Eden Project: A look back in pictures as iconic Cornwall attraction turns 20

  • Watch Kathy Wardle's report

One of the West Country’s most well-known and recognisable tourist attractions is celebrating its 20th birthday.

The Eden Project opened its doors to the public for the first time on 17 March, 2001.

At the time, founder Sir Tim Smit declared: “Eden belongs to the people. The whole point of the Project is to highlight what we can do as a species, working with nature. 

“Plants are being used as a canvas on which to paint stories – human stories."

The Eden Project is turning 20.

The famous bio-domes were described by some as “the eighth wonder of the world” and, within three months, had welcomed more than a million visitors.

Since opening, the attraction has hosted music events, concerts and even featured in a James Bond film.

On its 20th birthday, we take a look back at some iconic photographs which document the Eden Project’s rich and colourful history.

4 February, 2000

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair inspects the site during a visit prior to its opening. Credit: PA

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair visits the Eden Project during its construction - a year before it opened.

16 March, 2001

Founder Sir Tim Smit pictured during its opening week. Credit: PA

Founder Sir Tim Smit pictured smoking inside one of the bio-domes ahead of its opening.

16 October, 2003

Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy.

Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy during a visit in 2003.

15 March, 2004

Some of the tulips planted as part of Eden’s Bulb Mania festival.

2 July, 2005

Angelina Jolie speaks to the crowd at the Live 8 Africa Calling Concert.

1 June, 2006

The Queen makes her first visit to the Eden Project, pictured here alongside founder Sir Tim Smit (right).

11 June, 2007

The world’s heaviest ‘seed’ is lowered into position in one of the bio-domes. This was part of an educational project by artist Peter Randall-Page.

9 May, 2008

Another year, another politician pictured at the Project - this time, it is former Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Gordon Brown.

12 July, 2011

Credit: PA

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are given a tour of the site in 2011.

3 March, 2012

Credit: PA

Friends Bonnie Mably, 20, and Nina Brooke, 21, enjoy a Cornish Pasty among the daffodils during the Cornish Pasty World Championships.

20 March, 2015

Credit: PA

People watch as an eclipse of the sun begins over the Eden Project near St Austell.

2 September, 2016

Credit: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (right) looking at a Muttaburrasaurus puppet during a visit in 2016.

31 August, 2017

Credit: PA

Eddie the Eagle goes inverted on a massive 360 degree human powered swing.

2 March, 2019

Credit: PA

Matt Grant pictured at the Eden Project with what is thought to be the world's smallest handmade and hand-crimped Cornish pasty.

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