MAKING A MARK: Landscape Artist of the Year Filming 2023: Venues, Dates and Wildcards

Artists who have already applied for Series 9 of Landscape Artist of the Year – but have not been selected for one of the pods – can now apply to be one of the Wildcard Artists at one of the six venues around the UK in June

Entries to be a Wildcard at one of the six Heat Locations in Series 9 open at midday tomorrow. 

  • wildcard spaces are very limited so be ready to apply
  • ONLY those who submitted an application to be on the programme can apply – hence I’m not including the link for applications in this post as it’s in the email sent already sent to applicants

This post:

  • highlights the locations and dates
  • speculates on what the two views at each location will be
  • provides some tips re accommodation and travel

I’ll be doing a future post which will summarise:

  • lessons learned by previous wildcard artists
  • recommendations for pod artists 

Where will Landscape Artist of the Year be held in 2023?

The Heats of Series 9 of Landscape Artist of the Year will be filmed in June 2023 at

  • Liverpool
  • Hever Castle in Kent
  • Stonehaven on the Aberdeenshire coast in Scotland.


DATES: Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th June 2023

The 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial ‘uMoya: The sacred Return of Lost Things’ addresses the history and temperament of the city of Liverpool and is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language, ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.

The festival explores the ways in which people and objects have the potential to manifest power as they move across the world, while acknowledging the continued losses of the past. It draws a line from the ongoing Catastrophes caused by colonialism towards an insistence on being truly Alive.

Potential locations in and around Liverpool.

It’s difficult to say as there’s lots of scope – hence no pics!

I wrote this post backwards (i.e. I wrote the other two episodes first). Given the extensive and expansive presence of water in the other two locations, I’m thinking that at least one of the dates had to involve water – if not both.

I gather that one likely location will be the Albert Dock – which used to be home to a television programme so I guess that’s got the facilities they need.

I think I’d be very surprised if at least one of the heats doesn’t focus on visible urban artwork within the Biennial. Hard to say what that might be! It’s possible Kathleen’s connection with the Biennial might allow things to happen which otherwise would not happen.

Plus it occurred to me that the Liver Building looks a bit like a castle – see below for why this might be relevant!

There again, they might go for one of the very big Cathedrals! So lots of options….

Travel and Accommodation

Liverpool has a mainline train station at Lime Street and good road connections. But there’s the issue of train strikes….

There’s also lots of accommodation in the city – but 

  • you need to bear in mind the dates are at the same time as the first week of the Biennial. There may be competition! 
  • this is Trip Advisor in the ten best cheap hotels in Liverpool
  • Try getting a B&B across the River Mersey and using the commuter ferry if you want to save costs (I watched “Race across the world too!”). If – as I speculate – one of the locations is across the Mersey then you’ll be on the right side of the River!

Hever Castle

DATES: Tuesday 20th June and Wednesday 21st June 2023.I think this is an excellent choice for the film company in terms of making life easy. For example, it offers accommodation on site. Or maybe I mean appearing to make life easy?

Potential locations in and around Hever Castle

I’ve been to Hever Castle in Kent several times. I know it fairly well. The views if offers include

  • castle and moat and interesting topiary (former home of 
  • Italianate Gardens – with lots of flat grass
  • a very large lake – with flat ground at various locations around its edge.

Hever Castle and Moat – with LOTS of reflections and flat ground nearby

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The Lake at Hever Castle

(which you get to via the Italianate Gardens)

photo: Katherine Tyrrell

Given the facilities it offers, my guess is both locations for both pod artists and wildcards  will be located within the grounds which are relatively flat and hence relatively easy to move the pods around. It also offers accessibility to much of the grounds if disability issues are considered (as they should be).
SPECIAL NOTE: If you live in the South East, note that Hever Castle is having an Art Week during half term week (27th May – 4th June) with activities for children. But I’m sure they’d not notice an extra easel or two! 😉

Accommodation and Travel

It’s a tad inaccessible by public transport. Not completely – but it’s not easy. The car park is not that big – and I assume local fields may be pressed into action…..

I can do no better than to repeat the instructions in the Castle’s Accessibility Guide

  • By Road 
    • Hever Castle is located 30 miles from Central London. 3 miles south east of Edenbridge, off the B2026, between Sevenoaks and East Grinstead. Exit M25 junctions 5 or 6. 
    • There are no bus services to Hever Castle. 
  • By Rail 
    • London Victoria or London Bridge to Edenbridge Town (3 miles from the Castle – taxis available). 
    • Hever station (no taxis) is a one-mile rural walk to the Castle. 
    • Eurostar terminal at Ashford is 1¾ hours’ drive by road. 
    • Ebbsfleet International is a 1 hour drive by road. 
  • By Air 
    • Gatwick airport is 30 minutes away, Heathrow is one hour. 
    • Hever Castle can then be reached by road or rail as above.

Also accommodation nearby is not going to be easy to find. There is however Luxury Bed & Breakfast on site and it looks like it’s not all booked up! 🙂

For the hardy – there is a campsite not far away at Hever Camping

Pitches are first come first served, however, be aware we may need to allocate pitches as required.


DATES: Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th June 2023

This is the equivalent to the episodes in Northern Ireland last year. It’s a VERY long way from the rest of the UK and 

  • not that easy to get to if you don’t live in Scotland – and 
  • not that easy if you do! 

Stonehaven is 15 miles south of Aberdeen. Below I comment on the travel aspects. 

Potential Venues in and around Stonehaven

I’d say an absolute racing certainty for one of the venues is the harbour which typically has lots of boats tied up.

View of Stonehaven and its harbour and beach from the cliffs

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the largest of the recreational harbours in Aberdeenshire and has three basins extending to 18,200 square metres and 550 metres of berthing space on the quays. Stonehaven Harbour | Aberdeenshire

There are broad flat areas around the harbour at the south end of the town which can take pods – and LOTS of places where Wildcards could be located

View of Stonehaven Harbour from the edge
(Google Streetview)

I’d say a very strong possibility for a second venue is a castle on the edge of very high cliffs.

Further to the south of the town are the very dramatic ruins of Dunnotar CastleThe fields about the cliffs are flat and might provide an excellent place for a good view across the sea of the Castle above the 160 foot cliffs and the sea. Plus it’s walking distance from the town. The series has a track record for putting artists on flat land near the edge of cliffs and asking them to paint the view!  Could be windy!

The castle sparked the idea for Disney’s animated film Brave.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven
photo by duncan cumming
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View of the castle from the fields
(Google Streetview)

Accommodation and Travel

The very early start probably means you’ll need to find accommodation for the night before and maybe the night afterwards. Stonehaven is not a large town (11k people) and there will probably be a lot of competition for the beds in B&Bs and Hotels. I wouldn’t delay booking!

The bonus is that Stonehaven has a station and you can get to it direct from (say) London and a number of other venues.

Here’s links to 

  • Google Maps re travel to and from Stonehaven – and plotting a route and how long it will take.
    • this includes links to B&B in the vicinity
  • Trainline to Stonehaven (just swop out London for your local major train station)
It takes an average of 9+ hours to travel from London to Stonehaven by train


Bearing in mind that I’m “reading the runes” on this series based on past series, my conclusion is that the final and/or commission will involve water (for definite) and probably a castle too.

You can start practising painting water now. Don’t forget to revise the rules on painting shadows and reflections on water – and remember they’re not the same thing!

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