A mixture of Scottish castle and Italian villa, the Russell-Cotes eclectic exterior is a suiting prelude to its eccentric interior. Perched on a cliff above Bournemouth pier and overlooking the Isle of Wight, this is no ordinary art gallery and museum.

The Russell-Cotes is filled with treasures collected during Sir Merton and Lady Annie’s foreign travels. The Japanese and British collections from their personal art collection are astounding. The Victorian-era home is decorated as it was when Sir Merton and Lady Annie lived there and is obviously touched by their personal styles. Because their collection is so large, exhibits are frequently changing, making this a must-see every time you’re in Bournemouth!

The art gallery features a mix of sculpture, ceramics, paintings, and prints. There is everything from Rossetti’s Venus to holiday mementos from Czarist Russia. You can see tiny shoes from China’s days of foot binding and Tynecastle leather-like wallpaper.

Make sure to look up as you wander through the museum to see the decorated painted ceilings. Stop by the Tardis, which features a Moorish alcove with a glassy dome.

A unique feature of their collection is the Art on Demand. If you are exploring the house and see a painting you’ve fallen in love with, you can order a print online! You can choose the style, size, and frame, and then have the painting delivered to your house and live like Sir Merton and Lady Annie!

Kids will enjoy dressing up as this eccentric couple did as they walk around this fascinating house. They can complete a detective sheet as you explore the villa, or enjoy the play area by the restaurant!


Russell Cotes Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA
Tel: 01202 451800
Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm