Strolling the Grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

On the Tuesday morning of Adam and Kayla’s visit, I told them about a few places that we could visit and gave them the task of deciding what we would do that day while I was out getting my haircut. They checked the places out online, and when I came home about an hour later, they had planned the rest of the week for us! It was perfect, and I was so relieved because I put a lot of pressure on myself when visitors come as I want to be sure they have an amazing time.

For Tuesday, they decided that we would go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as the weather was sunny and without a dark cloud in sight. (Can you guess where this is heading?) The park is about a 35- to 40-minute drive from our house, so when we got close and Adam and Kayla noticed how big the park is, they were surprised. Apparently, from the website, they had come to the conclusion that it was just a park in the center of a town with some sculptures in it, but they still wanted to check it out. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is actually a 500-acre country park, so they were very happily surprised to know this was where we would be spending the afternoon.

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We had a nice picnic lunch on the grounds near the YSP Centre before heading off to explore. We headed down to the Boat House and the Lower Lake first. YSP is currently hosting the Wave, which was part of the poppies installation from the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red that was at the Tower of London. It was still being constructed when we were there, but we were still able to catch them installing it for its opening on 5th September.

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We crossed over the Cascade Bridge and risked our lives passing the Highland cattle grazing right in front of us. (Have you see the horns on those things?!) We followed the path through the woods until we reached Seventy-one Steps.

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It was at this point where I might have made a fatal error in continuing on. Because, unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my adventurous girl, we didn’t have the backpack/baby carrier with us as we had forgotten it in Richard’s car and he was at work. Adam and Kayla said they were going to carry on up the steps to the Longside Gallery, which is quite a distance if your daughter gets tired and needs to be carried. I debated about what we should do and finally decided to go along with them.

Our girl made it up over half of the steps on her own before asking me to carry her. I was quite impressed! She then walked a bit then I carried her a bit then she walked a bit then…. Phew! During this ascent towards the Longside Gallery, we could see the sky becoming more black by the second. We were moving as quickly as we could with an inquisitive and independent toddler wanted to touch every tree and stick in sight. We did make it to the gallery for a bit of a break before we decided to risk the threat of rain and head back towards the car park.

We were all tired and my arms felt as if they were about to fall off, but our girl was even more tired, so I ended up carrying her the whole way down across the Cascade Bridge. Shortly before arriving at the bridge, the rain arrived. Oh, did I mention we had one adult-sized raincoat between us?! Thankfully, the little ones were protected, but to avoid the rain as much as possible, we ran from tree to tree. Our girl didn’t mind the rain one bit and was venturing out whilst we huddled under the trees. This did make for some great photo opportunities and lots of laughing and smiling.

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Eventually, we ended up at Camellia House for a short time, so my little niece could have an afternoon snack of milk. I really enjoyed wandering around that space. It was a bit of a secret garden with sculptures hidden amongst the trees and foliage. It was a great little detour on our way to the car.

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After a great day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we ended our day the way we ended pretty much every day that Adam and Kayla were here…with ice cream! We stopped at Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour in Whitley. We got the ice cream and ate it in the car. The ice cream was absolutely delicious, so I’d definitely recommend a quick stop there if you are in the area. It was another great, albeit exhausting, day with our wonderful visitors.

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I’m fairly sure that most of us thought our summer was over, but we have been pleasantly surprised with some great weather over the weekends, and we’ve been doing our best to enjoy it by being outdoors. A few weeks ago, we decided to spend the Sunday at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

We’ve driven past the park numerous times and it has always peaked my curiosity. Richard had never been and he was equally intrigued to visit. And our girl? Well, she’s just happy as long as the three of us are together and she gets to look around!

Pulling into the car park, it appeared that many other families had the same idea as us. It was great to see so many people of all ages out enjoying the day with family and friends. Many of them had packed picnics, and there were kids running around soaking up their last days of summer before school began.

We made our way to the main visitor’s centre, where there is a gift shop, a restaurant, and a snack shop. We paid for our parking, which is £8 for the day, then picked up a map to plot our walk. (You can pay for smaller chunks of time, but £8 seemed completely reasonable to spend the day wandering the gorgeous grounds without the need to continually be checking our watches.) We decided to walk the cross country walking route to the Longside Gallery that took us to the opposite side of the grounds from the visitor’s centre, which the map says is 2 kilometers one way. This walk takes you past many of the sculptures – in a range of mediums – and within viewing distance of the larger buildings on the grounds as well as through a pasture complete with cow pies (or, as I just learned from my husband, cow pats as they are known here). It definitely was a beautiful walk through the park. When we finished exploring, we made our way back to the visitor’s centre and had a late lunch at the restaurant whilst sitting outside on the deck upstairs.

We really enjoyed our day at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and will for sure be returning. It’s a wonderful place for families with all of the open space for kids to run around, and it will make a great addition to our tour of Yorkshire when we have visitors. If we get snow this year, I’d love to visit then as I imagine it is incredibly beautiful on a clear winter day. I just wish it was a bit closer, so we could go more often!

(Richard just informed me I don’t have many photos of the sculptures. This appears to be true! Oh well, hope you enjoy the photos anyway!)

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DSC_0002Molecule Man 1+1+1 by Jonathan Borofsky

DSC_0006Buddha 2000 by Niki de Saint Phalle

DSC_0009Everything is Connected by Peter Liversidge

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DSC_0029Iron Tree by Ai Weiwei

And a super cute photo just because these two melt my heart….

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