10 Facts About The Eden Project
July 23rd, 2021
If you’re embarking on a family-friendly holiday in Cornwall, you likely already have the Eden Project in your sights.
With its bubble-like biomes and outstanding range of plants from around the globe, the Eden Project is a fantastic feat of biological engineering and is one of Cornwall’s premier attractions – a true must-visit!
You might recognise the iconic structure, but what else do you know about this attraction?
What is the Eden Project?
Built into an old china clay pit in south Cornwall, the Eden Project consists of a selection of biomes. These giant greenhouse-like structures are made from inflatable plastic cells that are supported by steel frames.
The unique structures allow for the creation of artificial climates, where a myriad of native plants from tropical and desert environments can thrive.
The two main biomes emulate rainforest and Mediterranean climates respectively and house a vast selection of stunning plants.
The site also includes expansive outdoor gardens and various art installations and exhibitions.
1. The Eden Project Opened in 2001
Funded by the Millennium Commission and intended as a way of re-energising the Southwest, the Eden Project opened in March of 2001.
With no building of this scale in the world, at the time a global audience referred to it as the eighth wonder of the world! It was hugely popular from the start, attracting over 1 million visitors in its first four months.
2. The Site Has Been Used as a Filming Location
After functioning as a working clay pit for over 160 years, the original site of the Eden Project was also used as a filming location for the 1981 BBC series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
In 2002, after the Eden Project’s construction, it once again became a filming location for the James Bond film Die Another Day.
3. The Eden Project Cost over £100 million
Overall, the Eden Project cost £141 million to complete.
The build was funded through a series of government grants and loans from institutions like the Millennium Commission – with funding coming from the National Lottery – and European regeneration funds.
Since it was fully funded in 2000, the site has been a source of enormous economic revitalisation for Cornwall and the Southwest as a whole – it is believed to have contributed well over £1 billion to the local economy since its launch.
4. The Biomes are Made of A Special Plastic
The hexagonal shape of the biome’s cells was based on soap bubbles and were used for their ability to adapt to the uneven shape of the clay pit that they were built in.
Each cell is made up of three layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer (ETFE) that is inflated to create a pillow. Similar to clingfilm, ETFE is lighter than glass but also strong enough to withstand the weight of a car. It also lets in UV light for the plants inside.
If the plastic needs to be cleaned, this is performed by abseilers who scale the structure.
5. The Eden Project is Home to the World’s Largest Indoor Rainforest
Eden’s tropical biome houses an incredible selection of plants that make up the largest indoor rainforest in the world!
With over 1,000 varieties of plants, there’s plenty to see and experience, especially when venturing up to the canopy walkway that gives you stunning views from great heights. Temperatures in the biome reach between 18 and 35°C to create a humid environment that replicates climates of Southeast Asia, West Africa and South America.
6. The Eden Project is A Charitable Organisation
The Eden Project is a charitable organisation, although the amount of money it receives from government organisations has sharply decreased. Seen now as more of a social enterprise, the Eden Project is fully capable of funding its operations through gate receipts and other revenue streams.
Despite this, the Eden Project still values its charitable ethos, placing this at the centre of much of their work. They run many educational programmes at the site, while also using their reputation to push the conversation about our environment.
7. The Eden Project Hosts Musical Performances
Thanks to its unique venue, the Eden Project is also a popular place to host musical performances, with world-renowned musicians performing in these ‘Eden Sessions’.
Over the years, the Eden Project has hosted acts like Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Bastille, Kaiser Chiefs and much more.
2021 headliners are set to be My Chemical Romance, The Script, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.
8. The Eden Project Hosts The World Pasty Championships
Since 2012, the World Pasty Championships have been held at the Eden Project. This competition is, of course, centred around finding the best Cornish pasty, although there are rounds for other non-traditional bakes too.
The event sees amateurs, professional bakers, and companies compete to be crowned the pasty champion. Competitors come from all over the country and from further afield to get the chance to show off their baked goods.
9. The Eden Project is Home to England’s Longest and Fastest Zip Wire
Although the vast array of plants and spectacular gardens are the main draw of the Eden Project, a peaceful stroll in the greenery is not all the site has to offer.
