Friday, May 29, 2015 - 14:45

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but lucky visitors to the Eden Project today (Friday) had just that as Eden staged Britain’s hottest and probably biggest mid-day feast.

With a tropics-like cloudburst outside and temperatures nearing 30°C inside Eden’s huge Rainforest Biome, visitors enjoyed a fabulous array of sweet treats including a specially make chilli-cake to keep up the hot theme.

The event was staged to mark just over a week to go to The Big Lunch – the Eden-inspired day of community, friendship and fun taking place on Sunday June 7.

In true Big Lunch spirit, visitors were given the chance to have a nibble, enjoy some music and make new friends in the biggest rainforest in captivity, with bunting fluttering from the trees above.

Among the lunchers was Gill Butler of the Par Community Association, who is organising a potentially record-breaking Big Lunch a stone’s throw from Eden.

Gill said: “The Big Lunch is brilliant, it gets people talking. People chat to each other across the table, they share food, they meet people that they wouldn’t normally meet and you have the older people talking to the younger people, which is absolutely great.

“Not only are we organising a Big Lunch on Sunday June 7 but we’re also going for a world record for the world’s largest cream tea party. We’ve done a Big Lunch for the past three years but not on such a scale as this.”

Peter Stewart, Executive Director at the Eden Project, said: “This is a fabulous dress rehearsal for the Big Lunch on Sunday week and it’s great to see that our visitors really got engaged with the idea.

“This is a great example of what happens at a Big Lunch - sharing some nice food and talking to your neighbours. Our visitors probably didn’t come here to make friends with other visitors but that’s what they are doing today and that’s exactly what will be happening in neighbourhoods across the nation next Sunday.

“It’s not too late to be able to sign up to do your own Big Lunch. Just knock on some doors and pull up a few chairs and that is a Big Lunch. You’ll be taking part in something that is truly wonderful and nationwide. As someone who has taken part in a Big Lunch in my street for the last six years, it is really transformational for communities so I would urge everyone to just go and do it.”

The Big Lunch ( is the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by the Big Lottery Fund and supported by Halifax and Asda. It was started in 2009 with the belief that we are better equipped to tackle the challenges when we face them together. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of The Big Lunch.

Over the past six years, Big Lunches of all sizes have happened in all kinds of communities – in streets, back gardens, parks and local community venues. Thousands of events have taken place each year, with a whopping 4.83 million people taking part in 2014. Post-event research by Havas in 2014 highlights the benefits of The Big Lunch, including 84% of Big Lunch participants said it made them feel better about their neighbourhood.

The Big Lunch is calling on communities to take part this year and host their own Big Lunch events on Sunday 7 June 2015. Anyone can request a free planning pack, which contains invitations, posters, seeds and stickers, at or by calling 0845 850 8181 to speak to one of the team.