The Eden Project, Cornwall UK

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Eden Project information, Eden Project advance tickets, Eden Project accommodation,
Eden Project B&B, Eden Project Cottages  - 7 miles from Mevagissey, St. Austell Cornwall


 The Eden Project St Austell Cornwall

The Eden Project covers 35 acres, with the
Rain Forest Biome, pictured being nearly 300 ft tall!

Eden Project - open every day


Accommodation near the Eden Project

  Whats on at the Eden Project

Opening hours - Open 9.30am, Last entry 4.30pm, close 6pm

  Admission prices: on the door

  adults £29.50
  children £10.00
  under 5ís Free
Senior £27.50
  student £24.50

Children - under 16 or under 18 in full-time education
 Children under 5 free
Carer's get in free, one per disabled person

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Mevagissey Holiday Cottages


The Eden Project FAQ

When is the best time to come?
Our busiest time is between 10.30am and 2pm. So, the best time to come is usually after 2pm.  The latter part of the week seems to be quieter than the first half.  School holidays are also busy.  During the summer holidays we have late night opening dates - see "Latest visitor information" for details.

Do I need to purchase a ticket in advance?
Advance tickets allow you to use the fast track ticket desks which will speed your progress through ticketing when it is very busy. 

What's it about ?
It's all about mankind's relationship with and dependence upon plants. Much of our food, our clothes, our shelter and our medicines all come from the plant world. Without plants there would be no oxygen for us to breathe no life on earth.

The way we treat plants and work with them is the story of the planet.
Decisions we make now will materially affect the way our children and our children's children live and thrive (or not) on this fragile planet.

The Eden Project is a showcase for all the questions and many of the answers. But Eden is not a worthy, over - serious guilt ridden place; nor does it preach. It is about education and communication of the major environmental issues of the day always presented in an engaging, involving even humorous way.

What's in it?
Over 100,000 plants representing 5,000 species from many of the climatic zones of the world. Many of these can grow in the mild conditions of Cornwall, others demand greenhouses and that is where Eden's two gigantic conservatories come in. The Humid Tropics Biome - the world's largest greenhouse - is home to the plants of the rainforest - bananas, rubber, cocoa, coffee, teak and mahogany. Whilst the Warm Temperate Biome is filled with the plants of the Mediterranean regions of the world - South Africa, California and the Med. itself. Outside sunflowers, hemp, wheat and a host of other plants from our own region grow.

In addition to the plants themselves art is central to Eden's interpretation strategy and right from day one there have been many artistic expressions of storytelling across the site.

The public are naturally most interested in the excitement of the two giant conservatories - if we were an aquarium they would be our sharks - but there is much, much more to Eden than these two sensational structures and the use of the word Project in the name reflects the constantly changing nature of the place.

Whose idea was it?
Tim Smit's and the gang he was working with recovering the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan. The more he grew to know of plants the more he wanted to tell the fascinating story of their importance to mankind but it needed a much broader canvass than Heligan a grander scale and, of course, those giant greenhouses. Along the way Tim gathered many others to help flesh out the vision and make it the reality it is today. But in the beginning one man has to have the idea and it was Tim.

Is it for scientific people or will the general public find it interesting?
Eden is all about making plant based issues interesting to everyone. Maybe 3 million people in this country are already signed up to environmental groups in some way Eden welcomes them but is actually more interested in the 53 million others who are not those who are disinterested or who feel the environment is of no relevance to them or that they are too "small" anyway to effect any real change.

So, Eden is specifically designed to engage the public at large not just the scientists. It is designed to educate but with a light touch and a style which aims to delight and amuse as well as inform.

Is there anything for kids?
Lots. The schools are literally queuing up to experience the Eden magic. For the family visitors there is plant based play equipment, lots of workshops for children to get involved with and soon a new Education Centre full of fascinating exhibits fro children of all ages.

Do you allow dogs?
We do not allow dogs onto the main site (except guide dogs) but we do have a limited amount of shaded parking available on a first come first served basis. It's best to arrive either first thing (9am) or after 2.30pm when things are a little quieter to stand a better chance of getting a space in the shaded area.

Is it accessible for the disabled?
We have a disabled parking area and wheelchairs are available on a first come first served basis - some with a battery pack.  There is also a landtrain (which can carry wheelchairs) which runs between the Visitor Centre and the Biomes.  Routes suitable for wheelchairs are marked and you will find seats dotted about the site so that you can take a rest if you need to.

Who owns it?
The Eden Charitable Trust who have set up Eden Project Limited to build run and administer the place and ensure the commercial surpluses which will guarantee its future .