The 660m long zip wire that takes you to speeds of 60 mph is sure to provide a thrill – not to mention the other adrenaline activities, including a giant swing, leap of faith and aerial obstacle course.
10. The Eden Project is Going Global
Eden Project International is an organisation chaired by many of the people behind the Eden Project in Cornwall. It was created with the mission of supporting other potential projects across the world in developing their own Eden sites based on the local environments.
There are both national and international projects proposed, with a site in Dundee most recently announced. Based in a former gasworks, this exciting project is set to bring in millions to the regional economy.
There are numerous other planned projects across the world, including in China, Australia and the U.S.A.
The Eden Project is a fantastic location to visit any time of the year and is just one of the many reasons to take a trip to Cornwall. Here at The Valley, our luxury holiday park in Cornwall makes a great base for your Cornish adventures – discover more about our 5-star accommodations today.
8 Ways to Enjoy Culture and Arts in Cornwall
September 24th, 2020
Cornwall never ceases to disappoint. Not only does it provide some of the most incredible natural locations in the UK, including some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, it also flourishes with incredible arts venues, theatres, galleries and gardens!
We explore some of the county’s top locations for arts and culture, which are sure to spark inspiration for creative minds! If you’re eager to experience all that Cornwall has to offer, ensure you have the perfect base for your adventures and discover our luxury cottages in Cornwall!
COVID-19 and Social Distancing
During times of social distancing, each location featured in our blog should be checked for their current policies regarding the coronavirus and visiting arrangements.
Explore the Minack Theatre
In times of social distancing, an outdoor theatre is a big bonus!
The Minack Theatre is a spectacular open-air theatre nestled in the granite cliffs of Porthcurno. The theatre was created around 80 years ago, taking the shape of an ancient Greek style amphitheatre complete with a breath-taking backdrop overlooking the stunning Cornish coast.
Exploring the fascinating site is an unforgettable visit and feels magical without watching a performance! There is also a beautiful garden included in the entrance fee.
All visits to the Minnack Theatre, whether to explore the grounds or to see a show, must be booked in advance. The theatre is open to day visitors from the beginning of April to the end of October, excluding any matinee performances.
Watch a Show at Sterts Theatre
Based in Liskeard, Sterts Theatre is another outdoor venue set in the atmospheric grassland of Bodmin Moor.
Rain isn’t an issue, as the charming 400 seat amphitheatre is covered by a canopy, keeping the audience shower free during performances in wetter weather.
Check out the Stert Theatre website for the latest information about their shows.
See a Band at Carnglaze Caverns
Not far from Sterts Theatre, near the village of St Neot, are the incredible Carnglaze Caverns.
The site was a former slate mine and is now one of the county’s most favoured tourist spots.
The underground cavern is not only great for those who love to explore, but it also hosts live music events and concerts in its truly unique location. The Rum Store is one of the three Caverns at the site and was attributed as one of the safest storage locations of the Second World War.
It has since been transformed into a 400 capacity music venue providing remarkable evenings full of great music.
Check out their website for their future music events and policy on coronavirus.
Immerse Yourself in the Many Art Galleries of St Ives
St Ives is synonymous with arts, and it has a diverse range of galleries to prove it.
Of course, the biggest and most famous one is The Tate which regularly presents changing exhibitions of artists. However, this quirky seaside town has plenty of other, lesser-known galleries to feast your eyes on.
Simply strolling around the town and exploring the area is one of the most charming ways to find them.
Some that we would recommend include:
• The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
• Leach Pottery
• Back Road Artworks
Explore the Sculptures at the Eden Project
For the perfect combination of nature and art, the Eden Project is the perfect outing.
Featuring a broad spectrum of artists and installations, you will find unique art across the site, immersing yourself in magnificent sculptures and exhibitions while absorbing the beauty of its many gardens.
Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature
The Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature is a celebration of literature throughout the captivating riverside town of Fowey, the home of Daphne du Maurier and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. The festival celebrates and features the talent and work of artists, musicians, authors and speakers.
