Stunning sculptures at Doddington Hall

Some of the sculptures
Some of the sculptures
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By award-winning blogger Trish Burgess

It’s not often you have an idea for a day out and a BBC weather presenter turns up at the venue a few hours beforehand and tells everyone about it.

Carol Kirkwood did just that on BBC Breakfast last week and suddenly our relaxed preparations took on a more urgent pace as we dashed to Lincoln to reach Doddington Hall before the world and his wife joined us.

This beautiful late Elizabethan mansion is currently holding its regular biennial sculpture exhibition. I missed this two years ago and was determined not to do so again, so I shuffled the family into the car and we set off.

Owners of Doddington Hall, Claire and James Birch, open their gardens to a staggering number of sculptures during this summer event, using the backdrop of their beautiful home to showcase the works of art.

Armed with an inexpensive but very substantial guidebook, we spent a wonderful afternoon admiring all 450 sculptures and, more often than not, trying to guess how much they cost, as nearly all of these works were for sale to the public.

Hidden amongst the flower beds of the walled garden or taking shade in the romantic wild garden, we found metal blooms, a forlorn wooden teddy bear and willow horses.

Using red tufted polypropylene and kevlar, Lucy Strachan’s magnificent installation, GodRod, whipped around the front lawn like a possessed metronome as the wind whistled through the estate. A more delicate reaction to the breeze could be seen and heard as the anodised aluminium leaves of Richard Cresswell’s Murmuration gently quivered.

Once you’re sculptured-out, Doddington Hall has a lovely cafe where I can vouch for a melt-in-the-mouth brownie and Dougie endorses the cheese scone. We both looked enviously at our son’s burger which was accompanied by the fattest chips I have ever seen.

There’s an excellent farm shop, a bike shop and country store on site. I would also suggest you run the gauntlet of the herd of cows to see the recently built pyramid at the far end of the Avenue Walk.

Don’t forget to take part in creating the magical Doddington Dragon before you go: attach a piece of fabric from the basket provided and see the colourful willow creature come to life.

The exhibition is open daily until September 11th and costs £6.50 for an adult garden ticket or £10.50 for a hall and garden ticket on specific days when the house is open. Check out their website for more details.

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