Learning by Being There: The Eden Project

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

One of the best things we have done on our three-month UK tour is to visit the Eden Project. I really wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was, even with some of the attractions closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It really is well worth the visit and one of the best educational days out we have ever had from a homeschooling point of view.

One of the first things you see as you walk down the steep hill to the visitor centre is the view of the biomes which is just incredible. My boys aren't easily impressed and all I could hear from them was a lot of 'wow's. The sheer size of them is just something to behold. You can buy an adult, child, or even both options of an activity book for the journey through the attraction for £5 each. We bought one for the boys and filled it in every time we sat for a break. It's a great learning tool and we even managed to complete it by the end of our day.

Take a packed lunch and save yourself some money as there are lots of spaces for eating your own food including a courtyard and a large covered indoor area. Of course, there are places to eat there too but the queues can get pretty long. The ice cream queues alone were about 15 people deep! Before you get to the biomes, there are little things to see and do along the way which I would highly recommend, as well as getting some photos of those biomes of course.

Once you get to the bottom, follow the pollination trail to the lovely lavender, if it's the right time of year of course. We came in August when it was in full bloom and it was just amazing to see so many bees having the time of their lives in amongst the lilac plants. After that, make your way up the ramp towards the biomes. There are two to choose from, the Rainforest Biome and the Meditteranean Biome and you can do them in any order you like. We chose the rainforest biome because I have always wanted to visit the Amazon and if I'm being totally honest, this might be the closest I will ever get. I couldn't wait to get inside!

First things first, remember to pack your sunscreen if you're visiting on a sunny day. The special material that makes up the hexagonal covering of the biome permits UV rays and therefore, it is possible to get burnt. It's also really hot inside the rainforest biome so be prepared to sweat! Wear layers if possible so that you can put a jacket back on if need be when you exit the biome. Inside, you definitely won't need one.

You will go through a series of locations as you make your way through the biome, from the tropical islands to South East Asia. The plants are unbelievable, even my children were impressed with just how large some of the leaves and fronds were. There's information about all of them, many of them having a useful purpose from being used for construction to medicinal purposes. There's so much to learn here, including a small section about Hawaii and how the Polynesians made it to the island in canoes built from some of the very plants you will see. There's even lots of art and sculptures thrown in for good measure.

The layout is very cleverly built. You end up snaking your way up higher and higher until you reach the top of the biome. The whole ethos behind the Eden Project is education and they've certainly done a good job of it. It truly is one of the most educational days out I have ever experienced. Your children can learn so much about the environment, nature, sustainability, history, cultures and so much more. It's impossible to leave without having learned something. The saddest thing I learned was that an area of rainforest the size of the rainforest biome is cut down every 16 seconds. When you see just how big that it, and how many plants that holds, it will break your heart.

Make your way up to where the journey continues at the Rainforest Canopy walkway and learn about the clouds, their role, and the environment. There's a fun rope bridge to cross and a lovely waterfall where you can stop and get some memorable snaps. There is also a rainmaker shack and a smoothie bar but neither are currently open. Hopefully, when you go, they will be!

After the Rainforest Biome, you head across the walkway where you can take the opportunity to grab a drink or use the toilets, and then enter the Mediterranean Biome. The Mediterranean Biome is a lot less impressive in terms of the scale of the Rainforest but is still pretty amazing. It's not as hot in here but is still really warm. Enjoy the scents of the flowers as you begin your journey, learning about the species that come from Italy, Spain, Australia, and even California.

Once again, learn about the uses of these amazing plants, and the history of things like olive oil. There are even some very old olive trees here which are just wonderful to see. So much time, thought and effort has been put into every part of the Eden Project, even the small details here like the white-washed walls in Spain you usually find with plant pots housing bright red geraniums. You really do feel like you are on a trip abroad, even more so if you stop for a drink at the Gin Bar, a place that looks like it's come straight from Seville.

By the time we were in the Meditteranean Biome, my boys were getting a little restless. By now, we had probably been at Eden for around three hours. The Mediterranean Biome didn't interest them as much as the Rainforest Biome, so my advice would be to go with the Rainforest Biome first. You don't want them to peak too early and miss it because it truly is remarkable.

After the Meditteranean Biome, we headed back out to see what other adventures we could find. We probably didn't find them all! There are outdoor gardens, a play park, exhibitions, a small soft play area in the Invisible World's Exhibition where you will also discover the must-see sculpture called Infinity Blue that blows out circular vapours the children just love. Infinity Blue pays homage to cyanobacteria, one of the world's smallest living beings.

We were shattered by the time we made our way around the Eden Project, having managed to spend the whole day there. There are some useful itineraries on the Eden Project website for visiting with children, either for three hours or the whole day. You can check them out here.

All in all, this is a brilliant day out and something I would definitely do again. Immerse yourself in the education and wonder of it all, and give your children the chance to visit far-flung places right in their own country.

It cost £85 for a family of four to visit but check out their membership prices. It might work out the same and means you can go back as many times as you like in the twelve-month period. It might sound pricey, but when you see the effort that has gone into what was once a former china clay pit, you won't be disappointed. Have fun!


6 views0 comments