The du Maurier Festival Society provides the event, and the next festival is currently scheduled for 7th to 15th May 2021.
Falmouth Art Gallery
Falmouth Art Gallery has a range of changing exhibitions throughout the year, as well as permit art displays. Work from Cornish artists varies in style, from surrealist to abstract, as well as featuring female artists from the county. The gallery also holds a 280 piece collection by the legendary local artist, Henry Scott Tuke RA RWS.
Store tours and group visits are currently on hold during the coronavirus situation as well as any workshops usually held at the gallery.
Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange
Newlyn Art Gallery specialises in contemporary art, offering visitors a selection of work from local, national and international artists. The gallery has existed for over 120 years and also has another art space called The Exchange, which was Penzance’s old telephone exchange. The industrial style site has a wonderful glass façade throughout the building.
Which art venues and events have you visited while in Cornwall? Why not share your favourite with us on our social media channels!
6 Unusual Things to Do in Cornwall
September 16th, 2019
Cornwall is a fantastic part of the country, with so many picturesque villages, exciting attractions and breath-taking beaches. There are many things in Cornwall that are relatively mainstream and attract many tourists, and while these are awesome, we would also recommend visiting some of these usual activities to really make the most of your holiday!
Lost Gardens of Heligan
A truly encaptivating experience, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is not your usual attraction. With the garden being 400 years old, there are numerous fascinating features to explore, perhaps the most famous being the giant’s head in the ground made from greenery. With over 200 acres to discover, this place is full of extraordinary sculptures, fascinating wildlife and spectacular gardens. Another mesmerising place to explore at the Lost Gardens of Heligan is the jungle. Here you will find bamboo tunnels to walk through and towering banana trees above you.
After you have taken a trip around the gardens, visit the Heligan Kitchen & Bakery and enjoy a cup of coffee with some tasty local produce! Why not take the chance to try the local delicacy and have a Cornish cream tea?
Initially built in the 11th-century, Restormel is an extraordinary medieval castle. These fascinating ruins were once a luxury residence for the Earl of Cornwall, and it was one of the four chief Norman castles of Cornwall. Something that makes Restormel unique from other historic castles is its formation and design. The chambers are all arranged against the outer circular walls; this includes the kitchens, great hall and guest rooms. Since 1925, Restormel has been cared for by the English Heritage, while being officially owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. Throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, this castle is the best remaining example of a circular castle, making it quite the sight to see! Not only is the castle an interesting attraction in itself, but the location is also perfect for a picnic or a country walk. The castle boasts an incredible 360-degree view of lush countryside, and it is surrounded by woodlands that are a haven for birds and wildlife.
Now, this isn’t one for the faint-hearted. Adrenalin Quarry in Liskeard is an action-packed adventure park; somewhere to get your palms sweating and heart racing! From karting and axe throwing to coasteering and an aquapark, this place has an abundance of fun activities for both adults and children to enjoy. The aquapark is brand new to Adrenalin Quarry, with slides, trampolines, monkey bars and other massive inflatables.
There are two top attractions at Adrenalin Quarry, the Giant Swing and the Blob. The Giant Swing is considered the scariest ride they have ever built, and it is not for those who are easily afraid. You are pulled up 160ft above the lake, and then you are released, experiencing complete weightlessness as the swing drops you and leaves you to glide over the water. The Blob, on the other hand, is slightly more fun rather than scary. It is a humongous inflatable tube that floats on the water. The attraction works by one person sitting on one end, and then someone else climbs the ladder at the other end and leaps off to jump onto the inflatable. This results in the person sitting down to catapult into the air before splashing into the water. An excellent opportunity to see a family member or friend fly through the sky!
The Eden Project
Considered the world’s largest greenhouse, the Eden Project is a fascinating attraction. The Eden Project isn’t exactly unknown in Cornwall and is, in fact, a rather popular attraction, but that doesn’t take away from that fact that it isn’t your ordinary day out. Consisting of multiple gigantic biomes, the aim of the Eden Project is to promote environmental sustainability. They spent a whopping £141 million to collect tropical plants from all over the world to showcase them in these natural habitats. Among these beautiful climates are an array of other activities, such as England’s longest zip wire, a soft play area for the little ones, a great outdoor play centre and a delicious café.
