Heading north from Nottingham, my great British road trip has brought me to Yorkshire. While here, I’m going to indulge in the area’s artistic highlights. This county has world-class sculpture parks and museums, and my boyfriend and I can’t wait to explore them on a trip around the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.
Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle Guide
After visits to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Chester, Wales, Wiltshire, London, the Cotswolds, and Nottingham, we drive our trusty camper van north to Yorkshire to get our culture fix.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle consists of The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, the Leeds Art Gallery, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, all of which are 30 minutes’ drive or train ride from one another. Together they show the work of 200 leading artists, many of whom are household names.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
We start our trip around the triangle at the southernmost point: the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This open-air art gallery occupies a vast expanse of land on either side of the River Dearne, giving us a chance to see art while getting some exercise.
Around 80 sculptures and installations dot the landscape at any given time, and while we’re here we see everything from an iron tree by Ai Weiwei to monumental sculptures by Henry Moore.
It’s a great way to spend half a day, and we enjoy walking along the paths and discovering sculptures tucked away in the trees as we go.
The next stop on our trip around the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is The Hepworth Wakefield. Opened in 2011, it won Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017. The building, which was designed by award-winning architect David Chipperfield, is one of the UK’s largest purpose-built exhibition spaces outside London.
The Hepworth Wakefield has an impressive collection of Modern British art, particularly that of 20th-century sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Hepworth was born in Wakefield—hence the museum’s name—and Moore in nearby Castleford, making it fitting that their art takes pride of place.
We spend an hour taking in the sculptures, paintings, and exhibitions at the museum, thoroughly impressed by the Hepworth collection in particular. It’s amazing to see so many of her sculptures in one place, and to get a glimpse into her artistic process in the rooms containing exhibits on her life and work.
The last stop on our journey through the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is Leeds. This city is home to The Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery, which are conveniently located next to one another in the center.
We start with The Henry Moore Institute, which somewhat confusingly doesn’t have any work by Henry Moore. We see a couple small exhibitions and the library, but are slightly disappointed. The Leeds Art Gallery is closed for renovations until two weeks after we leave, so we miss out on the sculptures here, too.
But all is not lost. I love Leeds, so we spend the rest of our trip exploring the city. The famous shopping arcades off Briggate in Victoria Quarter are our first ports of call, and I can’t get over the ceiling of County Arcade.
Or the little courtyards—like Queen’s Court—that we discover off the main streets.
Or the colorful lamp posts on the bridges.
Or the amazing cappuccinos and food at Laynes Espresso, a coffee shop I want to pack up and take home with me.
But there’s not quite room in the camper van, so we leave it in Leeds and get back on the road. Our next stop is Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park, a place I’ve wanted to visit for ages. Stay tuned…
How about you? What would you include in a Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle guide?