The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Hertfordshire Edition

The light fantastic

11 Nov 2014


British artist Bruce Munro is best known for immersive large-scale light-based installations. His work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Eden Project (Cornwall), the Guggenheim Museum (New York) and, most local to us, Waddesdon Manor (Bucks). He returns to Waddesdon Manor this week with the launch of his new installation ‘Winter Light’ (12 Nov 2014 to Jan 2015) in the grounds, and ‘Snow Code’ inside the house, a digital installation blending light, language, technology and sound.

Bruce lives and works on the Wiltshire/Somerset border, so he’s not too hot on cool places to go in Herts, so these are his favourite places where he lives – catalogue them for your next holiday!


At The Chapel, Bruton

the chapel-restaurant-e1397646025239
I’m a massive fan of this place – it’s a great space and atmosphere in a converted chapel (hence the name) and they serve the best pizzas in Somerset, piping hot from a traditional pizza oven.

Roth Bar and Grill at Hauser &  Wirth

Another good tip is the recently opened Roth Bar and Grill at Hauser &  Wirth. The Roth Bar & Grill combines gastronomy with contemporary art, serving honest, simple and seasonal food. Beyond the gallery, Durslade is a working farm and the livestock born and bred there are served on-site. It’s a fabulous space and food. I find I’m tempted go alone so I can enjoy the art undisturbed.  It’s a clever idea as one needs multiple visits to see everything… and then they change the exhibitions!

Starehole Bay, Salcombe

My favourite is a National Trust path in the Salcombe Estuary, south Devon.  From Bolt head to Bolt tail. I used to run it daily as a child…now I amble! It’s a really lovely part of Devonshrie, where my dad used to have a house . There’s a very beautiful place on the walk called Starehole Bay, it’s magnificent – the path undulates around it and the rock formations are very unusual. I go every year with the children even though they’re grown up – we take a tent down and it’s great fun (when the sun shines!).

Hunting Raven, Frome

I love to browse in my lovely local bookshop and most importantly buy in there. These independent shops need all the support they can get, I feel sorry for bookshops trying to compete with Amazon – if we don’t support them we won’t have them any more. I’m part of a male book club that does more drinking than reading, but I do get through quite a lot of books, partly because I read more when I travel, but also I wake up quite a lot in the night, I think my head is full of light installations! I’m always anxious before an installation opens, and Winter Light includes a lot of new work.

The Red Lion, nr Maiden Bradley

Red Lion Pic_Fotor
I used to be a real pub lover, but sadly I’m so busy these days I don’t seem to have time to really indulge! I spend as much of my time in the studio creating, and also traveling overseas to museums. Having said that, when I am home a favourite winter treat during the week is a pint of Butcombe and a cottage pie sitting by the fire at this lovely local pub.

Wagamama, Bath

When the children are at home, we might catch an early lunch at Wagamama in Bath, and then we’ll split up the boys to watch Bath rugby at the Rec and the girls catch a film at the Odeon. It’s good to have family rituals. We always used to eat together and we still do that when the children come home. I remember that from my own childhood, sitting down as a family and catching up each other’s news. I think that’s important.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Hertfordshire Edition