Cornwall: discover a rainforest and ride the surf in a day

by nannyd

Where can you experience a walk through a rainforest while eating a Cornish pasty? Read on...

Standing in the humid heat surrounded by towering trees and with the smell of the undergrowth in our nostrils, it was hard to believe that we were in Cornwall. Yet there we were, my husband and me and our two friends, standing in what to all intents and purposes was a tropical rainforest.

This was the Eden Project in all its glory. An enormous biome, containing over 1,000 plant species from such far flung places as Malaysia, West Africa and South America. You don’t have to be a botanist nor even a gardening enthusiast to appreciate the magnificence of this amazing piece of engineering.

The designers and engineers have created a fantastic experience for visitors on the site. The two main attractions are the Rainforest biome and the Mediterranean biome accompanied by the surrounding gardens and displays. Each biome has its own plantation theme, such as coffee plants, banana trees, orchids and spices in the rainforest. There are an abundance of citrus trees, olive trees and vines in the Mediterranean biome.

The comfort of the visitor has not been overlooked either. There are plenty of freshwater drinking fountains throughout the biomes and the rainforest has a ‘cool room’ where an emergency stop can be made if one feels the need to cool off.

The project was built in a disused china clay quarry and looking around it is easy to see the enormous skill and effort put in by those involved in the design and building of this masterpiece. High up along the sides of what was once the quarry, terraces have been hacked out, providing an abundance of luscious growth, which has been painstakingly planted and tended.

We marvelled at the wonderful carvings, statues and models which are dotted about the site. There is so much to see, that at first we couldn’t take it all in. After some really delicious food and a nice glass of wine however, we were fully refreshed and able to carry on.

Eating and drinking

There are plenty of areas for relaxation, including cafés and shops which sell mouth-watering Cornish delicacies. Try Joe’s cafe where they boast delicious fishcakes made from locally caught fish. Then there is the Zzub Zzub cafe where you can find a range of home cooked food and the Pastry shop where they sell the most delicious Cornish pasties of more than ample proportions!

Admission

Prices vary, depending whether you book online or pay ‘on the door’. It costs £21.15 for an open ticket booked on line. However, there are discounts for seniors, students and children. Children under 16 pay £9.45 for an open date ticket booked online. To book, or to see a list of forthcoming events and attractions visit

www.edenproject.com

Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG

Tel: 01726 811911

There are many other places of interest in the area, such as the Lost Gardens of Heligan, so called because it was once found in a neglected state and overgrown with brambles and ivy. Once the ancestral home of the Tremayne family, It has now been restored and is home to some beautiful gardens, a wildlife project and a jungle.

www.heligan.com

Helligan, Pentewan, St Austell, PL26 6EN

Tel: 01726 845100

Where to stay

We stayed in Newquay, which has some beautiful scenery and also for those who enjoy it, a lively nightlife. Surfers flock to the area because of the magnificent surf to be enjoyed. We passed a pleasant hour sitting high above the beaches, watching the acrobatics of the surfers below as they tried to ride the waves.

Newquay offers a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. The impressive four-star Headland Hotel sits on a promontory which overlooks Fistral beach and some stunning scenery. Prices average around £155 per room per night, including breakfast.

The three-star Hotel Victoria, sits on the cliffs overlooking the Great Western beach, which is a surfer's paradise. Surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants, the hotel offers comfortable accommodation with bed and breakfast from £105 for a double room per nigh, including breakfast. Family offers are available throughout the year.

There are also plenty of B&Bs around and about, which offer clean and comfortable accommodation.

Entertainment

Newquay is a thriving centre which offers activities and entertainment for all ages. Walking, fishing, diving and, of course, surfing are some of the attractions of the area for daytime activities.

At night time the centre is lively and interesting. You can choose between a leisurely stroll to some of the quieter pavement cafes, pubs and restaurants or dance the night away in one of the town’s nightclubs or music venues.

Cullens Bar and Restaurant offers all day dining, with an array of delicious food and mouthwatering ice creams and desserts.  It is very pleasant to just sit at the bar with friends or take your drink out onto the terrace.  The restaurant specialises in out of the ordinary dishes such as slow roast belly pork which is absolutely delicious. It is advisable to book in advance as Cullens is always quite busy.

visit www.cullensbarandrestaurant.co.uk

Cullens is on 42 East Street, Newquay, TR7 1BE

Tel: 01637 851515

A lively place for all ages is the Barracuda Bar, which overlooks the Great Western Beach on Clliff Road.  The nightspot is very spacious with three floors of bars, music and food.  There are quiet spaces where you can sit and enjoy a drink with friends or you can dance the night away to live music acts.

www.barracudanewquay.com

27-29 Cliff Road, Newquay,TR7 2NE

Tel: 01637 875800

Cornwall sits on the far western tip of England and as such enjoys the warmth of the Gulf Stream, so the weather is usually quite mild all year round. Plenty to do and see for families, couples and singles of all ages, Newquay has something for everyone.