafts activities for both youngsters and adults alike.
The Eden Project runs numerous volunteer programs aimed at producing fruit and vegetables for local people. No horticulture experience is required, just a keen interest in nature, good organizational skills and an eye for detail. Volunteering is the perfect way to meet like-minded people and learn about horticulture. For more information, download the application form from the official website – www.edenproject.com. The Eden Project also runs and supports several charities related to renewable energy and sustainable living, which you can support simply by attending the attraction.
Along with short courses in gardening and botanical art, the Eden Project runs an MSc course in Sustainability through the Anglia Ruskin University. Like most university masters programs, courses begin in September and span either one year (full time) or two years (part time). Businesses can also benefit from the creative leadership program, which teaches the importance of giving back to the community and awards a sustainability certification for companies willing to put the ideas and tools into practice.
The Eden Project is a phenomenal feat of engineering. It’s an ongoing work-in-progress that’s taken years of planning and construction. As the largest and most internationally known tourist attraction in Cornwall, no trip to the county would be complete without a visit.