Two Days in Yorkshire and a Bit of a Book

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to travel a bit, flitting off to mainland Europe whenever I get the chance. Truth be told I’m more familiar with Amsterdam and Berlin than I am with many British cities and those that I do know well are in the south. I’m ashamed to say I rarely venture much beyond Birmingham. We were heading considerably further north on Monday (in our terms, anyway), off to Yorkshire to visit a recuperating friend for a couple of days but staying in a hotel and entertaining ourselves for some of the time so as not to tire her out. The Hepworth Wakefield

We arrived in Wakefield after thrashing up several motorways for over three hours, pleased to find that The Hepworth Wakefield‘s café was as welcoming as its website suggested. Barbara Hepworth was born and grew up in Wakefield hence the location of this gallery dedicated to her sculpture which shows the work of other sculptors, too, including Henry Moore. Designed by David Chipperfield, the building alone was worth the journey seeming to float above the river. I love Hepworth’s beautifully curved pieces which make me want to run my hands over them and there are some gorgeous examples of her work here, along with a room of maquettes and preparatory sketches. We had just enough time to wander around the newly planted garden before the rain set in again.

Tuesday was spent at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park but not before a quick trot around Holmfirth whose main claim to fame is its location for the ’80s BBC sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine, still milked for all it’s worth by the local tourist office according to our friend. The main attraction for us was Read, the small but perfectly formed bookshop which backs onto the town park.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park was as lovely as I’d hoped with pieces shown off against a beautiful panoramic backdrop. My favourite was Hepworth’s Family of Man but Henry Moore sculpture there were some spectacular Henry Moores and the impressive Ai Weiwei piece Circle of Heads /Zodiac Heads to admire. All three of us agreed that the half-dissected Damien Hirst figure was something of a blot on the landscape. A thoroughly enjoyable day, warm enough for a long lunch on the veranda of one of the park’s cafes soaking up the view.

I would love to have visited the wonderfully named Whippet and Pickle if only for a coffee but sadly it’s closed on Monday and Tuesday, and we were due to hit the road reasonably early on Wednesday after saying goodbye to M. Maybe next time.

And the book? Unsurprisingly, there was more chatting than reading but I enjoyed what I read of Fairyland, Sumner Locke Elliott’s autobiographical coming-of-age story about a gay writer searching for love in the ’30s and’ 40s. If you’d like to know more, it was Kim’s review at Reading Matters that made me pick it up.

31 thoughts on “Two Days in Yorkshire and a Bit of a Book”

  1. Sounds like a fab trip ….and thanks for the book recco …..I’m always on the lookout for books to by my son who’s also a voracious reader. I’m sure he hasn’t heard of this so it’s going on my Xmas present buying list .

    1. It was, Helen. We packed an awful lot in! Glad to hear you’ve passed the reading gene on. I’m further into Fairyland now and still enjoying it. It’s well worth checking out Kim’s review if you want to know more.

  2. I sympathise with your comment about knowing certain foreign places better than some places in the UK. I am exactly the same. The Hepworth Wakefield building looks amazing, I wouldn’t mind seeing that in real life – the Henry Moore sculptures would be an extra bonus!

  3. i love Hepworth and Henry Moore so the sculpture park and museum are now on my list to visit next time I venture north. Would love to go more to Yorkshire and Derbyshire but the motorway travel is horrendous…

    1. It is, and particularly in the rain! However, both are well worth putting up with the misery. I’d put aside a whole day for the park which has a gallery, too, plus an excellent cafe.

  4. Like you, I haven’t explore that much of the UK (business trips do not really count, although I did get to see a bit of Sheffield and Manchester that way). That’s why I enjoyed the Open Days at universities so much – got to see a bit of the country, since most of them are located in or near cities.

  5. What a lovely post, Susan! Isn’t the Yorkshire Sculpture Park just the most wonderful place? I love Henry Moore’s work, so it’s always a delight to see it being admired and celebrated.

  6. I love Hepworth’s work. We planned to visit the Wakefield Museum and Yorkshire Sculpture Park on a trip to Yorkshire a couple of years ago, but sadly I was poorly and spent most of the time in the hotel room. I hope we can make a return trip sometime because both places sound like must-visit destinations.

    1. Thanks, Naomi. She’s doing well. We were very lucky indeed, particularly as it had been such a grey, drizzly one the day before. The park is wonderful. We didn’t see nearly all of it but will no doubt be going back.

    1. Definitely a place for you, then. Both sites were fascinating but I particularly love to see sculpture out doors.

      I finished Fairyland since posting this and was floored by its ending.

  7. I share your love of travel and always enjoy your posts about trips. I’ve just booked Amsterdam for a city break before Christmas so any tips would be welcome. I’ve only been once before and ticked off the usual sights – Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House and a canal trip but any ideas of hidden gems would be great.

    1. I had a lovely Christmas break in Amsterdam a few years ago, Helen. There’s a post about it on the blog which might help. We also went by Eurostar for the beginning of last year’s big holiday, celebrating a birthday for my partner. Our favourite treats then were the Tassenmuseum (fabulous tea!) and supper at Balthazar’s Kuchen. I’ve also written a post on that. I’m sure you’ll have a great time – I can never get enough of Amsterdam!

    1. Thank you. Indeed you are! I’ve been wanting to go there for some time and we were very lucky to have such a lovely day. I know M has missed her regular walks around it. I also like their approach to an entrance fee – free unless you park and aren’t a member.

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