Last week I walked around a rainforest. In England. Really, I did. I also took a stroll past olive trees, lemon trees and fragrant herbs in the Mediterranean. Don’t believe me? Then you obviously haven’t heard of the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Situated in a former China clay quarry, the Eden Project opened in 2001 and has fast become a world wide tourist attraction. And I can see why. We were lucky with the weather on our visit – it’s mid December and there were no gloves, hats or scarves needed. The sun was shining over the whole site and as a result each and every part looked stunning.
During the winter months, the main stage area is turned into a magical ice skating rink. Guests can hire skates and take to the rink for a mere £5 for 40 minutes. But if you have forgotten your knee pads and prefer to watch, you have the option to sit and watch on a viewing deck whilst eating a Cornish pasty and drinking a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
The Biomes that I mentioned earlier are the main attractions at the Eden Project. As I stepped into the jungle I immediately became overwhelmed by the heat. Tights, thick jumpers and coats definitely aren’t the correct attire for such climates! My camera even suffered – I took the lens cap off to take a photo and the lens was a steamy mess.
Upon entry to the rainforest, I read a sign that told me that an area the size of the biome is destroyed every ten seconds, something I had heard before but seeing the size in real life really put it into perspective. Did you know that it is the job of the rainforest to control our climate? They help to feed and water us, not to mention keep us cool. The rate in which the rainforests are being destroyed is alarming and more needs to be done to reduce climate change. They also produce some of our favourite treats – home to the cola and cocoa plants, plus delicious fruits such as papaya and bananas. Click here for more information on the rainforest biome.
Next up was the Mediterranean biome. The temperature ranges from 9 degrees in Winter to 25 degrees in the summer. Entering this biome was a welcome change from the intense heat of the rainforest. We passed giant lemon-like fruits called citrons, lemon trees, olive trees and vines on our journey through the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. Click here for more information on the Mediterranean biome.
Last year, huge floods wiped out the restaurants at Eden Project. But rather than sinking (sorry), they decided to create a bakery, using the finest locally sourced ingredients and fantastic bread and cakes baked fresh by in house artisan bakers. Watch the cooks hard at work before helping yourself to a range of dishes, sides and fresh bread. On offer on our visit were two soups, stuffed butternut squash, open rolls with hot fillings and an aubergine, ricotta and tomato open sandwich, which we shared with a side of honey roasted winter vegetables. Rather than plates, all lunch is served on wooden boards and drinks are served in mugs that hang above the communal tables. The aubergine with ricotta and tomato (£3.50) was served on a thick slice of home made whole grain bread and was utterly delicious. The winter roasted veg (£1.50) consisted of carrots, squash, parsnips and had a subtle sweetness.
Due to the fact that we were booked in for a cream tea only a couple of hours later, we didn’t have pudding, which was hard considering how marvellous they looked. The victoria sponge stood tall, while the scones were the largest I have ever seen. I sampled a taster of the lemon polenta slice, which wasn’t as lemony as I’d hoped but the polenta created a beautiful coarse texture. As the portion sizes are large, we only needed to share one main and side. With a mug of home made lemonade (£2), the bill came to a mere £7. Fantastic value. I left full, satisfied and wishing this cafe was closer to home.
General entry into The Eden project is £22 for adults, £15.50 for concessions, £8.50 for children ages 5-16 and children under 4 go free. Discounts available online.
01726 811 900
I love the Eden Project, took my mum there a few years ago. Wonderful place.
You should go back now and try the cafe – it’s seriously amazing. A lot of cafes could learn a thing or two… !