Henry Moore’s bronze Sheep Piece 1971-72 at Perry Green. © The Henry Moore Foundation
If you’re still feeling that your world has shrunk a little too much since having kids, the summer months are a great excuse to venture further afield, with a reduced rush hour, no school run traffic and (hopefully) more hands on deck. Here are 5 family day trips from London with fantastic arts appeal:
1. Explore Henry Moore’s giant sculptures in the open countryside
Henry Moore was an early pioneer of modernism and large-scale public art in the UK and a visit to his former home in Perry Green, Herfordshire offers the chance to be dwarfed by over 20 of his monumental sculptures in the setting that he always intended. Kids will love exploring the 70 acres of sheep-filled gardens and fields, as well as curious barn-based galleries and studios.
The Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, SG10 6EE
Sculpture garden’s open Weds-Sun & Bank Holidays, 11am-5pm, 1st May to 25th Oct 2015, admission £15.70 for a family of 4
2. Visit an artist’s enclave with a difference in Dungeness
This other-worldly outpost on the Kent coast has so much for visiting families; a historic lighthouse with panoramic views, a ride on the small and rickety Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and incredible bird life but curious beachcombers will love treading the delicate pathways to marvel at the curious collection of flotsam and jetsam in the garden surrounding late filmmaker Derek Jarman’s house. Particularly if fish and chips at The Pilot pub lie at the end.
Prospect Cottage, Dungeness, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 9NB
Lighthouse open daily throughout August, 10:30am-4:30pm, admission adults £4, children £2.50, under 5s free
Children in Mottisfont’s plane tree (c) Lauren Child
3. See how Charlie & Lola started life at Mottisfont house and gallery
It’s never cheap visiting any of the magnificent National Trust properties that grace our home counties, but Mottisfont is proving a big draw this summer with an opportunity to explore The Art of Lauren Child. The award-winning creator of Charlie and Lola will be exhibiting 50 original art works in the gallery of this stunning medieval riverside property, alongside other objects that helped inspire the stories, such as Lola’s pink milk glass. Activity weekends extend the theme with craft activities, storytelling and face painting. Outside in the grounds, kids can also try their hand at building a den in the hidden hide out of the Wild Play Trail.
Mottisfont, Hampshire SO51 0LP
The Art of Laurent Child until 6th Sept. Gallery open daily throughout August, 11am-5pm, admission adults£14, children £6.50, National Trust members and under 5s free
Music mural at Prince Albert pub, Brighton
4. Seek out hidden street art in Brighton
You don’t need many excuses to jump on a train to Brighton with the kids this summer. Since the development of the amazing seafront boardwalk scattered with artisan stalls and loved by kids of all ages, from roller-skating teens to scooting pre schoolers and bumbling toddlers, Brighton has started to feel like the UK’s answer to Venice Beach. But who’d have though just a few metres back from the seafront, hidden in a the sneaky side streets off of Trafalgar Road, as well as between George Street and St. Andrews Churchyard, and North Laine would be Brighton’s answer to San Francisco’s Mission district? Street art in Brighton really brings to life a different side of the city’s arts community. Be sure to see the incredible music mural on the side of the Prince Albert pub. The kids might not recognise most of the subjects but that didn’t make it any less impressive.
Street art is free to view by all ages, all over the city of Brighton, but Visit Brighton’s top picks is a great place to start.
5. Re-imagine a theme park as a Pleasure Park at Dreamland
Following a 12 year campaign led by The Dreamland Trust and £18m in public funding, the once popular theme park is back from the dead having been stylishly restored under the watchful eye of internationally renowned designer and local resident Wayne Hemingway. Rather than simply create just another theme park, Dreamland pays homage to the golden age of British seaside holidays by recreating the entire experience; right through to the sights, the sounds and the smells. The result is a visual feast; carousels adorned in original traveller art, lovingly restored rides and amusements (including the famous Hurricane Jets), a ballroom, a roller disco and a plethora of sideshows. It needs to be seen to be believed.
Dreamland, 49-51 Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XJ
Daily, 10am-5pm, admission adults £17.95 adults, children £14.95. Reduced admission Thurs to Sun after 5pm.