Monday, March 27, 2017 - 09:00

The number of visitors to the Eden Project last year surpassed the one million mark for the first time since 2011. 

During 2016 the home of the famous Biomes in Cornwall attracted 1,000,363 visitors, a four per cent rise on the previous year, making it the third year in succession that numbers have increased.

This means that nearly 19 million people have visited Eden since it first opened in a former china clay quarry on March 17, 2001. Since then it has contributed more than £1.7 billion to the regional economy.

The Eden total for 2016 was released earlier today (Monday March 27) by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions in its list of members’ visitor numbers.

Eden’s good news on visitors follows the announcement earlier this year of a third year of steady financial growth.  Accounts for 2015/16 showed that the Project made a cash surplus from trading of £1.8 million in the last financial year.

Welcoming the return of visitor numbers above the “magic million” mark, Eden Project Managing Director Gordon Seabright said today: “The uplift for the last year is heart-warming.  

“Our fabulous gardens inside and outside the Biomes and our events helped ensure a very healthy rise. We are building on that this year with an even more exciting programme and more investment in the gardens.” 

Earlier this month (March) in a major new development, Eden opened the Weather Maker in the Rainforest Biome, giving visitors the chance to trek across an aerial rope bridge, shelter from tropical rain and travel through clouds.

The Weather Maker is the latest phase of the Rainforest Canopy Walkway and enables everyone to explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest from the treetops. 

The exhibit shows how rainforests affect weather and regulate the climate and illustrates why conservation of the world’s rainforests is vital for all of our futures. 

Also this month, the neighbouring Mediterranean Biome is undergoing its biggest-ever transformation with the planting of a new area devoted to some of Australia’s most extraordinary flora.

Fantastical and freaky exotics such as grass trees, kangaroo paws and wax flowers are now gracing the Biome. 

The unique body of plants is all the more remarkable because, in its natural habitat, it survives and thrives on some of the earth’s oldest and most infertile soil. 

Eden is collaborating with Kings Park & Botanic Garden in Perth, Western Australia, to recreate the iconic habitats of the south west of the vast state. Their senior curator, Grady Brand, has been helping with the large-scale installation. 

This summer, after three years of acclaimed dinosaur-themed programmes during the school holidays, Eden will be blasting off with a major new event called Journey Into Space.

This will enable visitors to explore the solar system and uncover the secrets of the universe – all in one epic day out.