Art in Bournemouth
- No fly
- Half board
An exploration of fine art...
Lose yourself in the brush strokes of the renaissance, the thought-provoking simplicity of formalism and the documentarian nature that often accompanies photography. This four-night art appreciation holiday invites you to visit some of Dorset’s, Hampshire’s and, indeed, the UK’s most impressive galleries and museums.
Staying at the Hermitage Hotel (4Q), you will be accompanied by an art expert, someone who can help you to navigate through the world of fine art, from the Renaissance through to the present day. During your stay, enjoy three talks provided by your host to help you engage with what you are seeing each day.
All breakfasts (B) and dinners (D)
- Cancellation rights
- Expert host talks
- Hosted welcome drinks reception
- Three talks delivered by your expert host
- Free Wi-Fi
- Hotel porterage
Included excursions and visits
- Three full-day visits to galleries
The Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK BH2 5AH
The 4-star Hermitage Hotel occupies one of the best hotel locations in Bournemouth, directly in front of the iconic pier.
All 76 traditional bedrooms have a flat-screen television, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and free Wi-Fi. Saga guests stay in standard rooms with inland views (upgrades to sea view, superior, superior sea view and suites available on request). The hotel has a lift, and some rooms are located on the ground floor.
Tea coffee making facilities
Food and Drink
All meals will be served in the hotel's Hardy’s Restaurant, awarded an AA Rosette and using local and sustainable ingredients. The NEO restaurant (a la carte and at an additional charge) features a modern lounge bar serving over 40 gins and with an extensive cocktail menu.
A la carte restaurant
Bournemouth is located on a coastline of outstanding natural beauty and features fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings, including Langtry Manor House built by Edward VII for his mistress Lillie Langtry.
The town has many museums, perhaps the most striking of which is The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in nearby East Cliff. Set in an unusual Victorian garden, it exhibits a fantastic display of pictures, 17th to 20th-century oil paintings, oriental treasures and furniture.
Bournemouth also has 2,000 acres of parks and gardens and you can stroll from the town centre to the seafront through the Central and Lower Gardens without crossing a single road!
The New Forest, rolling Dorset hills and stunning Jurassic Coast are also only a short distance away. There's the pretty Boscombe area with its pier, Victorian arcade, antiques market, beautiful parks and fine sandy beaches; the tranquil seafront of Southbourne that boasts a splendid sandy beach and Christchurch – five miles away – is a charming town with a magnificent 11th-century Priory Church.
The area's other attractions include the country estate of Kingston Lacy and the scenic remains of Corfe Castle.
From the A31 turn into the A338 (Wessex Way) following directions to Bournemouth for about eight miles. At the Bournemouth West roundabout take the first left onto Cambridge Road. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto Commercial Road which then becomes Terrace Road and Exeter Road. Proceed to the next roundabout and continue on the B3066 towards the seafront. Your hotel is situated a short distance along on the left hand side. There is a free car park at the hotel subject to availability.
If you have arranged rail travel through Saga you will receive tickets to Bournemouth railway station. Transfers to and from the hotel are not included – it is about two miles from the hotel and easily reached by taxi or by using the local bus services (bus numbers M1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 pass close to the hotel). Your Saga host will meet you on arrival at the hotel.
The nearest National Express drop off point is the coach terminus, right next to Bournemouth railway station at the Travel Interchange. Details of coach services can be obtained by phoning 08705 808080 or you can visit their website for up-to-date timetables and bookings.
A taxi to the hotel should cost around £6. If you wish to pre-book a taxi, the hotel recommends PRC Streamline Warren taxis, telephone: 01202 373737. PRC Streamline Warren are not associated with Saga; any contract is between you and them, and all queries about their service must be referred directly to them.
