Bretton Hall & Yorkshire Sculpture Park
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.
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.
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
PhotographsClick thumbnail to view full-size
My sentimental journey
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
Learn about a Yorkshire sculptor.
More about Yorkshire
- Chris Harland: The Art of North Yorkshire
Chris Harland is one of the foremost iPhoneographers, specialising largely in shooting the county of Yorkshire. See his work. Fellow photographer Andy Royston pays tribute in this article.
- North Yorkshire Coast
If you're visiting England, don't just spend your time in London. The North Yorkshire Coast is only a couple of hours away and will amaze you with its beauty. See photographs and learn more.