5 best sculpture parks in the UK
01 Oct 2020
In light of the recent Corona outbreak we’ve all learnt that going out and getting a bit of fresh air can make a bad day turn into a good one. What if you could do this and get your art fix at the same time?
With numerous art galleries still either being closed or open but with various restrictions it seems more advisable to stay in the great outdoors.
Sculpture has long been integrated into gardens and parkland design, but in recent decades the concept of a ‘sculpture park’ has taken off. Historical landscape gardens and urban parks have been turned into picturesque outdoor galleries.
Please remember to check availability with the parks before visiting as the majority of them are only taking pre-bookings. Each park have their own COVID-19 visitor guidelines so please check the websites (all linked below)
Here are our top 5 around the UK.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park lies in the magnificent landscaped grounds of Bretton Hall near Wakefield in northern England. It was the first sculpture park in the UK, opening in 1977 as a gallery without walls. Since then, the Park has consistently won awards from leading arts organizations, including the 2014 Museum of the Year Award from Art Fund. Part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, the 500 acre park is one of the largest outdoor art spaces in the UK.
Artists with strong links to this part of Yorkshire like Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore are often on show, as well as Andy Goldsworthy, Anthony Caro, Antony Gormley , Leo Fitzmaurice . YSP also hosts a rare collection of works by controversial artist Ai Weiwei.
There are over 80 open-air sculptures situated throughout the vast park, most of them based north of the lake near the entrance with a couple of high-profile pieces placed further away to urge visitors to explore further afield.
Described as Britain’s most atmospheric sculpture park, The Sculpture Park in Surrey has a eclectic collection and has been welcoming visitors for over 15 years. It brings together more than 300 renowned and upcoming artists showcasing over 650 modern and contemporary pieces of sculpture. The majority of the collection is situated outdoors over a 2 mile woodland trail.
The collection is sited within ten acres of stunning water gardens which have been developed with a series of landscaping projects and the introduction of thousands of new plants, bulbs and specimen trees. Taking advantage of the natural contours of the hills make a gorgeous location for the numerous sculptures including the Lazerian polar bear that was created for New Bailey, Manchester in 2016.
All the sculpture are for sale and is a family-run business spawned from one man’s passion for art & design, supported by the family’s commitment to creating an extraordinary environment in which to display artwork. His vision highlights the synergy of the natural landscape complemented by man-made creations. The park provides a unique opportunity for artists to display and to sell their work
Broomhill Sculpture Gardens was established in 1997 and is now one of the largest permanent collections of contemporary sculpture in SouthWest England. Its a beautiful spot surrounded by acres of picturesque countryside. Each year it hosts the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize which supports emerging artists with the 10 shortlisted artists works being displayed and curated into it annual summer exhibition.
Described as where art and culture meet in magical surroundings the sculpture park was established by Dutch couple Rinus and Aniet van de Sande
Jupiter Artland, West Lothian
Bonnington House Steadings, Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BB
Jupiter Artland was created by Robert and Nicky Wilson. Since 2009 they have built up a collection of permanent and new works that have been described as impressive and constantly evolving.
Situated in the site of Bonnington House, visitors are encouraged to explore the park with the intention of discovering art from both established and up and coming artists.
Set over 100 acres of meadow, woodland and indoor gallery spaces, Jupiter Artland is home to over 30 permanent site-specific sculptures from artists including Phyllida Barlow, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley, as well as a seasonal programme of exhibitions and events
Through its learning and outreach programme, Jupiter Artland aims to engage with every child in Scotland, by offering free school visits throughout the year.
Kielder Water and Forest Park is home to a unique collection of visual art and architecture, inspiring the creation of work in response to the scale and complexity of its unique environment and the area’s varied and fascinating history.
For the past 25 years people have visited for the open art art experience that are within Northumberland National Park, dotted about at locations around the lake. Its situated near Hadrian’s Wall and other attractions.
There are many reasons to visit; the most popular being the distinctive scenery. Home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest forest, the Park’s remoteness and clean air and water offer a fresh outdoor experience.
Pieces include the award winning Kielder Belvedere’ by Softroom Architects, James Turrell’s light sculpture Kielder Skyspace’ Chris Drury’s ‘Wave Chamber’ and ‘Hide’, a new wildlife watching space at Bakethin delivered in collaboration with Newcastle University’s School of Architecture as part our Testing Ground programme.