Exploring the Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park in Norwich With Kids

The Sainsbury Centre, based on the UEA campus, is an art gallery, museum and café. Primarily focused on world art, the centre itself is free to access and is a wonderful place to pass an hour in its own right. But the Sainsbury Centre also offers a sculpture park which spreads out across the UEA campus and around the Broad which is also on the campus grounds.

Parking at the Sainsbury centre is free: you just need to go into the gallery to get a permit which you display in the window of your car. Access to the gallery and the sculpture trail is free too, unless you want to explore one of the special exhibitions. You can also collect free maps to the Sculpture park in two formats from the gallery reception: either a ‘grown up’ map or a child-friendly version: we used the child-friendly version which was fun, easy to follow, and featured activities that you could do on your way around too.

The Sculpture Park includes important works by notable artists such as Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink, Lynn Chadwick, Liliane Lijn and Antony Gormley.

There are three different trails you can take: the short trail, the long trail, and the longer trail. Depending on which you choose, and how fast you walk, these should take between half an hour and an hour and a half. The walk around the Broad (the lake at the bottom of the campus) is particularly pretty, and well worth the exploration, with a few sculptures along the way to add to the fun.

We opted for the longest route, and then went into the Sainsbury centre to explore the indoor exhibits and to have a cup of tea (and a cheeky slice of cake!) I’m not going to pretend to be an art expert, so I won’t comment much on the quality of the works, but we were impressed by the high standard of the artists on display, as well as the variety. And it was lovely that once we had spotted and analysed a Henry Moore sculpture, the boys were quickly able to identify other pieces by the same artist. The kids were inspired, and went home to work on their own self-portraits and sculptures (using the contents of my recycling bin!)

It was a really lovely way to pass a morning, and one that I would definitely recommend if you’re in or around Norwich. We followed our trip up with a visit to the park on the way home, and the kids declared that it was an excellent day out that they’d like to do again! The sculpture park is a permanent exhibition of the gallery, so you can visit and enjoy at any time.

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