A Visitor’s Guide to Russell Cotes Art Museum and Gallery

If you’re visiting Bournemouth you don’t want to miss the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. The museum not only features a timeless collection of masterworks and special exhibitions, but is a historic building of architectural heritage in and of itself, dating back to 1897. See the photo the the right. Just beautiful isn’t it!

Originally commissioned by Sir Merton Russell Cotes, a former mayor of Bournemouth and designed by the renowned architect John Frederick Fogerty, the building is designed in the Celtic inspired Art-Noveau style, which preceded and partly inspired Art-Deco in the 20th century. Russell-Cotes is also historically exceptional in that it was originally designed with art-exhibition in mind, making it one of the few art museums housed in an a heritage site designed for the purpose that still exhibits many of the original period works its collection.

Sir Russell-Cotes was a strong supporter of female artists of the time, and the museum’s original collection reflects this with portraits by Lady Violet Manners, including a portrait of the famed author and poet Rudyard Kipling, paintings by the pioneering Swiss Neoclassical artist Angelica Kauffmann and sculptures by Lady Kennett Kathleen Shaw.

The founding collection also includes 173 works by Edwin Landseer, known for his animal portraits, historical scenes and sculptures. Particularly noteworthy is his 1860 painting Highland Flood’ which depicts a biblically suggestive gathering of people and animals taking shelter on a cottage roof from a devastating flood in the Scottish Highlands.

After the second world war, the museum acquired Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s masterpiece Venus of Venticordia. Russell-Cotes art museum also has Albert Moore’s renowned pre-Raphaelite work Midsummer on display.

The founding collections reflect Merton Russel-Cotes’ personal tastes, which were strongly traditional and classical. On their travels across the world, Russell-Coates and his wife acquired many local paintings and artifacts including an extensive collection of Japanese Noh masks and ceremonial shrines which are also on display throughout the museum.

They were not supporters of the impressionist movement and no such works were collected by him personally. However, the collections were subsequently expanded to include contemporary art from the post war era and beyond, with an emphasis on local artists from the Bournemouth area, most notably Leslie Moffatt-Ward and his painting A Dorset Landscape, influenced by the Bloomsbury Group, a progressive early 20th century collective that included Roger Fry, who was influenced by post-impressionism.

If you feel daunted by the sprawling collection, there are free guided tours available. There is also a constant rotation of exhibitions, workshops and tours.

Those with a love for plants and ornamental gardening will also appreciate the beautiful lawns, ponds and Japanese-inspired garden outside.

Russell-Cotes Art Museum and Gallery is located at East Cliff promenade, Bournemouth, a five minute walk from the city center, and a 20 minute drive from the airport.

After you visit the Russell Cotes Art Museum and Gallery by not relax at Bournemouth Beach? You’re practically right there anyway!

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Bournemouth Oceanarium – A Fun Day Out!

One of the most famous aquarium’s in the UK is the Bournemouth Oceanarium. It is located right on the beach in Bournemouth so it’s not something you can miss if you doing a beach day!. It is a popular tourist attraction for locals and foreigners with a beautiful s view into life under the sea. The aquarium is full of entertaining activities as well as the most beautiful sea creatures.

Types of Sea Life

Bournemouth Oceanarium is home to countless sea creatures. While here you will have real encounters with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, dwarf crocodiles, and the beautiful clownfish. This is just to name a few. Obviously weather is not a problem so you can visit year round.

If you have never seen a penguin up close then they also found at the Bournemouth aquarium. They are very friendly and playful. You can even attend the penguin feeding session that runs daily.

The other creatures you may encounter are zebra sharks, turtles, red devil eels, Cownose rays, bream, Guitarfish, piranha, upside-down catfish, green sea turtles and southern stingrays.

Otter Oasis is a special section setup just for otters. The kids will over this and when yo are done and need a break why not drop the kids off at the Kids Play Zone and sip on a coffee outside with a beautiful view of the beach.

Once you are done with you coffee one last pat of the Bournemouth Oceanarium you must visit is Crocodile Rocks to see some crocodiles. The kids will love it!

