Lockdown may have limited our indoor cultural fixes, but sculpture parks have come into their own. A fair few of the Parks usually close in the Winter (a great pity in our view) but this year some of those have remained open to give us a much-needed opportunity to exercise physically and mentally.
Henry Moore Studios and Gardens at Perry Green near Much Hadham, Hertfordshire is a gem. With everyone's mental health in mind, it has reopened for the winter weekends before Christmas (booking is essential). Moore's bronze sculptures really belong outside and look all the more spectacular among the autumn leaves. Twenty plus sculptures are dotted in the 70 acres of gardens and fields surrounding his former house. The bronze Large Reclining Figure lounging on the horizon flocked by sheep (straight out of his drawings) is a sight to behold. I would urge you to return again between March and October when Hoglands (Moore's house) is open. During Lockdown there were limited refreshments available but at other times there is a a cafe and a very good pub (the Hoops Inn) a stone's throw away in the village. The only slight downer for some is the no dog rule.
In case you’re near – or to put on your list for post-pandemic trips – here are the other must-go sculpture parks on our Art Alfresco A list:
New Art Centre, Roche Court, Wiltshire, near Salisbury. Sculpture park and gallery – extended winter opening times. Craig-Martins, Caros and Flanagans. All artwork for sale so ever-changing. The Artist's House can be viewed by appointment. Free entry – donation requested.
Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park, UEA, Norwich – open all year round – 350 acres around a lake – great for dog walking – Gormley, Moore, Chadwick, Frink to name but a few of the biggies. Excellent map link. Free entry to sculpture park.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Lockdown extended winter opening times for open-air gallery (inside spaces closed) – tickets required – the creme de la creme: Moore, Paolozzi, Hepworth et al.
1 December 2020