Broomhill Art Hotel: An Artistic Oasis in North Devon, United Kingdom

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Monday, October 1st, 2012

Exterior view of Broomhill Art Hotel in Barnstaple, Devon, UKThe Broomhill Art Hotel is a late Victorian, six-room hotel that has become southwest England’s most impressive art center. It features hundreds of contemporary sculptures along a trail that meanders through formal gardens and woodlands down to Broomhill pond and river. In addition to the sculpture park, there is an indoor contemporary art gallery and award winning organic restaurant to complete the experience. Broomhill represents the best in intentional art boutique hotel design. Visitors wander through a fully constructed experience of fanciful art.Sculpture at Broomhill Art Museum in Barnstaple, Devon, UK

The sculpture trail winds its way through 10 acres of grounds featuring 300 works by more than 60 internationally acclaimed artists such as Alain Kurylo, Laury Dizengremel, Mike Roles, Pasie Collective, Greta Berlin, Ronald A. Westerhuis, and David Kemp. Now celebrating its 15th year since opening in 1997, the Broomhill Art Hotel is the brainchild of Rinus and Aniet van de Sande, the Dutch owners of the complex. Back in the Netherlands, modern art was hard to come by, but Rinus became a true fan through many visits to the Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, which housed one of Europe’s best contemporary collections. When he and his wife decided they wanted to open a gallery that would include a substantial sculpture collection, they began looking for space outside Holland, which by then was fairly crowded with galleries and sculpture gardens. Having fallen in love with the wooded landscape and coastal scenery of North Devon in England, they stumbled across the rundown Broomhill Hotel just outside Barnstaple and knew they had found the perfect spot.Sculpture at Broomhill Art Museum in Barnstaple, England

After three hectic months of renovating both the hotel and the ten acres of land, the first sculptures arrived and Broomhill opened to the public in June of 1997. The couple establishes close relationships with each and every featured artist, treating each as important as the guests who come to stay and dine at the hotel. Artists are consulted on the placement of their art, and play a role in creating the experience and story of Broomhill as they unfold.Terra Madre restaurant at Broomhill Art Museum in Barnstaple, Devon, UK

From the giant crimson stiletto perched in front of the hotel to the adorable pair of neon-colored woodland birds, there are many visual surprises to find scattered throughout the grounds of the hotel’s picturesque setting. The van de Sandes owned a bakery  in the Netherlands and have turned those skills to good use in the Terra Madre restaurant at the Broomhill Art Hotel. They are fans of slow food, meaning organic and local to the extent possible. From the reviews you can find online, they’ve clearly hit upon a winning combination with art, food and overnight accommodations. The food is as carefully a crafted part of the experience as the art galleries.  Hungry art lovers from around the world will find themselves right at home.Photo of a sculpture at Broomhill Art Museum in Barnstaple, Devon, UKImage sources: guardian.co.uk, petemountain.com, wordpress.com, tripadvisor.com

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