Just outside of Wakefield in West Yorkshire you’ll find the sprawling 500 acres of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
It’s an impressive array of exhibits and, even if you don’t know much about sculpture, there are some very recognisable names among the artists with work on show.
Ai WeiWei, the Chinese artist who in 2014 took over Alcatraz prison as an exhibition space, is behind the Iron Tree that stands outside the beautiful, if sparse, chapel. From a distance it simply looks like a tree with bolts sticking out at every angle, but it’s not until you get up close you realise it’s all made of iron.
Similarly there’s a discrete sculpture standing among the trees by Antony Gormley, best known for sculpting the imposing Angel of the North that stands at the southern entry to Gateshead. On a much smaller scale, One & Other has been at Yorkshire Sculpture Park since 2000.
There are plenty of offerings from other artists around the site, and there are frequently changes in the exhibitions as temporary ones come in to refresh the interest of regular visitors.
Currently Swiss sculptor Not Vital has an extensive array of pieces at the top of the park, from the unmissable Pelvis stood shining impressively on the hilltop, to the magical Moon and Let 100 Flowers Bloom hidden by the high hedges behind the main building.
One of the park’s most famous temporary residents, the towering cartoon characters by Kaws will be leaving the outdoor exhibition space at the park on November 20. These are almost Disney-like figures, but each have a darker twist than your average Mickey Mouse.
They are quite a sight though, so it’s well worth getting down to the park before they leave.
As for those of you who aren’t quite as keen on modern art, if you’re a fan of the outdoors and fancy a decent autumnal walk then there’s little you can fault with the park’s trails.
All of the trails are very well maintained, there are sheep and Highland cattle wandering through the fields and the woodlands respectively, and there is a fair-sized lake you can take a good walk around too.
There is also an extended path the other side of the lake from the visitor’s centre, although we’ve never quite found the time to do it ourselves.
The feeling of not quite having seen or done everything isn’t limited to this track though. We’ve been there twice for a good few hours and haven’t even got around to seeing the indoor exhibition spaces yet.
The great thing is this means there’s always more to discover when you go back, it’s just a good thing entry to the park is free. Parking, however, isn’t. But the most you will spend is £8 for the whole day, so it’s worth fitting a few people in the car and making of the most of it.
There are cafes on site too, and although they can be a little pricy, they’re not bank-breakingly so.