Yorkshire Sculpture Park is just off J38 of the M1 north of Sheffield, and it is HUGE. It is the very extensive grounds of Bretton Hall, and it has been turned into a home for works of art from a wide range of sculptors, including Henry Moore, and Antony Gormley.
It is free to get in although you do have to pay for car parking – It costs £8 per car for all day, though you can pay less for up to two hours if you’re only paying a short visit. Remember your car registration plate as you pay at the visitor centre via a computerised system.
The visitor centre is pretty impressive. It houses some indoor galleries with changing exhibitions, as well as the requisite toilets, baby changing, gift-shop, and cafe. If you pop to the reception desk, you can pick up a child-friendly map, as demonstrated here! Take a pencil so you can cross off things as you spot them.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a huge country estate with a choice of walks. You can’t possibly do them all in one visit, especially with little legs in tow, so we chose to explore a couple of the areas. In all, we were there for four hours.
YSP is home to wildlife. We spotted squirrels, field mice, swans, and a lot of geese with an insane number of goslings. They were very hungry/friendly, though I did tell one adult goose off for hissing at me, and it looked mortified and behaved itself immediately. We collected a lot of goose feathers for our treasure bag.
The artwork is fascinating, if you like that sort of thing. The children were disappointed not to be able to climb on every single piece, but some you are allowed to get up close to.
Possibly their favourite was the field of ‘trees’ made out of reclaimed household paraphanalia such as toilets, dog kennels, and yes, even the kitchen sink. I think I’m in the wrong business.
We chose to walk via the upper lake, which could have been a mistake as the paths were extremely muddy and the walk goes very close to the lake itself, which is a hazard for tots and young children. It was beautiful though, and we got to see parts of the old Bretton Hall estate including a Grecian style folly, and a wonderful shell grotto.
|From inside the shell grotto on the upper lake at YSP|
The art isn’t all completely child-friendly. There is some art which is life art and produces sniggers/questions/stares from my children, like the sculpture of a water nymph, shown below left.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a great place to use my nature trail spotters sheet – there is a free download for you to print out. For a country park walk, YSP is a lovely place. You can walk dogs on designated paths, and there are wheelchair/pram friendly routes.
The only real complaint we had was the lack of picnic areas. There was a large(ish) area with picnic tables near the visitor centre, but we didn’t spot any near the lake. There wasn’t really any benches to sit and eat around the upper lake area we visited.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is very popular but it didn’t feel at all crowded. There are water hazards, hungry geese, a LOT of sheep poo, and no loos apart from those in the visitor centre and the gallery around 2km away, but it is a gorgeous place and fantastic for wearing little ones out.
Here are some more pics from our visit.
|The waterfall between the upper and lower lakes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park|
|Inside the visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park|
|The formal gardens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park|
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