Walking on the beach in England in February, could potentially turn into a finger numbing and sand stormy experience. So when my friend and I attempted to take a walk on the beach in Bournemouth last week, we were happy to find the Russel-Cotes Museum sitting right on the beach.
The museum is housed in a dreamy Victorian villa overlooking the sea. It was built as a birthday present by Merton Russel-Cotes for his wife Annie. Much prefer that to a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates.
The couple were inflicted with the travel bug, and brought back many interesting artifacts from exotic countries. And I'm not talking about tack from the souvenir shop, but proper works of art, sculptures and paintings.
The main hall is a dramatic space with a Roman style fountain and a regal staircase that leads to a wraparound gallery. The former bedrooms off the gallery are now filled with pieces of art and some of these rooms boast some amazing views of the coast. I could only wish for a bedroom view like that.
There is an annexe to the house that is used for temporary exhibitions and when we were there, there was one about dangerous women. Apparently Amy Winehouse was one.
The garden is a bit of a tropical garden dotted with fountains, statues and sculptures. We finished our visit with a light lunch in the tea room in the conservatory, before heading back into the cold.