- Arts and Design
Broomhill Art Hotel sculpture garden
The Sculpture Garden at Broomhill Art Hotel
While staying in North Devon, a visit to Broomhill Art Hotel's beautiful sculpture garden was high priority. We'd been to the garden several years ago, and had fond memories. This was a chance to see what changes had taken place in the meantime.
Around 95% of the exhibits seemed to have changed. The viewing grounds have extended, and the number of sculptures is incredible. Many have to be seen in situ to appreciate their presence. I don't claim to like every item, but do enjoy the variety on offer.
Some exhibits are for sale, price on application. Commissions are taken by many artists who have items on display. There are a number of distinctive styles throughout the garden, surely with something to suit all tastes.
Lunch at the hotel
The hotel's Terra Madre restaurant offered a good selection of meals, using locally sourced produce. We sat on the sunny terrace outside to enjoy our lunch. It was easy to see how they have won North Devon Good Food Awards five times.
The atmosphere was relaxing, making a good start to our visit.
There is a car park around 200 yards from the hotel, the driveway is on an upward slope, with a fairly steep incline. Disabled parking is available higher up.
The grounds of the hotel are hilly, with some narrow, winding paths through the trees.
Once you leave the lawned area, expect to watch your feet. People with limited mobility would have a problem accessing all the grounds.
I currently have a knee problem, but with so many interesting things to see, a slow pace is appropriate. One run of deep steps was difficult, but on other sections I could take an alternative route, avoiding steps.
Visitors can view the hotel's well presented art gallery free of charge. We then paid £4.50 per adult (2013) entrance to the gardens. Considering the numerous exhibits, this seems good value. We spent around ninety minutes wandering through the impressive grounds, finding interest at every turn.
Unfortunately it started to rain towards the end of the trail, so we didn't spend as long there as we may otherwise have done. I'd foolishly left my umbrella in the car.
While the trees provided some cover, it would be useful if there were a few shelters throughout the grounds.
Seeing so many works of art made me start to look at everything in a new light. Even the benches, rocks and trees seemed worthy of closer inspection. Some of the metallic sculptures may have been less striking in urban settings. Here, they contrast wonderfully with nature.
The gardens are a popular attraction, though as the grounds are spacious, it didn't feel crowded. We often had a whole section of garden to ourselves.
A party of school children were excitedly enjoying the experience. It was lovely to see their enthusiasm.
The last section of the grounds took us back to beside the car park. As it was raining by this time, we were disappointed to find we should back-track part way up the hill to exit. I followed my husband in an ungainly squeeze through some fencing to reach the car, while our son was happy to jog back on the official route - possibly to avoid being embarrassed by his parents!
We found the sculpture garden at Broomhill Art Hotel great value for money, a relaxing and enjoyable excursion. Staff are helpful and welcoming. The grounds offer freedom to wander and explore, though, due to the hilly terrain, are not suitable for everyone to access fully.
Comfortable footwear is a must if you plan on touring the garden. You'll be on your feet for some time, covering uneven ground.
It was a real pleasure to investigate the area, discovering impressive works of art. I'd certainly want to visit again when we're next in the region.