Sheets of rain pour down as I walk up to a row of shipping containers. In the dim light I search for the number 108. It’s not long before I find it and as I peep inside I think yes, this will suit me just fine for the next couple of nights. My private room had formerly been a freight container now, in keeping with the Eden Project’s recycling and eco ethos, it was my own little Snoozebox.
Earlier that day I’d caught the train to the nearby town of St Austell and headed over to the YHA Eden Project, just a short taxi or somewhat longer, bus ride away. Last time I had stayed with YHA, admittedly a very long time ago, you weren’t allowed to arrive by car so I was shocked to find a car park there. As the world strives to get greener the YHA, in this one instance at least, seems to have taken a step backwards. But, I have to admit, I was rather pleased it has as it’s chucking down with rain.
The YHA Eden Project – Budget Eco-friendly Hostel and Camping
I was looking forward to seeing my Snoozebox, so having checked in (and sampled a very good pint of local cider) I headed off to my home for the next two days, a converted shipping container. Just as I’d hoped it would be, it was comfy, cosy with everything I could need. A double bed, complete with overhead flat screen TV, bunk beds, space for hanging clothes (only two hangers), a few draws, a safe and an ensuite shower and loo. The plumbing was a little noisy but the shower was spot on and much more powerful than I was expecting. There was also heating and air-conditioning so you’d always be comfortable whatever the weather. There was even free WiFi in the communal areas. This isn’t how I remember the hostels of my youth. It may still be fairly basic and while a family of four might find a Snoozebox a little claustrophobic, for one or two people it was great and for the single occupancy, it only cost me £39 per night. For a family on a budget intending to simply use it for somewhere to sleep it’s perfect.
If you’d rather camp, in the nearby YHA campsite you can pitch your own tent or if you prefer glamping, from Easter until the end of September, hire one of six bell tents, complete with futon beds. Two of the bell tents also have a wood burning stove.
Food & Drink at the YHA Eden
As I settled into my Snoozebox, I realised I hadn’t eaten that evening and was pleased to find they offer a range of fruit, snacks and microwaveable meals. I tried the Chow Mein and while the portion was rather small it suited me fine.
The reception doubles up as a bar serving a variety of local beers, cider, tea and coffee. There’s a communal area with plenty of tables and chairs, a few comfy sofas and some toys plus a small and basic kitchen area, with a couple of microwaves, kettle, toaster and two fridges – perfectly adequate for basic self-catering.
During my stay I also had a pre-booked, Eden Breakfast consisting of two excellent freshly baked pastries, one piece of fruit, fruit juice and a hot drink.
In the Eden Project itself they have an excellent range of eateries, including a nice cafe in the Visitors Centre (that you can use without buying an entrance ticket) that would be perfect for lunch or breakfast. I’ll tell you more about the fabulous food I had at there in my next post.
Things to Do
The Eden Project is on your doorstep. It’s about a fifteen minute walk to the main entrance. This educational charity was set up “to connect us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future”. There’s plenty to do here to fill a whole day or more including exploring its massive Biomes home to the largest rainforest in captivity.
Above: The Eden Project
The St Austell Brewery is just 4 miles away where you can see the beers the hostel sells being made and of course sample them. And there are plenty of walks and stunning scenery to admire nearby.
Hangloose Adventure activities at Eden
As I settled down under my cheerful bright green duvet I was both excited and rather nervous. I was booked into the ten o’clock slot for the zip wire at Eden, the longest in England, but the weather was so bad there was a good chance that it would be cancelled. I was in two minds as to whether that would be a good or bad thing. While I really wanted to do it, I was worried that the 97 metre high zip wire, that reaches speeds of up to 60 mph, might just prove to be a little too terrifying for me. If you’ve seen the previous video of me getting stuck on a zip line in Slovenia you’ll know heights are not my strong point. I fell asleep with thoughts of flying above the trees and the giant biomes of the Eden Project floating around in my head.
Nearest Train Stations: St Austell and Parr
Taxi from St Austell to YHA Eden: £9 with White River Cars 01726 810980
Single Occupancy Snoozebox: from £29 per room, per night
Snoozebox for a family of 4: from £55 per room, per night
Eden Breakfast: £5.25
Reception / Bar / Communal Area and Kitchen Opening Times: 8am to 11am and 4pm to 11pm
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Photography courtesy of YHA.