Category Archives: England

List of articles with tips for things to do in England; top English attractions, sights and museums.

The Hepworth Gallery Wakefield

The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield opened in 2011. The gallery is named after the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who was born in Wakefield.

hepworth wakefield exterior

The gallery is situated on the souther bank of the River Calder. Large windows afford great views of the river.

hepworth wakefield view to river

It was interesting to see a mock-up of Hepworth’s studio and watch videos about her work, particularly how she created enormous outdoor sculptures such as ‘Single Form’ which sits outside the United Nations Building in New York.

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Hepworth used several different materials for her pieces including wood, marble, string and bronze. Below is ‘Two Forms with White (Greek)’ made with Guarea wood.

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You can see use of string in the model of ‘Oval Form with Sting’. I like the pattern created by the sting in the hole of the sculpture.

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A model of ‘Winged Figure’. commissioned by John Lewis for their Oxford Street store, is at the back of the photo below.

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Below are some more sculptures by Hepworth.

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There were several exhibitions of photos by Martin Parr when I visited.

The ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ depicted the production of early-forced rhubarb in West Yorkshire.

hepworth wakefield rhubarb triangle collection

Evidently, rhubarb craft beer which had been brewed in coincide with the exhibition was for sale in the gallery shop. As a teetotaller I wasn’t tempted.

hepworth wakefield rhubarb triangle

‘Autoportrait’ was a display of photos of Martin Parr in a variety of locations.

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Here are some photos of other pieces that I liked at the Hepworth.

In this piece the man had what looked like black rocks for brains.

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I thought that the Snoopy canvas was cute.

hepworth wakefield snoopy canvas

I liked the way that the Laburnum, visible through the window, provided a backdrop for the sculpture.

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I thought that the Hepworth Gallery was wonderful.

I’s free to enter. Opening hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday). Late night opening until 9pm is on the third Thursday of the month.

Photo Tour of Highgate Cemetery London

Highgate Cemetery in north London was one of these places that I’d been meaning to visit for decades. One of the reasons I selected the Ramada Hotel Finchley for my London accommodation was that it was bus ride from the hotel to the cemetery.

I’d looked at the Highgate Cemetery to check opening hours before I visited. I was rather annoyed that there was a £4 entry fee, as it’s free to enter most cemeteries in the UK. Evidently the fee is charged as Highgate Cemetery used to be owned by a private company. When it folded in the 1970s, the cemetery fell into disrepair, until it was taken over by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, a registered charity.

The most well-known grave in Highgate Cemetery is that of Karl Marx.

highgate cemetery karl marx grave

However for me the most striking gravestone was the one below, which looks like a woman clutching a body.

highgate cemetery sculpture of two people

Despair was the sentiment which came to mind when looking at the sculpture of the man with his head resting on a stone

highgate cemetery sculpture of man with head on stone

The full size piano sculpture was pretty impressive.

highgate cemetery piano gravestone

I liked the gravestone sculpture below of a young woman holding flowers; the folds in her dress made it look as though she were standing in a breeze.

highgate cemetery gravestone of young woman

The floral engraving on the cross of the gravestone below are beautiful.

highgate cemetery cross gravestone embellished wiht flowers

There were plenty of gravestone sculptures of angels in Highgate Cemetery,

highgate cemetery angel

highgate cemetery angel gravestone

highgate cemetery angel gravestone covered in ivy

highgate cemetery young warrior angel gravestone

highgate cemetery angel gravestone in sun

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At least the £4 entry fee contributed to the upkeep of the pristine toilets.

highgate cemetery toilets

I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by Highgate Cemetery. It’s described as “one of England’s greatest treasures with some of the finest funerary architecture in the country”. I’ve visited other cemeteries, such as the Old Town Cemetery in Stirling and the Howff Cemetery in Dundee, which I found more interesting and were free to enter.

Open Exhibition 2016 at Berwick Watchtower Gallery

The Open Exhibition is on at Berwick Watchtower Gallery until Friday 2 December 2016.

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I entered my Sheep in Heather at Dusk collage, pictured below, which was hung alongside Morag Eaton’s Julien’s Vegetables panorama.

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You can vote for your favourite piece at the exhibition. I cast my vote for the Three Tin Cans by David Stuart, pictured below.

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Here is a selection of my favourites from the Open Exhibition at Berwick Watchtower Gallery.