Where is it?
Eden is set amongst the china clay country just East of St Austell - the major clay-mining town. It is 30 miles west of Plymouth and 15 west of Bodmin - about 270 west of London. 50 miles further west is Lands End.

Is it all finished?
No indeed we hope it never will be. Like all gardens Eden will evolve over time.  The Outdoor Biome is beginning to flesh out nicely, ther Warm Temperate Biome too and of course the Tropics looks fantastic at any time of year.  We're just putting the finishing touches to our new Education Building

Are there any animals?
Obviously outside there will be all the natural fauna of a place like Cornwall and many bird species already seem happy to make Eden their new home. In the controlled environment of the Biomes there are some beneficial insects and lizards, there to eat the bugs, but there are no plans for any other incursions into zoology that is not what Eden is about.

How long should a visitor spend there?
From research carried out over the past few months it seems the average stay is between three and four hours.  Like visiting a major country house with gardens it is a good half day out . Ultimately there will 90 exhibits or stories so just 4 minutes spent at each of them would be 360 minutes or 6 hours!

We expect many will miss a few things during their first visit and wish to return another day to take it all in.

Is there an adventure playground?
No unless you take Eden's 35 acres as one gigantic natural one.

What happens in 20 years time?
Eden is here for everyone forever. In 20 years time it will doubtless be a slightly different place physically but it will retain all its core aims and objectives and culture. Like all gardens it will get better with age and some of the trees in the Humid Tropics Biome will have developed a middle aged spread and may be gently challenging the roof. In short it will be bigger and better - mature but always fun.

How many visitors are you expecting?
We had 1.91m by  March 17th 2002 - our first birthday!.  The business plan for 2001 said 750,000!  In 2000 we cautiously anticipated around 200,000 and hit more than double that.  So far we've had over 6 million.  We are averaging 1.2m visitors per year.

Is there a direct rail link?
Yes, you can now purchase a ticket to Eden from any railway station. It will include a supplement which will cover your entrance fee and a bus transfer service to & from Eden!  For details call 08457 484950.

How sustainable is the transport proposition?
It is a prerequisite of our planning consent that 20% of our visitors come by means other than a car; with over 4000 coach bookings in already we may well meet that quite aggressive figure this year.   Cyllists get a £3 discount, so on your bike!

What public transport links are there?

We have established regular bus links with key towns in the area such as St Austell and Newquay and we are helping to subsidise those journeys so that a great day out at Eden is never just for those with a car. For details please call Truronian on 01872 273453

We  have our own bridleways and are on the national Sustrans cycle link. 

How are you going to ensure wildlife in the Biomes doesn't escape?
The foundation ribbon design encircling the Biomes is an inbuilt barrier; we anticipate no problems and there is nothing dangerous to escape anyway.

The risk of importing invasive pests?
All imported plants go into quarantine and we have always worked very closely with DEFRA to ensure that we are not importing pests.  We encourage their involvement, our plants are our greatest asset so we would be mad to ride roughshod over the rules and regulations. Our "green team" and their links to botanical institutes and universities around the world are second to none in their capability to identify, monitor, assess and deal with pest problems.

Isn't it all just a big green theme park?
To many it will indeed be a green theme park. Great. Naturally that expression has a slightly pejorative ring to it for many of our staff but it's easy shorthand for many. But the real difference of course lies in the scientific integrity and talent which underpins the whole enterprise; the academic excellence on site and beyond with the many partnerships we have set up with institutes, universities and individuals right across the world. Our head of science Professor Sir Ghillean Prance who most recently was head of Kew is just one example of what makes us much more than just a green theme park.  Check out the supporters under who's who to find out who we are working with.

Admission prices high in one of Europe's poorest areas?
Our pricing levels are commensurate with a Premier league attraction in this part of the country. Much cheaper than many in London but at the top of the league locally. That is how it should be when you are offering Grade A entertainment and a 3 or 4 hour experience.

And remember the Eden Annual Pass. It's so easy - if, instead of paying our daily admission price, you choose to make the Eden Trust a gift of the same amount, you will be able to exchange your admission ticket for an annual pass to Eden.

£86 million could have been better spent?
We do not have time for this never ending and insoluble debate. Naturally enough we believe that Eden's ultimate ability to affect change on all our lives makes the upfront price tag potentially very cheap indeed. And remember that the lottery funding which set us on our way could not have been spent on anything which was the responsibility of local or central government anyway ... so the "hospital syndrome" is and was ,in reality, an irrelevance  the money could never have gone that way.

How will the Eden Project affect the economy of the local community?

