From clay pit to world-famous visitor attraction and educational charity – see how the Eden Project story has unfolded since 1995.
Select a year from the timeline. The relevant content will be shown below.
- Early days , year: 1995–1999
- The Big Build , year: 2000
- We open our doors , year: 2001–2002
- Winter embraced , year: 2004
- Live 8 at Eden , year: 2005
- The Queen visits , year: 2006–2007
- 10 millionth visitor , year: 2008–2009
- The flood , year: 2010
- Tim Smit knighted , year: 2011–2012
- Accommodation , year: 2013–2014
- Focus on learning , year: 2014-15
- International , year: 2017
- , year: Future plans
1995–1999 Early days
January 1995 How it all began
In 1995 this hole in the ground is a working china clay pit that is nearing the end of its economic life. And the Eden Project is just a twinkle in Tim Smit's eye. Having restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan, he's now looking for an epic setting to showcase the world's most important plants and realises he is going to need a very, very large space…
October 1996 Early sketches of Eden vision
The very first designs of the Eden Project Biomes are drawn on a napkin over a drink in a pub. Architect firm Grimshaw gets behind the project and takes its concept of Waterloo International as a starting point. Over time the design evolves into giant bubbles, because bubbles can settle on any shaped surface, even irregular clay pits.
October 1998 World record set at Eden
It rains everyday during the first few months of construction, sending 43 million litres of water into the pit. We devise a special drainage system for the pit, which sits 15 metres below the water table. The 230 miles of scaffolding used to build the Biomes earn Eden an entry into the Guinness Book of Records.