Did you know that there’s a tropical rainforest located in Cornwall, in the southwest of England?
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about the Eden Project, a remarkable tourist attraction featuring 2 amazing domes!
1. The project is located in a clay pit in Cornwall
The Eden Project is a tourist attraction and charity that aims to educate people about the relationship between human beings and plants. To achieve that, the initiators of the project built two massive domes consisting of multiple interconnected domes that house numerous plant species.
These domes are a great example of Blob architecture and were built inside an abandoned China clay pit in Bodelva, Cornwall, a county in the southwest of England. The closest towns in the area are St Blazey, a small town about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the attraction, and St Austell, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.
2. The original idea dates back to the year 1996
The founder of the project is Tim Smit, a Dutch-born British entrepreneur who also worked on the “Lost Gardens of Heligan,” another botanical garden in Cornwall.
Smit was the driving force behind the project and raised the £80 million needed to start construction of the biomes which replicate a natural habitat for plants.
3. It took about 2.5 years to construct the massive project
It took about 2 years to raise enough money for construction t start, which happened in 1998. The architectural firm “Grimshaw Architects” were the designers of the project.
Sir Robert McAlpine and Alfred McAlpine, MERO, and Arup also had a stake in the construction of the project which lasted 2.5 years. The first visitors were welcomed in May 2000 and the attraction fully opened to the public on March 17, 2001.
4. It consists of 2 massive biomes
The main features of the attraction are the two massive domes, described as biomes because they replicate climate conditions for various plant species.
These biomes are located at the bottom of the clay pit and allow visitors to enter the natural habitat of thousands of exotic plant species.
5. The biomes simulate two different types of climates
The 2 biomes replicate two climate conditions:
- Tropical rainforest environment.
- Mediterranean environment.
This means that you can walk around and discover palm trees in Cornwall!
6. The Eden Project features the largest indoor rainforest in the world
The tropical biome is the largest of the two as it’s 55 meters (180 feet) high, 100 meters (328 feet) wide, and 200 meters (656 feet) long. It covers an area of 1.56 hectares (3.9 acres) as well.
This makes it the largest indoor rainforest in the world!
The Mediterranean biome is also pretty big as it’s 35 meters (115 feet) high, 65 meters (213 feet) wide, and 135 meters (443 feet) long. This one covers an area of 0.654 hectares (1.6 acres).
7. It’s also home to Europe’s second-largest Redwood forest
Redwood trees, better known as “Sequoias,” are the tallest and most massive trees on the planet. These trees are native to the Redwood National Park in the northwest of the United States.
The Eden Project has started a “Redwood Conservation Project” in March 2016 and has planted 40 coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), the tallest tree species in the world. These trees can grow up to 115 meters tall and can live up to 2,000 years old!
8. The biomes house thousand of species of plants
One of the most amazing facts about the Eden Project is that the domes house thousands of different species of plants. The tropical biome is home to various types of banana plants, coffee, rubber, and giant bamboo, which are kept in hot and humid conditions.
The Mediterranean biome houses plants surviving in dry conditions such as olive trees, citrus trees, and grapevines. It’s also decorated with numerous sculptures giving this particular dome a true Mediterranean atmosphere.
9. No glass was used to build the biomes
Another one of those fascinating facts about the Eden Project is that the domes weren’t constructed with glass. This is because using glass was considered too heavy and dangerous.
Instead, the dome was clad with a type of thermoplastic referred to as ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). All these panels take a hexagonal shape.
10. There’s an outdoor botanical garden as well
Apart from the biomes which are home to thousands of species of exotic plants, the attraction also features an outdoor botanical garden.
Here you can admire plant species from the area in and around Cornwall, as well as various types of plants and flowers found all across the UK!
11. An education center conveys the core message of the Eden Project
The main aim of the Eden Project is to educate people about plants and their relationship with humans. Therefore, the project has built an education center called “The Core” which opened its doors in September 2005.
This education facility not only provides visitors with all info needed to learn about plants but also features classrooms and exhibition spaces.
12. The Eden project aims to become a source of energy for the region
Founder Tim Smit estimated that the project has contributed about £2 billion to the local economy already, and has big plans to take this a step further as well.
In 2010, the project acquired a license to start drilling and build a geothermal electricity plant. This plant will provide green electricity for the project and about 5,000 homes in the area.
The project is scheduled to produce electricity in 2023.
13. World-famous artists perform each year during the “Eden Sessions”
It’s hard to imagine a better location to hold a concert than in a clay pit featuring two massive domes, don’t you think?
That’s exactly why the “Eden Sessions” were launched in 2002 and numerous world-famous artists have performed during this yearly event.
Some artists that have performed here include Tom Jones, Lionel Richie, Bryan Adams, Björk, the Chemical Brothers, and Kylie Minogue, to name a few!
14. The Eden Project was featured in a James Bond movie
The attraction has also been featured in a major blockbuster, the 2002 James Bond movie “Die Another Day” featuring Pierce Brosnan.
The domes were the location of the “Graves’ Diamond Mine” in the movie.
15. Over a million people visit the attraction every year
The attraction in Cornwall has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and welcomes over a million visitors every year.
The concept has been so successful that plans were made in 2018 to build a similar attraction in the northwest of England, on the seafront in Morecambe, Lancashire.
The biomes there will be shaped like mussels and the general theme will be the marine environment.