Six of the best sculpture parks to visit around Britain

A landscape full of sculpture is always a great experience; Carla Passino picks out some of the most extraordinary sculpture parks in Britain.

1. Compton Verney Sculpture Park, Warwickshire

Having established a reputation as one of the most interesting regional exhibition spaces, Compton Verney in Warwickshire has now opened a sculpture park. Set in 120 acres designed by Capability Brown are works by eight modern and contemporary artists: Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Sarah Lucas, Permindar Kaur, Erika Verzutti, Larry Achiampong, Augustas Serapinas and Nicholas Deshayes, whose Fountains rise like lumpy water faeries from a basin.

Fountains by Nicholas Deshayes at Compton Verney Sculpture Park.

2. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, West Yorkshire

Europe’s largest park of its kind pairs site-specific commissions and temporary exhibitions—currently including Damien Hirst’s disturbing The Virgin Mother, which partly displays the entrails of a pregnant woman.

A rabbit sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

3. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, Cornwall

Managed by Tate, this is a great place to explore the art and life of one of Britain’s earliest abstract sculptors.

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The Sculpture garden by Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) at St Ives, Cornwall.

4. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Coleford, Gloucestershire

The works along this nearly five-mile trail are often at one with the wood, but sometimes create the illusion of a different place, as with Kevin Atherton’s 1986 Cathedral, a stained-glass piece hanging among the branches.

5. Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, Norfolk

The 350 acres around Norman Foster’s art centre are peppered with sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink and Antony Gormley, whose cast-iron men, Another Time II and VIII, survey the grounds from the university’s rooftops.

Henry Moore’s sculpture of draped reclining woman (1957-58) outside Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the University of East Anglia campus, Norwich.

6. The Sculpture Park, Churt, Surrey

Walking through the gates in this remote corner of Surrey between Farnham and Haslemere you might be expecting little. But we’d place a bet that you will come away bowled over after wandering through what feels like miles of winding woodland paths peppered with bronze gorillas and mirror-shiny steel bridges spanning lakes and streams.

The Sculpture Park, Churt

The Sculpture Park, Churt.

The 600+ sculptures are all for sale – this is effectively an art gallery in the open – and include everything from faux ruins and disembodied heads to glittering signs and plastic seats. It really is well worth a visit – make sure to allot yourself a good couple of hours if you have even a passing interest in such curios; if you’re an art enthusiast, you could probably spend all day here.