Something for everyone
My children have got to an age where family days out are becoming a thing of the past. No longer do they beg to go off out for the day with mum and dad on the weekend, but instead either try to fester in their bedrooms or work out ways to escape us if we drag them forcibly outside into the fresh air for any longer than a few minutes. M is now 12 and T at 17 wants to live his own life, but occasionally, just occasionally something comes along, catches their interest and they actually find themselves agreeing to a day out with mum and dad.
So it was with a spring in my step and joy in my heart, (I did say it had been a long time since we'd been out as a family - I forget the pain, its like childbirth) that we set off in the car for a day trip. M true to form and like any other 12 year old insisted on bringing her friend along, but I was in such a good mood that I agreed much to her surprise.
And what I hear you all ask, was the magical place that elicited such a response from my brood of sullen teenagers? What nirvana had I discovered tucked away in a hidden corner of England? Were we off to the Utopia known as a free sweet shop?. Nothing quite so elaborate actually but I had got hold of tickets to Eden, well the Eden Project in Cornwall to be more precise.
The day was threatening rain, not such a surprise as it was the United Kingdom, I suppose, but not disheartened or put off by the cold wintery day, we donned waterproofs and headed off. Considering how close we live to the Eden Project, I have to admit this was our first visit in the day time. Like a lot of locals we go in the summer to their impressive range of live gigs and have wandered round the domes at night, but we have never taken the plunge of a day out there.
The beauty of the Eden project should never be underestimated, leaving the impressive entrance behind and heading out for that first look over the scene below is always breathtaking and even in winter, with storm clouds over head and a distinct lack of flowers in bloom the vista before us was stunning.
The huge biodomes dominate but that isn't all there is to Eden. They also have a stunning educational section, which is fun and interactive for all ages. We all had a go at pumping water, turning cogs and fiddling with knobs and levers. My son couldn't resist dressing up as a bumble bee in the tots corner.
Eden's real beauty is it's appeal to people of all ages and all walks of life. Very few people would normally think "ooh yeah, I'm going to look around a garden today", especially my teenagers, but here their eyes lit up and they wanted to go and look at plants, learn about the rain forest, explore and indulge their senses in a feast of trees and foilage. The biodomes are a wonder, with a great mix of education, fun and interest. There are spaces to play, places to run and hide, things to touch, smell and see.
When we went, the ice skating rink was up and running. There were people handing out free gnomes to good homes,.We took home Egbert and Eddard for a pledge to think about how we could conserve energy and resources. There were reindeer to look at and father christmas was in his grotto.
|Egbert & Eddards family members|
The shop was full of interesting gifts and ideas for christmas presents and we saw lots of people just coming to go to the shop rather than paying the entrance fee into the project itself.
My only gripe about the whole day was the bakery cafe. The hot food, which was needed on such a cold day, was barely warm. By the time we had managed to get it onto plates, walk to the till, pay and then queue again with our receipt to collect the drinks at another till point with another queue, it was cold. I expected the prices to be worse than they actually were, but if I was going again, I suspect a packed lunch would be in order or perhaps a visit to one of the other eateries. T indulged in a crepe at the ice rink and declared it the best thing he had ever eaten, so we may have just chosen badly.
All in all, the day was a great success, even in the most miserable of weather you can be warm and happy in the domes and no matter how busy you never feel crowded or cramped there. You are free to wander at your own pace and set your own agenda. There is no right or wrong way to spend a day at Eden, as long as you enjoy yourself - and remember which fruit you parked your car in. At the end of a long day, the last thing you need is an argement as you leave about whether you parked in grape or banana as the car parks are vast.
Thank you to Britains Best Days Out with Tots100 and Money Supermarket for giving me the opportunity to review the Eden Project. If you have little kids, big kids or no kids at all have a look at their website which is here and get yourself down there, you won't be disapointed.