The Eden Project in Cornwall has become one of the UK’s most famous attractions, with plenty of adventure activities we took the family to check it out. We also spent a night in a YHA family snoozebox – our first time in a hostel since we had kids.
Most people who are into adventures also appreciate the outdoors. We like to see plants and animals, protect the environment and learn more about ecosystems and habitats. The Eden Project offers all of that, plus if you need some excitement it’s home to exciting activities including England’s longest and fastest zipline.
Set in an old quarry, the Eden Project has transformed an mining wasteland into beautiful gardens. Within two biomes they have created two very different environments – tropical and Mediterranean. It is an amazing day out.
In the tropical biome there is rainforest with tall trees, canopy walkways, cloud forests and lots of running water – including a waterfall. As you walk through it you learn about the plants, see a few animals and experience a little slice of tropical rainforest.
The Mediterranean zone is not just plants from the Med. It covers similar arid but warm areas around the world. Expect to see flora from Australia, California, and South Africa joining those from the Mediterranean.
Outside there are over 3000 plants from all around the world. You can walk through the ages to learn how plants evolved. Find out about agriculture, beer making or the many uses of hemp. Follow a spiral garden, see 100s of species of red-hot-pokers and see lots of British flora.
There is also plenty to keep the kids busy. From a the nest climbing frame to a giant pirate ship that is sunk in plants, and ‘secret’ shortcuts to many interactive displays, around every corner there is something interesting. There are also lots of ad-hoc events that get children involved in learning in a fun way.
And if you need a bit of excitement there are plenty of Eden Project activities get the heart pumping. Home to England’s longest and fastest zipline you can fly above the Eden Project in Cornwall. Travelling at up to 60mph this 660m ride is the quickest and most fun way to get from one end of the project to the other.
Recently added is Britain’s first 360 degree swing. Swing as high as you dare on Vertigo – will you do the full 10m loop? You should also try ‘Gravity’ a giant swing for up to three people. You swing 65 feet out from a cliff edge travelling at 50mph.
The fun does not end here. There are also three different ways for adrenaline junkies to fall safely from varying heights. Starting at 10m high is the leap of faith off a cliff . Then release your inner stuntman on the 12m Big Air jump. Finally get winched to 25m to freefall onto a giant airbag. After all that if you have time try climbing (without the falling!).
With all of these adventures you can just turn up on the day and queue. Or you can advance book a slot. Kids need to be over eight, so as mine were too young one of us had to try! I thoroughly recommend the zipwire, and overcoming your fear to do the jumps is hugely exhilarating.
The YHA is the official accommodation provider for the Eden Project in Cornwall. Spending a night in a YHA family SnoozeBox means staying on site, so you can get into the grounds earlier and don’t have any travel faff in the morning or evening. Plus with prices from £35 for a family of four it’s much cheaper than other options.
The main accommodation is in recycled shipping containers by SnoozeBox. They have been turned into ensuite bedrooms for up to four people. There is also camping available or you can pre-book one of the six festival inspired bell-tents that come with woodburners.
The YHA Eden Project has a large heated communal area. This includes a cafe that sells very nice pizzas. Being a YHA there are facilities to self-cater which were very clean and well stocked with utensils and basic flavourings etc.
I found the atmosphere in the communal area was friendly without being intrusive. We got chatting to another family, and I think if we had been there longer the kids would have been running riot together. But we arrived fairly late and left fairly early so there was no time to make friends.
With tired four and six year olds, and big Eden Project plans for the next day, we retired to our SnoozeBox fairly early. There is no getting around the fact that being a repurposed shipping container they are very cosy.
However, they are also very well designed fitting bunk beds and a double into the small space. Ensuite is a fully equipped – although rather cramped – bathroom . There is an ample amount of storage for a night or two. They’ve even includes a TV to make your night in a YHA family SnoozeBox more comfortable.
With plenty of individual lighting different members of your party can stay awake or go to sleep as they want. Although our kids thought it was hilarious that mum and dad were in the same room trying to read – so it was an early night for all. A curtain between the bunks and double would solve this.
The beds are very comfortable, the bedding was all clean and the bathroom was spotless. The only downside was that none of the individual lights worked. I asked at reception about this and they said the bulbs had gone and only SnoozeBox were able to replace them and that soon they would upgrade the lights to be more eco-friendly.
Overall our night in a YHA family SnoozeBox was good. Everyone slept well and we had plenty of energy for a fun day at Eden Project in Cornwall – we needed it as there is plenty of walking and adventures to be had. As family days out go it is up there with the best, and staying on site with YHA is well worth it.
If you would like to spend a night in a YHA family SnoozeBox it costs from £19.99 for a single person or £35 per night for a family of four. Find out more at: www.yha.org.uk/hostel/eden-project.
A day at Eden Project in Cornwall costs from £25 per adult and £12.60 per child, or £64 for a family ticket. The adventures cost more, the Extreme Package including all activities costs £90 per person. Find out more here: www.edenproject.com