Britain's best sculpture gardens and trails

Eleven great places to see 3D art in the countryside
27th April 2018
Yorkshire Sculpture Park


Terence Coventry Sculpture Park
The Terence Coventry Sculpture Park lies on the coast path a few minutes' walk from Coverack. Just wander in – it's free. Picture: Alamy

1. Terence Coventry Sculpture Park, Cornwall

Magnificently situated in three cliff top meadows beside the coastal path near Coverack, Cornwall, teh late Terence Coventry’s work celebrates his life as an artist who worked also as a pig farmer. Animals, including bulls and birds, feature strongly in his joyful work.

• Open daily. Free entrance.



Hannah Peschar
The work on display at the Hannah Peschar garden changes regularly. Picture: Alamy

2. The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey

This lush and ethereal sculpture garden near Cranleigh hosts contemporary work by British and international artists. The outstanding landscape create a magical backdrop where planting, light, water, and sound all play their part in the stunning exhibition of sculptural works.

• Opening times vary – check before travelling. Adult entrance £10.



Forest of Dean
Kevin Atherton's Cathedral is one of the works on the 4.5 mile Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Picture: Alamy

3. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire

Established in 1968 this pioneering trail of permanent and temporary sculptures celebrates the spirit of the Forest of Dean. Each sculpture is situated carefully; to be chanced upon, investigated and considered in relationship with the sylvan landscape around it.

• Open daily, dawn until dusk. Entrance free.



Barbara Hepworth Museum
Barbara Hepworth's garden is a peaceful green haven in bustling St Ives. Picture: Alamy

4. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, Cornwall

Stepping from the narrow lanes of St Ives fishing village into the walled sanctuary of Barbara Hepworth’s secret sculpture garden and studio is a magical experience. Hepworth’s friend, composer Priaulx Rainier, designed the garden and Hepworth herself sited many of the bronzes. Occasional music performances in the garden are extra special.

• Open daily, 10am to 5.20pm. Adult entry £7.70.



Henry Moore
The Henry Moore Gardens feature 20 monumental bronzes. Picture: Alamy

5. Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, Hertfordshire

Allow plenty of time to visit the home Henry and Irina Moore at Perry Green. The celebrated sculptor and his wife moved to the countryside after their London home was damaged by the Blitz in 1940. Explore the house and gardens, created by Irina, and discover Henry’s work in grassy fields which can get muddy in wet weather; wellies are advised!

• Open Wednesdays to Sundays and bank holiday Mondays, 11am to 5pm, until 28 October, 2018. Adult entry £14.



Andy Goldsworthy's Tilbersthwaite Touchstone Fold is near Coniston. Picture: Alamy

6. Andy Goldsworthy Sheepfolds, Cumbria

Sheepfolds is Cumbria County Council’s countywide sculpture project created by Andy Goldsworthy who worked with existing sheepfolds in disrepair and at sites where they no longer existed. His structures sometimes enclose boulders, sometimes stone cones, many have artworks built into the walls. Visit for locations of Goldsworthy's 46 completed sheepfolds.

• Open daily. Entry free.



Hannah Bennett sculpture garden
Hannah Bennett's own ceramic sculptures mingle with work by other artsts. PIcture: Hannah Bennett

7. Hannah Bennett Sculpture Garden, Derbyshire

Sculptor Hannah Bennett has created a relaxed garden of works by leading artists in the gentle surroundings of her home in the village of Eyam. Sculptures sit cheek by jowl with vegetables and all profits go to the Neo Natal Unit at chesterfield Royal Infirmary.

• The garden opens on 19 May from 3pm to 5pm. Thereafter, it opens on Thursdays and Fridays, from 10am to 3pm, Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, and at other times by appointment only; until October. Entry £2.



Picture: Alamy

8. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This awesome open air gallery extends across 500 acres and exhibits the work of acclaimed international artists with the mission to ‘challenge, inspire, inform and delight’. With indoor galleries, a restaurant and cafe too, this is a great day out.Sculptures on display in 2018 include works by Ai Weiwei, Elizabeth Frink, Andy Goldsworthy, Anthony Caro and Barbara Hepworth.

• Open daily, 10am to 6pm. Entry free; parking charges apply. 



Antony Gormley cast the 100 statues from his own body. Picture: Alamy

9 Another Place, Sefton

Sir Antony Gormley’s meditation on emigration is a spectacular experience; 100 naked iron men washed by the tide stare out to sea along three kilometres of the sandy Sefton shore. This major cultural attraction appears quite different depending on the state of the tide and the light.

• Open daily. Entry free.



Lake Vrynwy
Simon O'Rourke's The Giant Hand Of Vyrnwy. Picture: Alamy

10 Lake Vrynwy Sculpture Trail

A feat of Victorian engineering, Lake Vrynwy reservoir at the edge of Snowdonia was initiated in 1878 to supply the booming city of Liverpool, 64 miles away with clean fresh water. Now also an RSPB reserve, the lake hosts an award winning sculpture trail featuring much wildlife.

• Open daily. Entry free.



Lough Macnean
Picture: Alamy

11. Lough Macnean Sculpture Trail, Enniskillen

Bordered by the counties of Fermanagh, Leitrim and Cavan, the 42 mile sculpture trail created by Irish artists at Lough Macnean celebrates the history and culture of the local communities including the religious divide, emigration and famine. You can walk or cycle the route.

• Open daily. Entry free.




Words from...

Writer and travel journalist Brigid Benson.Brigid Benson





Main picture (top): Yorkshire Sculpture Park (see 8, below).

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