The Eden Project's own team currently stands at around 500 permanent staff. Of those, 75% are employed locally.

Effect on wider community
Eden has attracted over 6 million vistors since opening in March 2001; around 85% of these are on holiday and in research carried out 8 times a year over 40% say they were " extremely" or "very" influenced by Eden to visit the county. This incremental business is estimated to have brought over half a billion pounds into the region as visitors spend time and money in the county they were attracted to visit by Eden. Eden sources well over half of all purchases locally and over 80% of its  catering requirements - this, in turn, brings wealth to our 2,500 local suppliers. The project now employs over 400 full time employees boosted still further by summer casuals - yet another powerful economic effect on a previously very depressed area of Europe.

Eden Project will act as a major educational resource and is already working in partnership with local schools, colleges and universities.

Schools programmes are very popular.  Check out the schools section for more information.   In summary the Eden Project will increase job opportunities throughout the region and also provide a high quality training resource.

How does Eden Project affect the roads around the site?
Primary access
A small stretch of new road was originally built to the Eden Project linking from the A391 mini roundabout at Carluddon. The fact that it crossed a non-statutory site of interest for nature conservation (an SINC) for 200m was mitigated by creating habitats of similar ecological value on ground provided by English China Clays (within 1 km).   The road then follows the china clay haul road, around Trebal refinery to the north side of Trebal for approximately 1 km.   It then goes SE above Starrick Moor to Little Carne. Then down to the site. This covers 1.8 km.

The new road was the first road in Cornwall to follow the Environment Agency's best management practice for urban drainage (with grass swales and ponds to control flows and pollution from surface run off). The new road has been landscaped with native trees and traditional hedgerows where it abuts farmland.

What are the Biomes covered with?
The Biomes are made up of hexagons that are approximately 9m across. The frame is galvanised tubular steel glazed with a triple layer of ETFE (Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene Co-Polymer) foil. ETFE is a transparent, recyclable foil and should last for at least 30 years. It is self cleaning as it is anti static. It is very strong, transparent to UV light and is not degraded by sunlight. The whole structure is guaranteed maintenance free for at least 25 years.

How big are the Biomes?
a) Humid Tropics Biome:
15,590 metre square (1.55 hectares)
55 metres high
100 metres wide
200 metres long

b) Warm Temperate Biome:
6,540 metre square (0.65 hectares)
35 metres high
65 metres wide
135 metres long

How is the climate maintained in the covered Biomes?
Climatic control uses sophisticated computerised systems for automatic ventilation and heating. This is assisted by;

 Having good insulation to conserve heat and therefore energy. The three layers of ETFE foil within the hexagons are blown apart by air forming an insulating pillow. 
 The conservatories are designed as 'lean to greenhouses'. The back wall acts as a heat sink absorbing heat in the day and releasing it at night.
 The plants. The plants themselves help to control the climate (eg, when it gets hotter they give off more water and cool the air). The more plants there are, the easier it is to control the climate. 
 Heating is provided by a combined heat and power unit. Renewable sources will replace fossil fuels when Eden can afford to implement the sustainable systems. 

What is your water strategy?
Water collected from run off (from the roofs of the Biomes) is used both to water the plants and create the humidity in the Humid Tropics Biome. An automatic watering system is also used.   Potable water will of course be used for drinking and cooking requirements.

Does it rain in the Humid Tropics Biome?
A waterfall in the Humid Tropics Biome will help to create high humidity.

Other facts and figures about the Eden Site
Total Site Area - 502,022 metres square (50 hectares)
External landscape - 97,843 metres square (10 hectares)
Amphitheatre Area - 2,282 metres square (stage 700 mtr sq)
Seating 2109 people

How long will it take for all the plants to fully mature and form an ecosystem?
In nature, ecosystems go through a series of developments that end in a climax vegetation. In the Biomes pioneer vegetation will be steadily replaced by a climax vegetation (just as would occur in nature) within 15 years. Pioneer species in the tropics may grow 3 or 4 metres a year in height. (the tropical bamboo, Bambusa gigantica can grow up to 45 cm a day!) Trees are introduced to the Biomes at about 6m in height. Plants are being raised in the Eden Project nursery nearby and continue to supply plants to the Eden Project site on an ongoing basis.

Where do the plants come from?
The plants are grown from seed and cuttings and brought in from nurseries, research stations and Botanic Gardens all over the world.

Will you be trying to 'breed' endangered plant species?
We have already started on a small breeding programme to maintain stocks of endangered conifers (in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh). E.g. Fitzroyia from the Andean mountains in Chile.



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