The Eden Project is reopening its 30-acre outdoor gardens this weekend.
Eden has been temporarily closed to the public since March 22. Now new Government guidance means that the global garden near St Austell in Cornwall is able to reopen in a limited way, and will do so on Saturday (June 6).
The Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes and The Core education centre will stay closed to visitors until the project can reopen all areas, with July 4 set as a provisional date for that.
The Eden team has been examining guidelines closely and working on a range of new measures to ensure that the safety, health and wellbeing of all staff and visitors remains top priority.
For the first time, anyone visiting Eden will need to pre-book through the website, www.edenproject.com. Timed ticketing is being introduced to stagger entries and help maintain effective social distancing.
From June 6, visitor numbers will be limited to a maximum of 1,250 per day. This is around a third of the number expected on an equivalent day in previous summers and will be reviewed in the weeks to follow.
During this first phase of reopening, Eden is welcoming in free of charge anyone who works in the NHS or the care industry plus one guest – but they must be pre-booked.
Government regulations do not yet allow cafes in gardens to re-open. Eden will offer take-away food and drink from four outlets around the site and this will include teas, coffees, savouries and ice cream.
As an extra safety measure, the site will be a largely cash-free and rely on online, card and contactless payments.
Announcing the reopening plans today, David Harland, executive director of the Eden Project, said: “These have been difficult times for everyone but it is great news that we can start the process of waking up Eden so we can offer a space for people to be in nature, connecting with the wider world around them in a safe environment.
“We will be acting on Government guidelines very closely and will be keeping everyone updated on our further plans, including the eventual reopening of the Biomes, which we hope will be on July 4.
“Over the last couple of months, a dedicated team has been looking after the site, including a small band of gardeners who have worked tremendously hard to care for our unique living collections.
“Nature has lent a helping hand with so much sunshine during this amazing spring. Some areas will look a little wilder than usual until we have more members of the horticulture team back working their magic in the garden.”
Tickets to Eden will be available to book from 5pm today (June 3).