Water Fountain Secret Garden SettingWhile visiting Bournemouth last month to spend a few days soaking up the seaside atmosphere, I spent an afternoon at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.  Located on the top of the East cliff, the museum looks out over the sea, features a breathtakingly beautiful garden and hides various paintings, sculptures and souvenirs within a Grade II listed building.  It's close enough to the beach to remind you where you are, and yet secluded enough to feel like a tranquil retreat...
Russell-Cotes Rose Garden Flowers
Russell-Cotes Museum travel photographyRussell Cotes Psyche at the Throne of VenusOkay, so a little background.  The seaside villa was built by hoteliers (Annie and Merton Russell-Cotes) in 1901 as their home. The place is filled with their extensive collection of British paintings and sculptures, as well as souvenirs from their world travels. Dreamy?  Just a bit.  And when they died in 1921, they gave both the house and their collection over to the people of Bournemouth to enjoy forevermore.  I think I speak for everyone when I say I'm grateful, because the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is a complete treasure trove, and with so much to see!

The above painting is (part of) Edward Hale's Psyche at the Throne of Venus, undoubtedly my favourite from the gallery's vast collection.  The Pre-Raphaelite section is one of complete beauty, and literally kept me in the same room for nearly an hour.    
Russell-Cotes Museum detail interior
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum travel blogger
Russell Cotes Museum blog reviewAfter roaming through the two floors of the museum, a light and airy café offers refreshments and (most importantly) cake!   I headed for the marble-topped table and decorative cushions, complete with lemon cake in one hand, and rose lemonade in the other. It's funny how some moments can have such a positive impact on you; for whatever reason, this particular one has stayed with me for weeks.  Ah, take me back!    
Cafe at Russell-Cotes Museum Bournemouth
Large slice of lemon cake at cafe
Summer sea views from Russell-Cotes museumVenturing outside, the weather was on its absolute best behaviour - gotta love the summertime!  I'm pretty sure you could whittle away an entire afternoon in the Russell-Cotes garden without getting distracted.  Rose arches, pond complete with water lilies, fountain, plenty of seating, and grand white steps leading up to the building, ending with a balcony overlooking the sea.  Bliss. Call me a romantic, but I like to imagine at least one loved-up couple had met for the first time in these gardens.
Summer seaside Bournemouth views
Pretty gardens and pond at Russell-Cotes museum
Lilies on pond water
Pink and White Rose Archway
If it sounds as though I'm gushing, it's because I am!  I've completely fallen for the place - from the dreamy artwork to the mass of unusual treasures, and from the rose arches to the princess balcony overlooking the sea.  In my opinion, it's Bournemouth's greatest asset.

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
Russell Cotes Rd
Bournemouth summer travel blog 2017
Feminine Light Pink Summer Blooms
UK Bournemouth travel blogHave you ever visited the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum before?  If not, will you be adding to your travel-list?!

With love,

Gabrielle x