disclosure: we were invited for the purpose of review
From 15th-26th October why not experience something a little different? Yesterday I was invited along to sample just that. The Gaia Earth art installation for all the family to enjoy at Stowe House opens today and it’s really rather beautiful. There’s something calming and awe-inspiring about this encounter, and I’m very glad I got to experience it.
If you’ve ever visited Stowe Landscape Gardens near Buckingham, you will be aware of the 18th century Stowe House, which sits on the edge of the grounds and houses part of Stowe School. During the school holidays (longer than state schools) you can actually see inside the building and for the next two weeks you can see the Gaia Earth art installation for all the family to enjoy at Stowe House.
Created by Luke Jerram, Gaia is a three dimension floating sculpture of the earth which seems to defy gravity as it rotates above your head in the beautiful Marble Saloon of Stowe House. There are various versions of this art installation on display across the world and the one at Stowe House is 6 metres in diameter.
You enter the experience through the North Hall, and time slots are staggered at 15 minute intervals so you can truly enjoy Gaia without feeling crowded. There are cushions on the floor and you are encouraged to lie down and look up at the sculpture and the setting beyond. Even my 75 year old sister-in-law couldn’t resist trying this out on our visit, It feels rather intimate and leaves you in awe of our beautiful planet as Gaia slowly rotates.
As well as the cushions, there are benches dotted around the Marble Saloon, and I recommend sitting down and just watching the world go round, quite literally. The experience is fully immersive, with the addition of a soundscape by a Bafta award-winning composer and the visual imagery is taken from NASA data.
We were spellbound watching the world we know so well, rotating. I can imagine children enjoying spotting the various continents of our planet as much as we did. To get a different view of our Earth just added to the event. If you’re looking for an after school activity for the kids this week, or something a little different to entertain them over half-term than I can certainly recommend this experience, fun and educational.
During the day the Stowe House visitor centre will be open for refreshments and toilet facilities, they also have a small shop. If you are visiting the National Trust Stowe Landscape Gardens then you could add this exhibition visit to your day out, just book your timed ticket from Stowe House. Tickets are available from 15th-26th October as previously mentioned, and with timeslots from 10am-8pm. Adult tickets are £5 (National Trust members are £4), children under 16 are £3 with under 2s having free entry. There may be the option for walk-in entry but this can’t be guaranteed. Also if you visit after dark, the exhibition will be more illuminated due to the lack of natural light from the oculus from the top of the Marble Saloon.
Don’t forget that more of Stowe House is available to visit once this exhibition has finished, with the option of guided or self guided tours. I didn’t know myself until yesterday that you can actually park closer to the House entrance if you are just visiting Stowe House itself. They also host other events throughout the year. Due to family issues I couldn’t commit to booking tickets for the forthcoming Star Gazing events before they’d sold out. We will definitely be looking to give this a go during February half term next year instead.
We’ve certainly been guilty in the past of enjoying the facade of Stowe House on our numerous visits to Stowe Landscape Gardens and really do need to take the time to revisit inside, especially as National Trust members get discounted entry.
Address: Stowe House, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5EH Sat Nav postcode: MK18 5EH