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Bretton Hall & Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Updated on June 17, 2015
Bretton Hall and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Bretton Hall and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Source

A sculpture park, stately home and nature reserve

This wonderful English gem in the county of Yorkshire is a fabulous place to visit.

I feel that I have a personal connection with it, but more of that later.There's something about the combination we have at Bretton which works so well - a magnificent eighteenth century mansion set in beautiful Yorkshire countryside with the unexpected bonus of modern sculpture throughout the grounds. Plus, the area is also a nature reserve.

It's easy to get to too, from anywhere in the country. The M1 motorway will take you almost to the gates.

Plus, there are so many other wonderful places to visit in the area and of course, some excellent hotels and snug country inns serving delicious food. What are you waiting for? Put it on your must-see list.

Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Bretton Hall

Bretton Hall
Bretton Hall | Source

What a magnificent property. When my mum was child,she lived within a stone's throw of the hall. She often spoke about Viscountess Beaumont - who lived in the house with her husband - telling me how kind she was to the village children.

The house was built in the 1700s and used as a home until it became a college in later years. There is no tour of the interior but it's splendid to admire the exterior and the outbuildings. (Watch for the Camellia House).

Here's a little trivia that everyone but me seems to have forgotten. Many of the exterior scenes in the 1969 film Women in Love were filmed here.You're walking in the footsteps of Oliver Reid, Alan Bates and Glenda Jackson.

The sculpture park

I don't know who had the idea of creating the sculpture park but it was a brilliant move. Yorkshire countryside is beautiful and in the Bretton Park grounds it was enhanced by renown eighteenth century landscape designers.

Today, it is fascinating to turn a corner and find example of modern sculpture. The nearest city is Wakefield which has a special bond with the art of sculpture. Barbara Hepworth attended the same school there that I did (many years before me!) and the city has an extensive gallery dedicated to her work.


The Stately Houses, Palaces & Castles of Georgian, Victorian and Modern Britain: A sumptuous history and architectural guide to the grand country ... and maps From George I to Elizabeth
The Stately Houses, Palaces & Castles of Georgian, Victorian and Modern Britain: A sumptuous history and architectural guide to the grand country ... and maps From George I to Elizabeth

Yorkshire has an huge number of stately homes, castles and magnificent mansions.This book is an excellent companion to road trip or simply a way to learn more



Click thumbnail to view full-size

My sentimental journey

Haigh, West Yorkshire. Jebb Lane.
Haigh, West Yorkshire. Jebb Lane.

The right hand section of the pair of cottages you see here is where my mum was born and brought up. The grounds of Bretton Hall begin just a few yards away and when she was young, what is now the sculpture park was her playground.

When we were young, she would take us there often - to places no-one else knew about like the shell house. This is a small stone building and the interior is covered in shells collected by the viscount and his family during their travels. When you visit, try to see if you can find it.

She particularly loved the gorgeous cascade bridge too. Throughout her life she would visit often. When she died in 2006, we made it her final resting place and scattered her ashes there.

Stay in a stately home

Fabulous mansions are everywhere in Yorkshire. This is the Waterton Park Hotel which is a wonderful place to stay and just a few miles from Bretton Hall.

It has all the modern amenities you'd expect but as an added bonus, it was formerly the home of a Victorian era naturalist and traveller, Charles Waterton. He was quite a nutcase and made strange creatures using taxidermy. Many of them are in Wakefield museum, just a couple of miles away.

The Black Bull or the Old Post Office

These are the two pubs that are close to Bretton Hall. Both are good and serve food. (I think I slightly prefer the Black Bull but that might just be me being sentimental).

Both are typical country pubs.What makes me feel old is that I remember the Old Post Office when it really was the local post office.

Take a video tour

I think you'd love this hotel

Barbara Hepworth

Learn about a Yorkshire sculptor.

Yorkshire sculptor Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters: The Gift to Wakefield
Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters: The Gift to Wakefield

Her work was groundbreaking and fascinating. This book will certainly interest all art lovers.She was particularly known for the passion that she put into her work - she was thoroughly dedicated to her art.



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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I know it well - we used to go to Scissett baths :) Small world!

    • stereomike83 profile image

      stereomike83 3 years ago from UK

      Realised I never responded to this when it was at Squidoo. Inlaws live in Scissett just down the road.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @stereomike83: Cool - do they live in Bretton? My dad does :)

    • stereomike83 profile image

      stereomike83 4 years ago from UK

      We drive past the sculpture park every time we go to see the in laws as they live the next village over but surprisingly have never been in. Perhaps I need to rectify that!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I would love to see this - beautiful!

    • egdcltd lm profile image

      egdcltd lm 4 years ago

      Interesting to see places I've been - the Sculpture Park, Waterton and, I think, the Black Bull.