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Recycled Sea by Jane McComb

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White Rabbit by Kath Turnbull

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Lindisfarne Castle by Sue Littlefield

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College Valley by Ken Spencer

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Dancers in the Wings by Lisa Murray

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Disenchantment by Gill Walton

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Duddo Stone Circle at Sunset by Jancis Courtney

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Stag by Frank Doyle

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Having a paddle Coldingham by Hugh McGilvray

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Kio by Sakina Jones

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Loch at Dawn by Daniel Knox

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Mental Scars by John Cairns

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Parting of the Waves by Jill Arthey

The Berwick Watchtower Gallery is open Thursdays to Sundays 12 – 4pm during exhibitions.

 

The Laing Art Gallery Newcastle

The Laing Art Gallery is located in the city centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Entry is free. Opening hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 2pm – 5pm on Sunday.  It’s closed on Mondays.

Laing Art Gallery Newcastle entrance

I loved that the Gallery has several al fresco murals on one of its exterior walls.

Laing Art Gallery Newcastle exterior painting

Laing Art Gallery Newcastle painting on exterior wall

Close to the Gallery entrance, there’s a bench sculpture.

Laing Art Gallery Newcastle sculpture bench

One of my favourite parts of the Laing Art Gallery was the Arts and Crafts stained glass window.

Laing Art Gallery Newcastle Arts and Crafts stained glass window

The glass vases were beautiful shades of blue and green.

Glass vases at the Laing Art Gallery Newcastle

Below is a selection of paintings that l liked.

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If you’re in Newcastle. I recommend a visit to the Laing Art Gallery.

First Light exhibition by Louise Cattrell at the Granary Gallery, Berwick upon Tweed

The First Light exhibition by Louise Cattrell is on at the Granary Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed until 29 January 2017.

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‘First Light’ was commissioned by Berwick Visual Arts as part of the International Print Biennale taking part across the north east of England in October 2016.

All my favourites in the ‘First Light’ exhibition were paintings. I loved the luminosity of the pieces.

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Fowlers Rest by Louise Cattrell

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Phantasie en Suisse I and II by Louise Cattrell

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Martinmas by Louise Cattrell

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Rock Isle by Louise Cattrell

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Sea Rock by Louise Cattrelll

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Silver Bass by Louise Cattrell

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Thames by Louise Cattrell

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Tower by Louise Cattrell

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Zephyr by Louise Cattrell

If you are in the the north of Nortumberland in the next three months, I recommend that you go to see Louise Cattrell’s ‘First Light’ exhibition in Berwick upoin Tweed. The Granary Gallery is open 11am –  4pm Wednesdays to Sundays. Admission is free of charge.

Photo Tour of Camley Street Natural Park London

The Camley Street Natural Park is located close to King’s Cross Station. I happened to spot a sign for it when I was in the area, and decided to take a look.

The park was created in an old railway coal yard which was saved from redevelopment in the 1980s.

camley street natural park map

The park has a visitor centre with toilets. In Summer, there’s an outdoor cafe

camley street natural park visitor centre

I liked the art on the exterior of the visitor centre. There was a ladybird.

camley street natural park ladybird art

It looked as though the bee’s wings were made from honeycombs.

camley street natural park bee art

One side of the Camley Street Natural Park is bordered by Regent’s Canal.

camley street natural park barge in canal

There’s a ‘Floating Forest’ garden on an old barge moored in the park.

camley street natural park floating forest

There are a couple of ponds in the park.

camley street natural park pond

There was a pretty blue and purple feathered moorhen with a red beak wandering around.

camley street natural park bird.

It was early Spring during my visit, so everything was a bit barren, and it was too cold to sit on the benches.

camley street natural park

The park is close to the rail tracks, which is reflected in the train mural.

camley street natural park mural

There’s an ‘Outdoor Living’ area which looked as though it could cater for a large party.

camley street natural park outdoor living area

The Camley Street Nature Park is open daily from 10am to dusk, or 5pm, whichever is earlier.

Visiting Alexandra Palace in London

I finally got around to visiting Alexandra Palace in north London this year.

alexandra palace

It first opened as an entertainment venue, known as the People’s Palace, in 1873. It was named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra, But it burnt down in a fire only 16 days after opening. The rebuilt Palace opened in 1875.

