A wonderful museum that surprised me very much!
I read about it in my travel guide and decided to go. The museum is located on the east cliff, a beautiful location overlooking the ocean. In the front there is a small, lovely garden, and the house looks very interesting. It looked quite small, though, so when I entered and walked around, I was very surprised to see how large it actually was, with many halls and rooms!
I loved it very much and spent a lot of time here, just walking around and taking everything in. The house was built by Sir Merton Russell-Cotes and his wife, Lady Annie Russel-Cotes. In his early years he travelled around the world and lived in Buenos Aires for a while. When he returned to England, he suffered from ill health and was advised to move to the south of England. In 1901, Sir Merton gave East Cliff Hall as a present to his wife, a new building constructed in mixed style of the Italian renaissance and historical Scottish style.
The house served to entertain guests, but also as a home to the large collection of things that the couple brought to Bournemouth from their travels around the world. They were lovers of art and brought home many pictures, statues and artifacts from their trips to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, America and Scandinavia. They also went to auctions all over the UK and bought more things there. Already in 1907, they gave the house to the town of Bournemouth as a present, but continued to live there until they died. Subsequently, East Cliff Hall was turned into an art gallery and museum.
It is a really wonderful museum, because you get to see the interesting and beautiful things that Sir Merton and his wife collected, plus the stunning building itself. The architecture is just superb, with beautiful hall ways and dining rooms, a moorish alcove, a boudoir and so much more. To see such a unique collection within such wonderful surroundings was a truly special experience.
The museum also has a very good shop where I purchased a book about Bournemouth's history.
Admission fee: £5 adults, £4 children, £15 family
Opening times: 10.00am to 05.00pm daily, closed on mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays
My guide book sent me in this direction. “A must see, even on the sunniest day...” according to the Guardian newspaper.
It’s charming, interesting and great value at £5.
I’ll add the link to its website so you can get all the information for yourself, but in essence, a local hotel owner built it as a birthday present for his wife in 1901. It houses their remarkable art collection, and has amazing views of the coast.
Highlight for me was Rosetti’s Venus Verticordia.
I enjoyed the coffee shop as well.
All in all, highly recommended.