News Story

Founded by the Victorian painter and sculptor G F Watts and his wife, designer and artist Mary Watts in the 1890s, we're home to incredible art, architecture and crafts.

From charming wildflower gardens to changing exhibitions throughout the year, Watts Gallery is for art-lovers, families, walkers and history-enthusiasts alike. With so much to see and enjoy, we've selected the five things you simply cannot miss on a visit to the site.

Highlights at Watts Gallery

Visitor looks at glass display case in green-walled gallery

1. Limnerslease: Artists’ home and studio

Limnerslease is the historic home and studios of the founders, George and Mary Watts. Built in 1891, Sir Ernest George designed it in the Arts and Crafts style. Visitors can see a recreation of George’s artist studio, where he painted many of his artworks. Other studios tell the story of Mary and the Compton Pottery, and there are some rooms in the couples Surrey home available to explore.

Read more about Limnerslease >

Terracotta corridor with arches, the chapel stands in the background

2. Watts Chapel

A short walk from the main site, the spectacular Grade-I listed chapel stands tall at the top of a beautifully located cemetery. The terracotta chapel is the work of artist and designer Mary Watts. Over 70 people from the local community helped her create it between 1895 and 1904. It opened in 1898 and remains a working chapel to this day. The breathtaking interior of colourful stucco angels is a firm favourite with locals. It is also the final resting place of George and Mary.

Read more about the Chapel >

Large man on horse sculpture in gallery

3. Historic and Sculpture Galleries

Built to display the work of ‘England's Michelangelo’, George Frederic Watts, Watts Gallery was first opened in 1904. The gallery walls glow with deep crimson and navy blue, hung with vast, exquisite paintings. Visitors will discover Watts's 70-year career through allegories, portraits, symbolist works and social realist scenes. In the Sculpture Gallery, his monumental sculptural works, Physical Energy and Monument to Lord Tennyson stand proud.

There are also changing exhibitions throughout the year to enjoy.

Read more about Watts Gallery >

A close up of a bird sculpture for the Artistic Aviary exhibition

4. Watts Contemporary Gallery

Watts Contemporary Gallery is situated above the Shop and in what was originally the Compton Pottery, founded by Mary Watts. It hosts dynamic, curated exhibitions throughout the year that support local, new and emerging craftspeople, as well as more established artists.

Read more about Watts Contemporary Gallery >

Bright day featuring orange, autumnal trees and sunshine

5. Beautiful grounds

The landscape in Compton was a huge source of inspiration for George and Mary Watts, and there is 18 acres of woodland and charming gardens to explore on a visit. Changing with the seasons, the woodlands at Limnerslease are home to historic monuments such as Mary’s Celtic Cross as well as a modern, wooden auditorium, titled Bench 1. Close to the North Downs Way and Pilgrim’s Way, Watts Gallery makes for a perfect place to explore and refuel on a walk exploring the area.

Read more about the grounds >

As well as everything to see on a visit, there is an ongoing programme of exciting workshops, tours and courses on offer. Families can enjoy the Verey Playwood, trails and craft activities throughout the year, and something different to do every school holiday. Freshly made, seasonal food is available in the Tea Shop and bespoke gifts, books and homewares in the Shop.