Bodmin Jail is undoubtedly a captivating place to discover and understand exactly what life was like for a prisoner many years ago. The jail was built in 1779, and while holding many criminals, it was also the safe haven for the state papers and the Domesday book during the First World War. Nowadays, the jail is a historical attraction and no longer functions as a working prison. Bodmin Jail visitors can explore the cold and dark cells and imagine what the life of a captured criminal was like. The execution shed is open to visitors too, which features the Victorian hanging pit; a 4.5-metre drop and it is the only one of its kind in the UK. Furthermore, there is an exhibition which features a tour across six floors of the jail.
Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If you’ve got an interest in anything dark and spooky or anthropology, this is the place for you! The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is situated in the picturesque town of Boscastle, and it is a place for you to explore the magical practice in Britain. As you walk around this museum, you’ll soon realise the fascinating nature of witchcraft and magic. It has been around since 1961 and is one of the world’s largest collections of items relating to witchcraft and magic, with over 3,000 objects to discover!
Should you choose to visit Cornwall, we highly recommend you take a trip to some of these fantastic attractions. If you would like to book a holiday to the South, why not add a touch of luxury to your trip and stay in a hot tub cottage in Cornwall? No matter the weather, a hot tub is an excellent addition to any holiday; adding that extra element of relaxation and escape! Here at The Valley, we offer self-catering holiday cottages that are both child-friendly and dog-friendly, so that the whole family can enjoy a getaway to Cornwall. Are you looking for some more holiday inspiration? Take a look at our previous blog that looks at the best places for a family day out in Cornwall!
Festival of Light and Sound
November 29th, 2017
The Eden Project is an incredible place to visit at any time of the year, but you can make your Cornwall Christmas holidays even more special by taking a trip to the indoor rainforest during the Festival of Light and Sound. The Festival will entail a display of music, light and colour, featuring light projections and dramatic soundscapes.
Experiencing the Eden Project Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes after-dark is a thrilling event in itself, but viewing them from above, on the 50-metre high lookout as choreographed performances of light and sound occur around you is certainly something else! Last year, the event reached the top of The Guardian’s list of top Christmas spectaculars, and it is set to be just as incredible this year.
The Festival of Light and Sound is a collaboration between the Eden Project, their creative partners, EdenLAB, and Chris Levine, an artist renowned for working with lights. Levine is the artist responsible for creating the laser light tribute to David Bowie at Glastonbury festival last year, so his work is innovative and highly commended. Working alongside them are a number of songwriters, spatial audio artists and designers to form the magically entrancing sounds that will accompany the light show. Marco Perry, Bjork’s spatial sound designer, forms part of this team too, making this one captivating experience you will not want to miss.
The Mediterranean Biome will also be playing host to a bar, where you can treat yourself to a nice bottle of bubbly or a warming mug of mulled wine and tasty nibbles. Here, local choirs, singers and performers will be entertaining visitors.
The event will be running on a number of dates, starting from the weekend of the 1st-3rd December, and the following dates; 8-10, 15-23, 27-30 December, from 5pm until 8pm. It is free to attend with a standard admission to the Eden Project, and no pre-booking will be required.
While you are at the Eden Project, join in with the other festive fun on offer there, such as ice skating, meeting Father Christmas and getting creative with some seasonal crafts!
Brand new rapid chargepoints unveiled in Cornwall locations
August 11th, 2015
Transport minister Andrew Jones has recently paid a visit to the Eden Project here in Cornwall to open the county’s first rapid plug in car chargepoint at the site, in conjunction with the 16 that are being installed across the county over the course of the summer.
The Eden Project welcomes the International Male Voice Choral Festival
April 28th, 2015
The Eden Project and its popular Mediterranean biome will come to life with the sounds of some fantastic music as the attraction entertains the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival visits during bank holiday weekend- ideal for a trip while staying in our 5 Star Cottages, Cornwall.