It’s a seventh heaven for art lovers, says Suzy Powell, asÂ year seven of Jupiter Artland comes underway, with, as always, new additions to the stable.
For those who have not yet discovered this unique al fresco art gallery just outside Edinburgh, you are in for a treat.
Whether you enjoy quirky art, or are looking for a way to entertain the grandchildren, Jupiter Artland has all the ingredients of a wonderfulÂ family day out â€“ space for the kids to run and explore, animals within patting distance and mouth-watering food.
Nicky and Robert Wilson opened the gates to their Midlothian house seven years ago, turning it into a sculpture park with the tagline â€œcontemporary art orbiting Edinburghâ€.
And this year, for the first time, visitors will be able see inside their 17th century former hunting lodge as The Ballroom hosts New York-based artist Tara Donovan, showing her first large-scale solo exhibition in the UK.
Other new arrives include a permanent commission by Glasgow School of Art graduate, sculptor Sara Barker, and works by established and emerging international and Scottish artists: Mika Rottenberg (whose dancing ponytails show how serious art doesnâ€™t have to be po-faced), Edwin Burdis, Samara Scott and Lauren Gault.
Original artwork by renowned artists including Andy Goldsworthy and Ian Hamilton Finlay also feature. Each piece has been designed for a location specially chosen by the artist, some blending into the natural environment, and others (such as love-it-or-hate-it Love Bomb) in stark contrast to the rolling Midlothian countryside.
Visitors can follow a treasure-hunt style map to explore the â€œgarden of discoveryâ€. Audio guides and an app are also available for those looking for more in-depth information about the artists, artworks and gardens.
How visitors follow the trail is up to them â€“ it loops in a figure of eight through stunning scenery, including views of the Forth Rail and road bridges from Antony Gormleyâ€™s Firmament.
Completing the trail takes around 1.5 hours, allowing for plenty of stops to study the artworks and pat the donkeys.
At the end (or earlier if you canâ€™t resist) a pit stop at the funky silver caravan to order refreshments is a must.
The Wilsons have shared the 100-acre grounds around Bonnington House with paying visitors, and a mini menagerie, including donkeys, ponies, llamas, chickens and a pig, all within patting distance, so when the kids have tired of you â€œooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the art, their flagging interest is revived.
Children are well catered for, if you plan your visit. Fun Fridays art lessons take place during the summer holidays, and new this year are Create and Make drop in sessions, which are shorter, and at Â£2.50 an hour, less of a dent on the wallet. Family creative sessions have been introduced this year with den building and photo animation workshops sure to be favourites.
Free activities include the Arthut, conveniently situated by the cafe, and kids go free 23-26 July.
Jupiter Artland is open Thursdays to Sundays until 27 September, every day in July and August, and on Monday, 31 August. Adults Â£8.50, OAPs Â£6, children (6-16) Â£4.50 and under 6s free.
More information: www.jupiterartland.org
This feature updates Suzy’s original on Jupiter Artland, first published last yearÂ on 14/06/14