Where to see art outdoors: The best sculpture parks and art gardens you can visit now
Art and the great outdoors – have you ever known a better pairing? These six venues celebrate art in the open air, placing the work of renowned artists in dramatic garden and parkland settings.
From Barbara Hepworth to Damien Hirst, artists have long been making work inspired by the great outdoors – and the great outdoors is the perfect place to see it.
Featuring sculpture by legendary artists including Elisabeth Frink, Antony Gormley and many more, these six gardens and sculpture parks present work that's intended to be at one with nature, perfect for a wander in the fresh air.
Why not plan a visit and get up close to these impressive structures for yourself. Explore the work of both up-and-coming and well-known artists in these gorgeous green settings.
Most of Barbara Hepworth’s signature bronze sculptures remain in the same spot she placed them in years ago, when this garden and studio was her home and place of work. The garden retains the original design that Hepworth intended, and her sculptures are as spectacular and celebratory of the form as they were during her lifetime. Situated in the idyllic coastal town of St Ives, the sculpture garden is a tranquil paradise, offering the opportunity to explore the life and work of one of Britain’s most important 20th-century artists.
A former nominee for Art Fund Museum of the Year, Jupiter Artland is home to 30 permanent site-specific sculptures by artists including Phyllida Barlow, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Cornelia Parker. Set across 100 acres of meadow and woodland, this gorgeous open-air art space just outside of Edinburgh is the ideal location for a breath of fresh air.
- West Yorkshire
There are always around 80 sculptures and installations on show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with new commissions and artist gifts appearing year-round. Works on display include four major works by Damien Hirst including The Virgin Mother (2005-6), as well as pieces by Elisabeth Frink, David Nash, Giuseppe Penone, Ai Weiwei and many other celebrated artists – all accompanied by beautiful formal gardens and parkland.
In the grounds of Runnymede you'll find a striking architectural landmark by Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger. Writ in Water explores the powerful message of Clause 39 of Magna Carta (which was sealed at this site): the importance of the rule of law. Made using materials drawn from the surrounding area, Writ in Water offers a tranquil place of reflection and contemplation; step inside and you'll find the principles of the clause written around a pool, to be read from the water’s surface.
Running annually from April to October, in Capability Brown's 'lost' lower gardens, Burghley House’s renowned sculpture exhibitions show a mixture of specially-commissioned and loaned works which often take their inspiration from the house and gardens. Explore fantastic sculpture alongside pretty wildflowers, a charming icehouse and expansive lake, all in Burghley's vast grounds.
For inspiring views of the work of renowned sculptor Henry Moore, you of course can't go wrong with a visit to his studio, where the gardens are littered with fine examples of his immediately recognisable forms. Demonstrating the artist’s skill, with a range of work from large-scale outdoor sculptures to small maquettes, the gardens at his former home are perfect for a creatively fuelled day outdoors.