Everything you need to know about Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Discover, explore, learn and be amazed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Situated in the beautiful 18th-century Bretton Hall estate, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture.

Founded in 1977 by Sir Peter Murray CBE, the park was the first of it’s kind in the UK and is now the largest sculpture park in the whole of Europe.

It is an independent registered museum and charitable trust situated in a 500 acre estate just 7 miles south of Wakefield and 20 miles of Leeds.

The park boasts an array of world-class, year round temporary exhibitions showcasing some of the world’s leading artists across six indoor galleries and outdoor spaces.

As the park celebrates it’s triumphant 45th anniversary this year, there’s no better time to visit and marvel in all it’s glory. So, as you embark on your day filled with fun, art, discovery and adventure, here’s a list of a few things to look out for when you’re there.

What to See

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Head to the Country Park where you can see four major sculptures by world famous artist Damien Hirst. From Leeds, Hirst is known for his somewhat controversial work surrounding death, religion and mythical objects.

The sculptures were created as part of the wider Yorkshire Sculpture International Festival that took place in 2019. The aim being to engage a mass audience through sculpture with Hirst’s work playing a key role in achieving this.

The four sculptures on exhibition until May 2023 are called CharityMythThe Hat Makes the Man and The Virgin Mother. Be prepared to be amazed, in awe and somewhat frightened as these imposing sculptures tower above you.

Jason Wilsher-Mills: Jason and his Argonauts in Love

Two sculptures at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image: The Hoot Leeds

On display until September 2022, this exciting and important exhibition is not one to be missed. Made in collaboration with learning-disability groups across the country, Jason Wilsher-Mills uses iPads and tablets to create bright, celebratory and thought provoking works exploring themes of disability.

The central sculpture is a ten-metre tall interactive, inflatable figure which address basic human rights and respect. Situated on access to the Changing Places Toilets, Visitors can walk through the sculpture via a tunnel where they will find personal stories and narratives written on the walls.

The exhibition highlights how, if we are to understand each other fully, we must acknowledge hierarchical systems of access that are still not equal for everyone.

Barbara Hepworth: The Family of Man

A family looking at a sculpture.
Image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A collection of sculptures that has been on display since 1980, this is perhaps one of the most famous attractions at the park and is not one to be missed.

Born in Wakefield, Hepworth studied at Leeds School of Art and went on to have an influential career spanning over 50 years, at a time when British sculpture was dominated by men. She is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and The Family of Man is one of the last major works she produced before her death.

Set on a hillside landscape, these 9 bronze figures represent different stages of life and stand upright and resembling one another to symbolise a family.

What to Do

Art and Landscape Tours

The landscape at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

With so much to see, discover and explore at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, why not book yourself onto one of their weekly Art and Landscape Tours to soak up all the knowledge you possibly can.

A knowledgable volunteer will guide you around the park for an hour and talk you through the outdoor sculptures whilst you take in the breathtaking landscapes. The tours take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and can be booked here on their website.

Artist Talks

An artist talking at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Throughout the year, Yorkshire Sculpture Park host artist-led talks where exhibiting artists discuss their work and the processes behind them. It is an incredible opportunity to learn more about the artist and to delve deeper into the works currently on display.

Upcoming talks include:

  • YARA + DAVINA Walk and Talk, Saturday 23 July.
  • Thahmina Begum: Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Tuesday 2nd August.
  • Jason Wilsher-Mills Artist Talk, Monday 22nd August.

All of these events are free and can be booked via email, for more information take a look at the park’s What’s On Page.

Where to Eat

The Weston

The Weston restaurant's dining room.
Image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Need a well-deserved pitstop in the midst of all your gazing and exploring? Book a table at The Weston and dine with a panoramic view of the breathtaking 500 acre parkland.

The interior of this beautiful restaurant is an art exhibition in itself. The space is drenched in light and filled with Scandinavian-inspired furniture, with a roaring wood-lit stove which illuminates the room during winter months. The menu is filled with local, sustainably sourced dishes which showcase the best of what Yorkshire has to offer.

Relax and unwind over a leisurely lunch or keep an eye out for their unique evening events which take place throughout the year such as wine tasting or summer tapas evenings.

More information on The Weston can be found here.

The Kitchen

If you’re looking for something a bit more laid back, then The Kitchen located on the upper level of the YSP centre is the place for you.

This self service restaurant offer a range of homemade, seasonal dishes made fresh on site. Think sandwiches, soup, snacks and ice cream which can be enjoyed in the restaurant or taken outside to be part of your picnic.

Why not treat yourself to an Afternoon Tea experience which can be enjoyed with or without flowing prosecco. Featuring freshly made sandwiches, homemade scones and delicious cakes and pastries.

Information on how to book Afternoon Tea can be found here.

Ticket prices for the park are just £6 per adult, £3 per student and free for people under the age of 18. All visitors must pre-book before their visit and this can be done here.

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Feature image: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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