I first heard of Alexandra Palace when I was a child. That’s because part of the building was leased to BBC, who made the first TV broadcast through the BBC Tower mast in 1936.

alexandra palace information board on first TV broadcast in 1936

The BBC Tower is a real landmark. I could see it from my bedroom at the Ramanda Hotel Finchley.

bbc tower alexandra palace

There are plans to turn the derelict former BBC studios into a visitor centre, and to reopen the historic theatre.

bbc tower at alexandra palace

Around the corner from the BBC Tower, there is an indoor ice rink. I tried to get in to take some photos, but there were entry barriers.

alexandra palace ice rink

At the opposite end of Alexandra Palace is Palm Court.

alexandra palace palm court entrance

There are public toilets and a bar/restaurant (open every day) which has seating in Palm Court, as well as in a large outdoor courtyard.

alexandra palace palm court

There are some good views over London down towards Canary Wharf from outside Alexandra Palace.

There’s an enormous circular stained glass window along the side of Alexandra Palace.

alexandra palace stained glass window

It was too cold for me to linger in the Alexandra Park, I only stopped briefly to look back at Alexandra Palace and the BBC Tower.

alexandra palace and the bbc tower

The Shibden Valley from Halifax: A Circular Walk

This walk is about 5 miles long, with some uphill sections.

From the centre of Halifax, you can choose to start either near the railway station (pay parking, free toilets) and walk through the shopping centre to Kirkgate (5-10min), or look for parking near Kirkgate.

The walk starts at Kirkgate. Right on to Bank Bottom; cross Hebbie Brook at the bridge and head uphill for about 200 yards, cross the road and enter a cobbled lane (Southowram Bank), from which you get a great view back to Halifax,

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Walk uphill, until the path forks onto another cobbled footpath, go right and emerge on a proper, metalled road.

Cross at the right of an industrial building (Aquaspersion) onto another cobbled path (Magna Via which is pictured below).

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Cross the gate and bear left, looking at Shibden Valley (in photo below) to your left and keep left at the next fork.

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113. Downhill path through Shibden valley
After about 100yards, a narrow walled track through hedgerows to the left leads downhill and eventually through a new housing estate.

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Cross the road and enter another downhill path, just by the entrance to a farm, on your right – this entry point is pretty easy to miss.

Eventually you walk under a railway line and into Shibden Park.

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This is a lovely space, complete with rowing lake, mini-railway and children playgrounds.

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A circular walk through the park, possibly stopping for a coffee, prior to walking up to the Elizabethan Shibden Hall, is highly recommended.

Shibden Hall

You walk uphill past the Hall, exit the park and meet a road. Turn right, walk on pavement to Lister Road Bridge.

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At the left of the bridge, take the steep steps downhill, then follow the pavement downhill. When you meet another road, you will be able to retrace your steps through cobbled Southowram Bank back to Halifax.

Visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in West Yorkshire, is located south of Wakefield, one mile from Junction 38 on the M1.

There’s no entry charge, but you do have to pay to park, which costs £2.50 for up to one hour, £5 for up to two hours, and £8 for all day. There are number plate recognition cameras at the park entrances. I’d recommend that you pay for all day parking, as you could easily spend 3-4 hours at the Park.

My husband dropped me off and picked me up. I checked with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and there is a 15 minute grace period for enable drop-off and pick-up.

Below is a selection of my favourite pieces as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Do try to pick a dry, not too cold day to visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as you need to walk around quite a bit to see all the sculptures. I didn’t have time to walk up to Longside Gallery.

There are designated picnic areas. I was glad that I had take my own food and drink, as the cafes were very busy.

It can get very muddy close to the sculptures, so unless it’s been dry for a few weeks, I’d advise you to wear wellies or boots/hiking shoes with a good grip.

Visiting the Switch House at the Tate Modern

Even if you are not a fan of modern art, I recommend that you visit the viewing balcony on the 10th floor of the Tate Modern’s Switch Tower for some great views of the London skyline.

shard from from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The Shard to the right of the photo

View from the 10th floor balcony at the Switch House Tate Modern London

The City of London skyline including the Walkie Talkie to the right

On the way down from the 10th floor of the Switch House, I stopped at the Artist Rooms to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition, which runs until June 2017.

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Cell XIV (Portrait), reminds of Munch’s The Scream

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Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)

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Single 11 (the suspended figure), A l’infini (16 paintings on wall)

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Spider (1994), spiders were one of Bourgeois’ favourite topics

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London

Untitled (1996). Bourgeosi created several work using items of clothing

Tate Modern is open until from 10.00 to 22.00 Thursdays to Saturdays and 10.00 to 18.00 Sundays to Wednesdays.