Visiting Jupiter Artland is truly an unforgettable experience. As you enter the sculpture park it’s as if you’ve discovered a wormhole and have been transported to another planet. Every day norms are left behind and in their place are art installations which capture the imagination. The entry road gives you a taste of what’s to come by leading you past Charles Jencks’ ‘Cells of Life’ installation which has reimagined the landscape, Marc Quinn’s 12-metre-high installation ‘Love Bomb’, and a sign by Peter Liversidge that points upwards stating ‘Jupiter – 893 million to 964 million kilometres’. You’ll also pass Bonnington House, a grand Jacobean manor house dating back to 1622, which is now the Wilson family home. The building is off-limits to visitors but its Ballroom is one of their indoor gallery spaces and often hosts seasonal exhibitions.
To start your exploration of Jupiter Artland, you’ll want to make your way to the Steadings where you’ll find the entrance, gift shop, and Café Party – a colourful and whimsical café designed by Swiss artist Nicolas Party which is currently closed but keep an eye out on their website for more details. Just before you set off on your self-guided tour, you’ll be provided with a beautiful map detailing the locations of the art installations. The trail takes around an hour and a half but it’s completely up to you which route you take and how long you choose to stay. The entrance door to the trail can be found in the gift shop and once you pass through it, a woodland path lies straight ahead of you. I distinctly remember being engulfed by trees and surrounded by the peaceful sounds of nature then suddenly catching a glimpse of an installation peeping through the trees enticing me further in. I don’t want to give too much away as it’s a place best experienced first-hand but there are over 30 permanent and unique site-specific sculptures to discover. As you make your way around the vast grounds, don’t forget to appreciate the views which stretch out toward the Pentlands, the iconic Three Bridges over the Firth of Forth and the Ochil Hills.
If you’re planning a visit, I’d recommend booking your tickets online and double-checking when their open season is.
How to visit from Edinburgh’s city centre? There are various ways to reach Jupiter Artland, the easiest being by car which takes just under half an hour. There are also two bus services (Number x27 Lothian Country & x23 First Bus) which will drop you a few minutes walk from the entrance of Jupiter Artland. The last option is to take the train from Edinburgh to Kirknewton and hire a taxi.