Interactive Cage Diving

Something you might want to do at the Oceanarium is an interactive cage dive. A first of it’s kind globally! If water is not your thing and you want to stay dry then this is for you!

You’ll be submerged in an interactive experience with up to the 270 degrees virtual cage diving views. You are surrounded by three 50 inch plasma touch screen that you can tap to see more information about the sea creatures that are swimming by you.

You see sharks, dolphins, manta rays in your interactive experience among many more wonders of the deep! This technology also features a fantastic encounter with a Blue Whale that happens to… What does it do? Well you’ll just have to find out yourself by actually going to Bournemouth Oceanarium.

A perfect experience for the kids!

Getting to Bournemouth Oceanarium

Head to the beach. It’s that simple. Bournemouth Oceanarium is right in the middle of Bournemouth Beach.

If you need to head to our offices after your visit at the aquarium it’s easy to get back to us. Use the driving directions below. Done reading? Head back to our homepage.

Up next is Lower Gardens. Why not visit the park as it’s right next to the Oceanarium anyhow!

Science Buff? Why not checkout the Bournemouth Natural Science Society

In the midst of Bournemouth is a hidden gem loved by everyone who discovers it. Don’t be fooled thinking that it’s just another sleepy little seaside village, this bustling town is filled to the brim with fun and exciting activities for the whole family. Especially science buffs!

The seaside resort is lined by beautiful Victorian houses, so it is easy to think that the Bournemouth Natural Science Society building is just one of them. The building itself is eye-catching, though, with its size and unique green-colored linings as seen in the photo to the left. This perky-looking house actually holds a museum, a library, and several lecture halls used to promote appreciation of the natural sciences and history.

Fossils & a Mummy!

There are different rooms for each branch of natural science. Each room is filled with a vast collection of the finest specimens from ancient times to the present. The museum houses pieces of fossils from dinosaurs, mammoths, extinct insects, seashells, and more. There are also mounts of taxidermy of rare and unusual-looking animals.

Among the most interesting rooms in the building is the Egyptology room. Where there are an actual mummy. No not the one from the movie but an actual Egyptian mummy still in its sarcophagus! And there is also a lot of significant pieces in Egyptian history. This is a sight that not many people get to see in their lives. Imagine going back 2,500 years and thinking about life in those days as you see a real life mummy.

Every room is the museum is filled with drawers and shelves of specimens, making it very exciting for visitors to just open the cases, find surprises, and learn about them through the guides.

Living Insects

There is also a room dedicated to living insects, where visitors, even children, can hold all sorts of bugs. This, of course, is supervised by an in-house entomologist who shares information about the insects and how to properly handle them.

The Volunteer Experience

Truly, the collections in the museum is fascinating! But the very enthusiastic volunteers in the rooms make the visit a hundred times better. It is very different from other museum visits wherein everything is static and you merely have to read brief descriptions of the artifacts.

Since most of the volunteers are members of the Society, they know a lot about the specimens and are very helpful in explaining each and every one of them. The staff is approachable, friendly, and patient, making the discussions very interactive. Because of the interesting displays and discussions, visitors usually get carried away and spend more than two hours in the museum.

Special Events

On some days, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society conducts illustrated talks, exhibitions, field meetings, and field trips, which are open to anyone interested to learn more about the natural sciences and history. Since it is a project out of the members love for the natural sciences, entrance to the museum and the lectures are free.

So make sure Bournemouth Natural Science Society building on your to do lists and allow yourself to get lost in the beauty of science and history!

There are no restaurants or food shops in the building, though, but you can request fresh biscuits, coffee, or tea, and the staff will be happy to serve them for a minimal fee.

Getting to the Bournemouth Natural Science Society

In the day and age we live in you can just pull up Google Maps on your phone and you’ll get your directions!

If you like society and science then the Russell Cotes Art Museum and Gallery might be right up your alley also. Head over there now to read up on what you might want to make an afternoon visit after you spend some time at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society in the morning.

Need to head to our office? Well, below is how you get back to us. If you want to read more about what we do as a company click here to head back to our home page.