The Eden Project
has always understood the need for reinvention. It opened 15 years ago, this vast space age shrine to ecology, a former clay pit reinvented as Cornwall’s most successful tourist attraction.
Soon afterwards came the Eden Sessions making use of the pit’s natural amphitheatre and acoustics to host big name acts like Oasis, Pulp, Moby, Elbow, Elton John, Lionel Ritchie.
Then there was the Christmas ice rink, the invasion of roaming life size dinosaurs and the Eden Project reincarnated as the ultimate futuristic film set for 007.
Now Eden has gone for the adrenaline junkie tag with Europe’s longest zipwire, a one minute ride/flight above the whole site. There’s a giant swing called Gravity, a terrifying, scream-inducing ride which plummets 65ft over a cliff edge at 50 miles per hour and the Big Air free fall jump from a 12 metre platform onto a huge inflatable crash mat.
The SkyWire first, which holds you up arms outstretched literally like a bird and goes at speeds of up to 60mph, the closest thing to flying that most of us are likely to experience. It’s a fantastic, if heart-stopping way, to see the sheer scope and size of the site and, let’s be honest, with more teenager-appeal than a trek around the Med Biome to see the giant lemons.
Great spectator sport to be had here too. The Big Air jump sees countless refusals (all that morale boosting the staff have to do must get tiresome), it may look easy but once you’re up on the 12 foot platform, taking the final leap is anything but.
And Gravity, my personal favourite, with its soundtrack of bloodcurdling screams followed by demonic laughter.
I can vouch for an 8 year old who refused to go on it first time round and finally did sandwiched between a couple of 18 year olds shouting that he wanted to get off as the swing climbed slowly to its full 50 metre height (that Big Dipper feeling times a hundred). He loved it of course and now all he says is ‘When can we go back to the Eden Project?’ which, I guess, is exactly what they were aiming for.