IT is the art park created around a Jacobean manor house that is reputed to be a site of sacred ley lines and a possible point of congregation for a 12th century Catholic military order.

Jupiter Artland, set within the picturesque 100-acre estate of Bonnington House ten miles outside of Edinburgh is home was founded 10 years ago and has grown into one of Scotland's most significant arts organisations.

It has become an ethereal world of sculptures and installations by some of the biggest names in contemporary art including Phyllida Barlow, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley.

It now ranks alongside the likes of Edinburgh Castle and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum having become Scotland's newest five star visitor attraction.

The quality assurance accolade was made by Visit Scotland chairman Lord John Thurso who said: “Jupiter Artland is a truly unique and beautiful asset to the tourism offering in West Lothian and I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of the team is being recognised with this award.


“Our Quality Assurance scheme... is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business, driving-up quality and creating jobs.

“Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial in making Scotland a must-visit, must-return destination.”

It was 1999 when philanthropist art collectors Robert and Nicky Wilson purchased the historic Bonnington House, an ancient place with reputed Knights Templar connections, and began to build it as a home for contemporary sculpture.

Inspired by Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta - the Scottish artist and poet’s famed art garden in the Pentland Hills - the Wilsons got to work on amassing an array of artworks to dot the fields and woodlands around Bonnington.

Nicky Wilson, founding director of Jupiter Artland Foundation said after becoming the 242nd attraction to get five star status in Scotland: “We are thrilled that the hard work and dedication of our loyal Jupiter Artland team has been recognised by VisitScotland and we are incredibly proud of our five star status.

"We pride ourselves on creating a space where contemporary art and sculpture can be discovered beyond the gallery walls and we look forward to welcoming visitors for our 2019 season."

But the Wilsons, who live on site with their family and embrace sharing summer with 80,000 annual guests are not resting on their laurels.


Championing a push to bring the sometimes exclusive world of art to children and a broader audience they offer free and subsidised visits to every schoolchild, university and community education student in Scotland.

They are currently raising £40,000 for an Jupiter Artland Learning Bus to transport schools and groups to the venue.

"Transportation is the biggest barrier for schools and groups to visit Jupiter and to take advantage of our Free Learning Programme which is why we are proud to launch this new initiative," said the charity.

Last year, the charity launched Orbit, a new outreach programme "dedicated to amplifying the voice of Scotland’s youth."

It was set to recruit a youth council of 16 to 18-year-olds to help build and develop the new programme.

The Orbit Youth Council would then take an "active role in shaping Jupiter Artland’s outreach offer, bringing large scale art projects to communities across Scotland."

The programme was designed in response to Scotland’s Year of Young People.

In August it will be the scene of the Jupiter Rising outdoor music art and performance festival, with indie legends The Vaselines and 2016 Mercury Prize nominees the Comet Is Coming among the attractions.

And Pay What You Want Mondays proved popular and has become Pay What You Want Tuesday for May, June and September this year.