If you have a love of art and food, I can highly recommend a visit to the Broomhill Art Hotel & Sculpture Park on the outskirts of Barnstable in North Devon. We had no idea about its existence before our trip. I spotted a brown tourist sign as we were driving around Woolacombe and was intrigued to find out more.
An award-winning restaurant in a stylish hotel which just happens to have a contemporary art gallery attached plus over 300 sculptures in 12 acres of gorgeous woodland gardens: this ticks all the boxes for an excellent day out.
The hotel is home to the Broomhill Art & Sculpture Foundation which launched an annual sculpture prize in 2009 for emerging UK based sculptors. The final ten works each year can be viewed in the gardens and the public can vote for their favourite. Many winners and finalists from previous years, together with work from many other artists, can be seen in the park which is, quite simply, a stunning location for a huge range of contemporary art.
The dining experience is described as ‘Simply cooking – the art of dining with a slow cooked Mediterranean twist.’ We decided to pre-book a three-course lunch, priced at £16.95, which was staggeringly good value for money as that included free entry into the sculpture park which would normally cost £4.50.
Timing it perfectly, we spent the most blissful hour or so wandering around the sculptures; some weird, most wonderful, before sitting in the light, airy, restaurant to tuck into dishes such as beetroot cured salmon, spiced venison casserole and panna cotta with berry compote. There was also an excellent selection of vegan dishes available. The hotel provides an extensive High Tea which also includes a complimentary garden visit. Bar meals, including their famous tapas dishes, are also on offer plus a dinner menu and frequent jazz evenings. Photos of the bedrooms look pretty smart too.
I can wax lyrical about this place at length but the photos below will do the job far better than me. If you want to see a 15ft red shoe or an oversized china tea-cup wedged in the grass, a visit to Broomhill Art Hotel is a must.