Determined to make the most of a summer holiday free from work, I squeezed in one final trip after our European adventure. After a couple of days to catch up on laundry, I whisked the kids up to Edinburgh for a few days to visit my family and explore more of my favourite places.
I’ve visited the area around Edinburgh every year for my entire life and thought I knew the area really well – but somehow, I’d never been to Jupiter Artland. A contemporary sculpture park just outside the city, Jupiter Artland is home to 35 installations by artists including Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor. We thought we’d drop in for lunch and a quick walk, but we ended up staying for hours! We absolutely loved it, and I’m kicking myself for not visiting sooner.
They were celebrating their tenth birthday this year and we loved the big glittery 10 at the entrance. Set in a cluster of restored farm buildings was a vibrant cafe, gallery space and entrance to the grounds.
We were starving so started our visit with lunch in the cafe. The food was absolutely delicious with hearty stews, soups and incredible looking cakes (we promised ourselves a cake after our walk!). We particularly enjoyed the fun decoration in there (mural by Swiss artist Nicolas Party) – and I must admit, I wanted to steal the gorgeous glassware (promise, I didn’t!)
After lunch, we ventured onto the sculpture trail. I loved how you walked through the ticket office cottage building into a new world, with the rear of the building covered in chrome peeled back to reveal vivid colours (see more of this Jim Lambie installation here – it was beautiful).
Can you spot my little ones in the distorted reflections?!
We followed the trail map around the grounds, letting the children lead the way along the paths. The woodland was so peaceful, with sculptures sitting so naturally amidst the trees.
I don’t know much about sculpture, but it was thrilling to see works by artists that even I have heard of – like this installation by Antony Gormley. We loved the shadows it cast on the floor.
Similarly, we enjoyed the shapes and calming colours of this work by the lake.
We found Laura Ford’s ‘Weeping Girls’ quite spooky as we spotted them in a clearing – we’ve obviously been watching too much Dr Who!
The views from the garden were so beautiful. At one point we could see for miles, right down to the fabulous bridges over the Forth Estuary (in the right hand picture below). And one of my favourite views was the calm, agricultural landscape seen through an intricate web.
Here’s Alex exploring a totally natural installation – the roots of a fallen tree!
He was thrilled to find some installations by Andy Goldsworthy – an artist he’d been studying at school this term! Here’s the gang exploring his Stone House.
It was fascinating to see how some sculptures felt like they had grown out of the forest, and others really contrasted with their environment – like this pair. On the left is Phyllida Barlow’s industrial looking ‘Quarry’ and on the right is Cornelia Parker’s Gun.
I felt like I’d been transported to Brighton’s pavilion when we stumbled upon Pablo Bronstein’s Rose Walk. The flowers will still in bloom and they smelled so good as we walked past.
We all loved the drama of Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone Coppice, trying to figure our how he managed to place the enormous stones! They were dotted all around the woodland.
Sometimes it was difficult to see the installations as you approached them – as we walked down the narrow passage into this one, it was impossible to tell that you’d be taken into a tiny folly covered in purple and white crystals.
They glinted in the sunshine and looked so pretty, we stayed there for ages enjoying the texture and light.
Similarly, as we approached the little, traditional boathouse, we didn’t expect to find it full of water samples from one hundred British rivers! The Thames looked a lot cleaner than the section near us, so I assume the artist took her sample from nearer the source!
There were more surprises in the gallery spaces and walled gardens near the main courtyard. Firstly, an enormous pendant made of plastic knives, forks and spoons!
Sophie loved this one, and spent ages snapping her own pictures of it!
And a huge shoe made of pots and pans!
I love the contrast of the crazy shoe and the traditional farm store behind it! So surreal (as was the ace signpost to Jupiter we passed on our wander)!
While many of the sculptures we saw were set into the landscape – the most dramatic one of all was the landscape. We were all drawn to the amazing ‘Cells of Life’ hills. It took all the willpower we had not to roll down the contours!
Jupiter Artland was absolutely brilliant – we walked for ages, but barely noticed because there was so much to see and experience. We’ll definitely be back again to see how the garden has changed.
It’s closed for the winter now, reopening in May 2019. And I can’t wait!