The Eden Project
Perhaps Cornwall’s best-loved attraction, the former clay mine has been transformed into a multi award-winning attraction, housing the world’s largest indoor rainforest with thousands of plants in eight interlinked giant greenhouses, or ‘biomes’. Children will love the rainforest canopy walkway, rope bridge and waterfall, and the fragrant and colourful Mediterranean biome with ancient olive trees, vines and herbs. Outside there’s thirty acres to explore, sculpture, art and architecture, and an educational centre hosting demonstrations, workshops and courses on sustainability. In the summer, the site hosts music concerts and art exhibitions in the grounds at the popular Eden Sessions.
The Pentewan Cycle Path
This 3.5-mile route follows the old railway line which brought China clay from the hills above St Austell to Pentewan; from here, you can continue on to Mevagissey — a couple of miles north — along the The Cornish Way cycle route. It’s largely traffic-free, making it a great family-friendly cycle route, with its meandering wooded route running close to the riverbank. You can take a detour to the Lost Gardens of Heligan along the way, or link up with the Wheal Martyn to Eden Project Trail and other Clay Trails.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
For seventy years, following the outbreak of WWI, the beautiful gardens of Heligan were lost to the outside world, only to be rediscovered in 1990 under a thick blanket of brambles. The restoration of Heligan’s 200-acre site has now become the largest garden project of its kind in Europe. There’s masses to see; you’ll need most of the day to explore the various gardens. There’s the jungle with its boardwalks and rope bridge, the productive kitchen gardens (which supply the cafe) and flower gardens, best visited in the warmer months. The Italian garden has a distinctly Mediterranean feel, whilst the 200-year old Pleasure Grounds has beautiful pathways winding through historic plants.