Eden Project, Cornwall. One of the seven wonders of the UK.

eden project cornwall

Of course some people might dissent and name other sights throughout the UK as being one of seven British wonders, but Eden Project is indisputably the number one attraction in Cornwall. Those, who had never seen Eden Project before, normally raise their eyebrows in surprise and ask what all these weird glass bubbles are about. Well, these bubbles, called Biomes, are the biggest conservatories in the world (one complex of bubbles is 30 metres high and another one is 50 metres) and they house over 2000 of different species.
tulips at eden projectThe seasonal display of tulips at Eden Project
They also consist not of the glass, but of material, which is quite challenging to pronounce. Ready? This is ethylenetetrafluoroethylenecopolymer (ETFE); it is much firmer and less heavy than glass, and it also doesn’t hinder the UV light from coming through the surface of Biomes.

Eden Project is situated in round about 45 minutes drive from popular Cornish seaside resort Newquay and only in 4 miles to the east of other prominent Cornish spot St Austell. It is set in the former china clay quarry, which could easily contain 35 football pitches. And the shape of bubbles was applied not only because of peculiar imagination of the Project’s creators, but mainly because this shape suits perfectly the uneven surface of the crater.

Eden Project is not only about the amazing conservatories-bubbles, the whole area of the pit, including the outdoor space, is a one huge exhibit devoted to the mankind’s dependence on plants.

The Rainforest Biome (the 50-metres high bubbles) represents the humid tropics of Malaysia, West Africa and South America. The temperature always ranges here from 18˚C to 35˚C, which is especially pleasing if you visit it during winter months.
bombus the bee at eden projectBombus the bee at Eden Project
The path winds through the abundance of various tropical palm trees and plants, and you will probably discover that you had never heard before about most of them. But there are also enough of well-known plants that you can have a closer look at, such as banana, mango and fig trees, bamboo, sugar cane, coffee, cocoa and many many many others. There is also a chance to see the coco-de-mer, which has the threat of extinction and also is infamous for its largest seeds of any plants in the world (about 30 kg). The highlight of this tropical profusion is the waterfall cascading from the top of this Biome.

The Mediterranean Biome is less hot and brings you to the climate zone of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. In here you will find So typical for these areas many arrays of citrus and other mouth watering fruit trees, as well as the displays of peppers, olive trees, grape vines, cacti, scented plants used in perfume industry etc. The cork tree can also be seen in this Biome, this oak is interesting by that it can regenerate its bark in about 10 years after it had been stripped off.

The Outdoor Biome illustrates the temperate zone, so a lot of plants there are more or less recognizable for us, the habitants of more northern latitudes.
weeeman at eden projectWeeeman at Eden Project
But it doesn’t mean that this Biome is less interesting than two other ones, there are still plenty of unusual plants to see, which are gathered in various exhibits and accompanied by quaint samples of modern art, such as, for instance, Bombus the bee or Weeeman. Bombus the bee is the tribute to pollinators, playing their significant role on our planete. Weeeman is a 7 metres tall robotic figure made up of electronic waste, so therefore it got its name (WEEEman - waste electrical and electronic equipment). This eerie-looking guy clearly shows the average amount of scrap produced by a human over a lifetime. The Outdoor Biome also includes the so-called Core, the educational centre, which holds even more curious exhibits regarding our environment.

Although some sort of criticism of the Eden Project is regarding the pricey fee and fussy atmosphere because hordes of visitors, this place is very informative for people of all ages and definitely well worth a visit at least once. Unless you are going to the tropics I believe there are not a wealth of sites where you can see growing cocoa, bananas or coffee in the process.

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