Day 1 Arrival
Upon arrival at the Hermitage Hotel (4Q), enjoy a welcome drink and sit down to a meal with your fellow guests. Perhaps your conversation will be drawn towards the galleries that you will be visiting over the coming days. It may feature terms such as ‘fine art’, ‘formalism’, ‘surrealism’ and might make mention of the 18th century, a glorious time for British portraiture. Your expert host will then provide a talk, accompanied by a presentation, to introduce you to your itinerary in further detail. D
Day 2 St Barbe and ArtSway
Breakfast is served at the hotel, followed by a visit to St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery. You will perhaps be captivated by the photographic archive that provides a history of the area, before making your own arrangements for lunch.
Your afternoon is spent at the ArtSway Gallery and in the evening, you can look forward to an evening talk, discussing the following day’s visits in more detail. B, D
Day 3 City Art and John Hansard Galleries
Boasting an extensive and diverse collection of fine art, the Southampton City Art Gallery is the focus of your attention this morning. Stroll through its galleries and lose yourself in the array of European works before free time to purchase lunch.
In the afternoon, you are invited to visit the John Hansard Gallery, part of Southampton University and a leading collection of contemporary art. Aided by a projector and screen, your hosts will outline and explain in further detail your itinerary for day four. B, D
Day 4 Russell-Cotes and Red House Museums
Spend the morning at the Russell-Cotes Museum, taking a peak behind the curtain of a Victorian collector. It is a wondrous building showcasing a variety of sculptures, canvas works and artefacts picked up during Merton and Annie’s travels.
The final museum and gallery to explore on your special interest holiday is the Red House Museum and Garden, telling the story of Christchurch and the local area from before the ice age to modern times. It is a charming building and showcases a collection of local artworks. The evening, following dinner, is spent with your hosts, who will offer a question and answer session for those who are interested. It is certainly a suitable and personal end to your trip. B, D
Day 5 Farewell
Depart the hotel and make your way, perhaps inspired to take up a paintbrush or sculpting knife for yourself. B
St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery
Located in the heart of Lymington, you are invited to explore the history of this old market town and the New Forest coastline, as told by artefacts and archaeology. In the Rathbones Art Gallery, exhibitions are held regularly, supported by institutions such as Tate, V&A, the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum.
Founded in 1997, ArtSway aims to showcase a captivating programme of contemporary visual art in the New Forest.
Southampton City Art Gallery
More than 5,000 works of fine art are showcased at the Southampton City Art Gallery, telling the story of European art from the Renaissance (meaning ‘Rebirth’) through to the present day. Awarded ‘Designated’ status by the Arts Council England, the gallery’s collection spans almost eight centuries. Highlights include ‘St Jerome’, painted by Cesare Da Sesto in the 16th century, and a collection of French 19th century paintings which take an active interest in naturalism.
John Hansard Gallery
Supported by Southampton University, the John Hansard Gallery is one of the UK’s leading contemporary art galleries, aiming to ‘create extraordinary encounters with great art that inspire people and the community to change the world for the better.’ It is a gallery with a conscience, locally engaged with international recognition.
Few places offer a better window into the life of an avid Victorian collector than the Russell-Cotes Museum. The building, located on Bournemouth’s East Cliff was built at the turn of the 20th century and given by Merton Russell-Cotes as a gift to his wife Annie. The gardens through which visitors arrive features a Japanese garden - complete with goldfish ponds - a stone grotto, sculptures, fountains and bridges. Inside, you will be met by a grand domed staircase leading to rooms and galleries that showcase artworks and artefacts picked up on the couple’s travels and bought from collectors. It is often the highlight for many visitors to Bournemouth and is a joy to explore.
Red House Museum and Gardens
For the story of Christchurch, from before the ice age to modern times, look no further than this museum and gallery housed within a Georgian workhouse and neighboured by pretty gardens. Its name is owed to the building’s bricks, their red constitution owed to the iron in their mineral composition, and inside you can discover the story of Iron Age Dwellers living on Hengistbury Head and stroll through the Victorian gallery before exploring the modest herb garden and ‘South Garden’.