We tend to forget the amazing things that lie just on our doorstep, and in amongst my travels abroad, I want to do a few posts on a more local scale – so here I present to you the first post for ‘Escape Down The Road’.
Two weeks ago I went to Eden Project with my boyfriend for a little weekend get away, and I’m so glad I have somewhere to rave about it! Paying about £60 each, we booked our trains, overnight stay, and Eden Project entry just the day before the trip. Studying in Exeter, I’ve been meaning to go to Eden Project for so long, but never really got round to it, and I can honestly say it was incredible! But anyway, I’ll start from the beginning before I get carried away…
The train journey was beautiful; the tracks through Dawlish felt like we were genuinely in the sea. An 8am train, you can imagine the stunning sky, with mist hiding behind the cliffs. My plan had been to sleep on the train but that simply wasn’t possible. The train from Exeter took us directly to St. Austell in Cornwall where a regular bus takes you straight to Eden Project itself.
The grounds were breathtaking with their huge biomes, bubbles surrounded by green. From the entrance you’re taken down a windy path through the gardens and up to the entrance of the biomes. We started with the rainforest one, having to stop at the door to remove coats, scarves, jumpers, etc, leaving us to walk around in t-shirts despite it being the middle of January (I recommend heading to the free cloakroom beforehand, which we completely missed on our way in!). We took the whole tour round, travelling through several continents as we got closer to the lookout, which is about 100m high and gives an incredible view of the whole dome. On the way back down we stopped by the smoothie bar serving £1 baobab smoothies and, oh my, I’m still dreaming about it…
The Mediterranean biome had the most ideal climate, I could have sat in there all day. It was like Spring back in Seville where my family is from. We sat with our sandwiches on the decked patio in just a jumper – as my mum would say, “en la gloria”. The colours in this biome are completely different to the rainforest one, but with their own charm.
By about 4:30pm we made our way to our way to the hostel, which was a huge part of the reason I was so happy with the trip. The rooms are made from old shipping containers, but had all we needed (except towels, I guess we’ve learnt for next time) : comfy beds, warm duvets, en-suite bathroom, TV, plugs… However we spent almost all of the evening in the common room, pictured above. There’s loads of tables, a self-catering area with lots of fridge space, some sofas, and a very efficient heater which we made sure to strategically place ourselves next to! I can’t stress how friendly the staff were, at check-in, when we ordered dinner, and when we asked for suggestions for the following day. Now picture this, both of us sat in armchairs, in front of the heater, with pizza and a bottle of wine, surrounded by friendly people… Exactly my point!
After a good night’s sleep, we had the continental breakfast buffet (only a fiver each) and took the bus that stops just outside the hostel, back to St. Austell Station. We had an open return train ticket so we decided to have a wander round the town and then head down to Charlestown Beach – a key landmark for any Poldark fans out there! After a carvery at The Rashleigh Arms we headed down to the beach for a walk. It was a lovely beach but we were unfortunate enough to come across a deceased dolphin which had washed up onto the sand… It was an awful thing to witness and as we all crowded round it there was a mixture of sadness and confusion as to what to do. I called up the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to report the stranding, but there wasn’t really much else any of us could do. Despite the poor dolphin, it is indeed a lovely beach, with lots of dog walkers. It was quite a walk back to St. Austell and of course there was some train disruption as there often is in Cornwall, but overall it was the perfect getaway! Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been to these places or if I’ve inspired you to go! Are there any other places ‘down the road’ you’d recommend?