Jupiter Artland

Located just 10 miles outside of Edinburgh, Jupiter Artland is an outdoor art park and gallery. Set within the picturesque grounds of Bonnington House, the gardens and woodland are full of sculptures and artworks by leading sculptors and land artists.

The first thing you’ll notice when you head into Jupiter Artland, before you even get to the car park, are the sculpted hills and ponds that rise up in front of you as you emerge from the trees. These are a work by architect Charles Jencks, entitled ‘Cells of Life’, inspired by cells and cell division, by patterns seen through a microscope, and by prehistoric landforms.

The swirling green grass paths lead you to the top of the mounds. There are 8 of these stepped hills in total and they are interspersed with 4 ponds. There are resident swans and a lot of insect life in the ponds, great for little ones to see what they can spot. Kids will love to play on the hills too, running in spirals up to the top and attempting shortcuts on the way back down again.

A short walk round to the steadings will find you amongst beautiful stone farm buildings, which have been transformed into a cafe, galleries and a gift shop. To get to the woodlands you head through the gift shop where you’ll get a map when you pay entry.

The woodlands at Jupiter Artland are beautiful and you’ll find sculptures and artworks of all materials, shapes and sizes scattered throughout. The huge metal Firmament sculpture by Antony Gormley looks like a giant headless human from afar. But you can get right up close and touch it (or lick the rain off it if you’re my toddler) which kids will love.

There’s a giant gun, a temple of apollo, a giant spiders web, some weeping girl sculptures (which totally freaked one of my kids out), beehives, a cage encasing a black hole disappearing into the ground, a bridge, a stone house with the ground excavated… Those are only the ones I can remember.

There are also several temporary exhibits that change each year. The first time we went one of these was a popcorn machine which over the months it had been there had gradually been filling the huge room it was housed in. My 1 year old sat in the middle of the pile and ate popcorn while my 4 year old dived around in it. They still call it the popcorn place even though it was only there that first year.

This is a place we’ve been quite a few times over the past couple of years and there is so much to see and explore at Jupiter Artland. The kids love following the map to find all of the artworks on the way through the woodland. The kids have also done some of the holiday clubs at Jupiter Artland (which I’d highly recommend) while I get to wander around the gardens and woodland. It is one of the most peaceful places I’ve visited.

The Cafe

Picnics aren’t permitted at Jupiter Artland so unless you avoid lunchtime you have to eat in the cafe or at the takeaway truck. I’ve only ever had tea from them so I can’t comment on the food.

The Logistics

  • Jupiter Artland is easy to get around with a buggy. You just have to leave it at the bottom of the hills while you follow your kids up them!
  • Parking is available at Jupiter Artland and there’s plenty of it.
  • As previously mentioned, picnics aren’t permitted at Jupiter Artland. I have however taken snacks for the kids along with us in the past with no issue.
  • Jupiter Artland is not open all year round. It is usually open during spring and summer. Check their website for more information.

The Cost

Entry to Jupiter Artland costs £9 for adults, £5 for kids and is free for under 3’s. Concessions and family tickets are also available.

The Verdict

We love a trip to Jupiter Artland. There is a lot to explore here, and a play on the hills is a must. Visit the donkeys and wander round the woods in your own time to see all the sculptures. Great day out for everyone!

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