Britain’s best sculpture gardens and trails

From Cornwall to Northern Ireland, See the unexpected on your next walk in the countryside with our guide to Britain's best sculpture gardens and trails to explore.

United Kingdom, England, Yorkshire, Wakefield, YSP Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Jaume Plensa sculpture

From Cornwall to Northern Ireland, see the unexpected on your next walk with our guide to Britain’s best sculpture gardens and trails to explore. 

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.

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• Open daily. Free entrance.

DFHNPR Sculpture 'Three Jackdaws on a Chimney' by Terence Coventry overlooking the Cornish coast at Coverack

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.

AM7N50 Outdoor garden rabbit sculpture in Hannah Peschar gallery Ockley Surrey England UK
The work on display at the Hannah Peschar garden changes regularly. Picture: Alamy
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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.

BAYRP2 UK Gloucestershire Forest of Dean Sculpture Park Cathedral by Kevin Atherton 1986 suspended stained glass panel
Kevin Atherton’s Cathedral is one of the works on the 4.5 mile Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Picture: Alamy

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.

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

DA8A23 Sculptures in the garden of the Barbara Hepworth museum, St.Ives, Cornwall, UK. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.
Barbara Hepworth’s garden is a peaceful green haven in bustling St Ives. Picture: Alamy

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 sheepfoldscumbria.co.uk for locations of Goldsworthy’s 46 completed sheepfolds.

• Open daily. Entry free.

ANJ9BR Tilberthwaite Glen, Cumbria
Andy Goldsworthy’s Tilbersthwaite Touchstone Fold is near Coniston. Picture: Alamy

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.

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Hannah Bennett’s own ceramic sculptures mingle with work by other artists. Picture: Hannah Bennett
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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.

B4BPYC Lady Hare Sculpture by Sophie Ryder at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bretton, West Yorkshire.. Image shot 09/2008. Exact date unknown.

 

BT34G0 The Sir Antony Gormley art installation Another Place located on Crosby Beach, part of the Sefton Coast, within the Liverpool City Region of the UK
Antony Gormley cast the 100 statues from his own body. Picture: Alamy
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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.

 

CTR8EP Simon O'Rourke's 'The Giant Hand Of Vyrnwy' statue on July 27, 2012 at Lake Vyrnwy, Wales.
Simon O’Rourke’s The Giant Hand Of Vyrnwy Picture: Alamy
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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.

 

CEMYJR Imagine an Island - sandstone sculpture by Louise Walsh at Lough MacNean Upper, near Blacklion, Ireland. Editorial use only.. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

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.