Monday, November 17, 2014 - 17:12

The Eden Project has been recognised in a public vote of the favourite places funded by the National Lottery in England over the last 20 years.

The indoor rainforest in Bodelva came second in a National Treasures survey, which asked social media users to choose their favorite from a range of iconic venues, landmarks and facilities that have benefited from Lottery funding.

The news comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the first National Lottery draw, which took place on 19 November 1994. Since then players have raised over £32 billion for more than 430,000 projects across the UK.  Over £53 billion has been paid out in prizes and more than 3,600 millionaires created so far.

The Eden Project is made up of 35 acres of landscaped gardens, including two giant Biomes creating Mediterranean and tropical climates, which house thousands of plant species from around the world. As well as being one of the top tourist attractions in the UK, the Eden Project is a social enterprise which provides learning experiences and runs social and environmental projects.

Gordon Seabright, Director of the Eden Project, said: “National Lottery funding has transformed the UK and in our corner of Cornwall we’ve been able to create the largest rainforest in captivity anywhere in the world.

“We’re thrilled that the nation has taken us to its collective heart and are very grateful to everyone who voted for us.”

More than £37 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to the Eden Project. The National Treasures survey attracted over 66,000 votes and was topped by Staffordshire’s The National Memorial Arboretum, the UK’s centre of remembrance for those who have given their lives for their country.

As well as voting for England’s favorite place, the public chose Stephen Fry as their favourite National Treasure for his work as President of mental health charity, Mind, and Patron of Norwich Playhouse Theatre, which have both received Lottery funding.

Jackie O’Sullivan, Director at the National Lottery Promotions Unit, said: “The UK is home to some of the best museums, sports facilities, visitor attractions and venues in the world and National Lottery players should be proud that they are supporting so many.

“The National Treasures survey was a fun way of celebrating these places and recognising the contribution Lottery players make towards them. The Eden Project is a very deserving project to be recognised. Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for the people and places they care about most.”