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Eden on Earth: A charity, largest rainforest in captivity and voted best UK tourism attraction

Eden on Earth: A charity, largest rainforest in captivity and voted best UK tourism attraction

As a tourist attraction, a social enterprise and a charity, Eden is a unique and complex organization.  The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future.

This visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events. Money raised supports their transformational projects and learning programs.

Eden employs some 400 people and gives another 300 people the opportunity to volunteer with them. Since opening to the public in 2001, the place has attracted more than 18 million visitors and inspired an economic renaissance in Cornwall by contributing more than £1.7 billion to the local economy.

The Millennium Commission weighed in with £37.5 million of Lottery funding to single Eden out as the ‘landmark’ project of the far South West, and their subsequent contributions brought the total to just over £56 million. We hope we’ve delivered for them and for anyone who’s ever bought a Lottery ticket.

Other major sources of funding included the EU and Southwest Regional Development Agency (some £50 million between them, including £26 million towards capital funding from the EU) and £20 million of commercial loans. The balance was made up of £8 million of other loans and some funds generated by Eden itself and reinvested back into the Project.

Last year:

  • 12% more people than last year visited the Eden Project and voted it the ‘Best UK Leisure Attraction’ in the British Travel Awards for an unprecedented fifth year in succession
  • 7.2 million people attended the Big Lunch 2015, an Eden-led project, up from 4.8 million the year before
  • Hundreds of thousands of people watched Elton John play at Eden, either live or on BBC iPlayer
  • We signed an agreement to build an Eden Project in Qingdao, China with three Chinese partners
  • We welcomed our first students to our on-site degree programmes (in partnership with Cornwall College and Plymouth University), and our second year of apprentices
  • 47,000 children visited the Bodelva site with their schools
  • We were granted planning permission for a 112-bed hotel on site
  • The financial position of our trading subsidiary (Eden Project Limited) improved significantly with profits (EBITDA) up 30% and net debt (excluding intercompany loans) down 20%.

From clay pit to a world-famous visitor attraction and educational charity – the Eden Project story has unfolded since 1995.

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