06. May 2013 10 min read

Day 9 of UK adventure - Cardiff and Eden Project

Although the topic states two places around 300 km apart, this was our plan for this lovely Monday. This Monday was also Bank Holiday, when most UK people take their time and visit coastline. That last bit almost prevented to completing our journey, but we were over traffic jams on M5 soon enough.


After a night sleep we decided to take a glance at Cardiff. Cardiff is a Wales main city near coast with a harbour, castle and of course football stadium. We arrived in city early in the morning and stopped at Channel View. We stopped just next to marina and started our breakfast. Not long after a father and a son came and started pumping air into their rubber canoe. They were not nearly done with preparation when a SUV with 3 older man and a big rubber boat with disel motor on trailer arrive and start checking the loading (or floating) ramp. After a talk and scout of the place a new SUV with big fiberglass boat and strong disel engine arrives, turns the trailer in and afloats the boat. All of us quite amazed that it did not take much time at all. Then he pulled out the car and he was on his way. Not long after the big rubber boat was also afloat and on its way and few moments after the father and son started rowing towards the sea. Quite a amuzing start of the day when we were writing reviews of previous day.
Now at around 9.00 (9am) we decided to take a look at rest of the city. We soon faced a problem as there were no signs for major attractions and we were mostly driving around just gut feeling. We found a town centre, but it was pedestrian zone. We soon asked a nearby pedestrian and he pointed us to direction of a castle. We were not far but we reached it after some navigation around the pedestrian zone. We drove by and took photos, then drove and parked in front of some sport park. After that we checked the castle and its wall a bit closer. On our way back we took photos of modern football stadium which is located just next to town old centre but makes for the modern looks of Cardiff. It was really a nice sunny day but we had to catch Eden Garden in same day. We were soon on Motorway towards Bristol.


On route towards St.Austell where Eden Garden is located, we decided to stop in Bristol. It has a nice old warship museum, aquarium and old city centre. We mostly drove around and took photos then went back to M5 towards Exeter. Soon after entering the M5, we were in traffic jam. It was our first traffic jam and we expected it to be quite long. We were hardly moving but after around 2 hours we were past Weston-Super-Mare, which seemed to be preferred destination for most people and were on our way South.

Eden Project

From sun and 20 degrees Celsius in Bodmin, we turned towards St. Austell into cloud, fog and 11 degrees Celsius. This was a shock as we expected a nice weather but it seems like West was sunny with South was not. We found Eden Project easily as signs lead you directly to it, then parked our car in one of many parking areas. We took a hike to the entrance and were amazed by high entry fee. It was higher than English Heritage card or Scottish Explorrer pass, but since it was top priority on our list we decided to enter.
Once you are inside the most amazing sight are biodomes. White bubbles on bottom of this huge pit look like some alien structures. From viewing deck the view was amazing although fog was all around the pit it was not thick enough to prevent the marvelous sight of the area. Biodomes really look inviting and we decided to take shorttest possible route down the sloap, which also made some quite nice turns. The outside gardens were seeded with local plants which just started to show some life after a long winter. The fog did not make them inviting enough, but you cannot always have perfection after all.

Biodome of tropical vegetation

We soon entered the passage between both biodomes, because in one Biodome you have Tropical vegetation and in other you have Mediterannian. As we live near Mediteranian sea we decided to rush into Tropical Biodome. First step after door openes is accompanied with breeze of a bit cooler air from entry passage, but soon after you are in hot and humid environment with a lot of wonderful and unknown plants. The biodome also has tropical birds inside so it is quite alive. When you are inside you simply forget about that cold fog outside and we walked every path inside the Biodome which was open. We even went high below the top with suspended stairs and platform where view was astonishing. Both stairs and platform are supported only by few steel wires which are nested into Biodomes structure. Everything moved as you walked and moved around so it was quite an experience. On top of the Biodome it is the hottest and humidity does not help either. Inside this Tropical Biodome you also have some structures which show you how scientists survived in tropical climates as well as points you out the problems people in tropics are facing. Mostly they are workforce and poverty related. Biodomes are nice educational tool which provide common knowledge about vegetation, people (society) and problems in tropical countries. Tropical biodome also features a waterfall which provides it with humidity as well as water for the plants. It also produces a nice background sound.

Biodome of Mediteranian

As mentioned before we know Mediteranian enviorment quite well but we found some new plants in this biodome, which are in same climate areas in South Africa and California. It is funny how you can see things from your garden in the biodome shown like some special plant. The climate here was described as hot and dry. This dome also had a garden inside which provided visual information on how food is grown.

The Core and outside gardens

There is another alien structure beside biodomes in this pit. It is called The Core and is basically a multimedia interractive eduactional room. Visitors can view videos about Earth, can check the various natural circles and try various machines (oil press, nut cracker, etc.). In core you also have a healthy food and diet corner and what I have found amazing is that roof of the Core structure is partially covered with solar panels. For easier access inside and outside of the pit you have a lift which takes you back to observation deck and shop - just before your way out.

Over the pit there is a metal rope which was not functional at the time. It is drawn on map and ride on it should have provide an amazing view over the entire pit. We were however unable to find the path to it and also nobody was riding it, which might have mean that it is still work in progress. Anyway it is something you might want to try when you visit Eden Project.

After leaving the Eden Project we were on our way to Plymouth. The road was twisty and quite narrow with fog or let us rather say thick clouds, did not make navigation easier. Between Saltash and Plymouth you have a payable bridge so prepare your money or plan for proper detour. Both towns do not have any decent camping sites so we drove forward from A38 to Paignton. Just on route we found a nice cheap B&B with camping area where we spent the night.Next day we drove even closer to end of our trip.

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