Category Archives: England

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

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.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park5

Yorkshire Sculpture Park4

Yorkshire Sculpture Park1

Yorkshire Sculpture Park13

Yorkshire Sculpture Park16

Yorkshire Sculpture Park14

Yorkshire Sculpture Park10

Yorkshire Sculpture Park8

Yorkshire Sculpture Park7

Yorkshire Sculpture Park2

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.

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London4

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

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London3

Cell (Eyes and Mirrors)

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London2

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

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London1

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

Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Tate Modern London

Untitled (1996). Bourgeois 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.

Bingley Circular Walk via St Ives Estate

This Bingley circular walk, via the St Ives estate is around 8kn in length and takes 2-3 hours, depending on pace. There are some ascents and mud proof footwear is advisable.

bingley walk 32

I started this in the town of Bingley, about 15km NW of Bradford where we stayed in April 2016. Parking in the town centre permitted me to cross the River Aire at the Old Horse pub, immediately turning right again to walk by the riverside.

bingley walk

Keeping straight and slightly uphill for about a mile, mainly past a few equestrian farms, the path acquires a more uphill character after a metal gate. Once through a short stretch of pasture, follow the path past Blakey Cottage uphill, until a stile permits entry onto a narrow path trough bracken.

There are views of Airedale on the right as you climb the hill.
Once a wall has been reached at the top, turn left just before it and walk along for about a mile – now this is much more level!

bingley walk 8

You soon come upon the rocks known as Druids’ Altar at the top, a good place for a break with great views.

bingley walk 18

Follow track right, enter St Ives Estate, go through stile on right and follow the wooded path round the golf course. The path eventually leads downhill, with the course, then woods, on your left.

Look out for modern art in the woods.

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The path eventually reaches a fork, the right side leading to the picnic bench complete with sculpture.

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Next you’ll see Lady Blantyre’s Rock plus Inscription (if you can read it!).

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Further downhill, you arrive at Coppice Pond with its wildfowl and hop onto the road on the right you enter the grounds of the House. Further down is the Main House (now a nursing home).

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A bit further down is a car park (so, really, you can also do this walk in reverse).
There’s Pennine Bridleway sign and entry point, as this walk joins on to the very extensive, recently joined up Bridleway.

bingley walk 38

Now it’s simply a matter of following your way through woodland paths on your left for about 1 mile to arrive back at the Brown Cow.

That completes the circle, as it’s across the River Aire from the Old White Horse pub where you started. Feel like a refreshment?

bingley walk brown cow


The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation at Kings Place London

004’The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation – Self Portraiture in the 21st Century’ runs until 24 September 2016 at Kings Place London.

Upon entering, one painting looked familiar to me. That’s because it was by Lucy Jones, and I’d seen the piece in her  ‘Looking In, Looking Out exhibition at Kings Place in 2014.

Lucy Jones in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Below is a selection of my favourites at the Next Generation exhibition.

Josie McCoy in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Josie McCoy

Red Studio Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Mary Mabbutt

Tabitha Steiner Self Portrait in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tabitha Steiner

Crowd By Jiro Osuga in The Next Generation Collection is King's Pl London

Jiro Osuga

Mum of Four in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Brita Granstrom

Self Portrait with Exploding Chest in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Marcelle Hanselaar

Self Portrait by Adam Birtwistle in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Adam Birtwistle

Peter Glossick in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Peter Glossick

Elizabeth Shields in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Elizabeth Shields

Anita Klein in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Anita Klein

Self Portrait as Ornament by Charlotte Hodes in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place Londo

Charlotte Hodes

Dale Atkinson in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Deal Atkinson

The Mystic Peasant by Greg Trickery in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Greg Trickery

Night Studio Study by Eugenic Vronskaya in The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Eugenia Vronskaya

Self Portrait by Andrew Kuhn in The Next Generation at King's Pl London

Andrew Kuhn

Self Portrait by Lisa Stokes at The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Lisa Stokes

Self Portrait Neck by Tony Beanie The Next Generation Collection at King's Pl London

Tony Bevan

Frances Borden in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Frances Borden

Dora Holzhandler in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Dora Holzhandler

Isobel Peachey in the Next Generation Collection at Kings Place London

Isobel Peachey

The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation exhibition made me think about doing a self portrait. I used some of my own hair to create sheep in one of my artworks. If I save the hair from my next few haircuts and the the self portrait isn’t to large. I should have enough hair to do the job.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (mima)

After attending an exhibition by the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (mima) at the Granary Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed, I was keen to visit mima.

As I was heading south for a few days in West Yorkshire, I decided to take a short detour into Middlesborough.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art

It’s free to enter mima. There’s free parking for up to two hours at mima, but it’s free after 4pm on Thursdays ( which is mima’s late night opening). When we arrived there were no spaces in the car park. Fortunately a space was vacated after a couple of minutes.

The 2007 buildings’ glass walls make the foyer and the stairwells very light. The front of mima overlooks Centre Square.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art view onto square

There was an exhibition by Teeside born Basil Beattie entitled ‘When Now Becomes Then’. My favourites were the paintings of staircases/

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)8

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)9

The ‘Iron Lady’ photos of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reminded me of the long and bitter Miner’s Strike in the mid 1980s.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) iron lady

The ‘Centre for Social Making’ exhibition combined art, craft, technology and design. My favourite was  the model of a red and white home interior.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)5

I fancy having a large, bold mural on a wall in our home.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)4

The ‘Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise’ was an exhibition of sculptures by plantation workers in Congo.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)1

The sculptures are initially moulded in clay, and then reproduced in Belgian chocolate.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)2

I wondered if any visitors had attempted to lick the sculptures.

Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art chocolate sculpture

As I was leaving there was a live performance of poetry and dance in the foyer.

Mima is closed on Mondays. Opening hours are 10am – 4.30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am – 7pm on Thursday and noon – 4pm on Sunday.

A Photo Tour of Tate Britain London

Although I’ve been to most of the well known museums and galleries in London, I only recently paid my first visit to Tate Britain. It’s located in Millbank, on the northern bank of the River Thames.

tate britain london exterior

I was prompted to visit Tate Britain as, when I looked at a map to work out how to get to the Garden Museum in Lambeth on the south bank the Thames, I saw that it’d only take me a few minutes to walk from the Garden Museum to Tate Britain.

Before going inside Tate Britain, I ate my packed lunch in the Summer Garden.

tate britain london summer garden

Upon entering Tate Britain, I admired the Rotunda with its terrazzo floor.

tate britain london interior

A sweeping staircase leads to the lower floor from the Rotunda.

tate britain london staircase

My eye was caught by the Christina Mackie installation featuring ten 12 metre high silk nets.

tate britain london net installation

It was interesting to see Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’, which I better understood after reading about Emin’s bout of suicidal depression after a relationship breakdown.

tate britain london my bed my tracey emin

I’d previously seen Jacob Epstein’s ‘Jacob and the Angel’ alabaster sculpture at Tate Liverpool, but it’s still a powerful piece.

tate britain london jacob and the angel by epstein

I liked the vivid colours used in ‘How the West was Won’ by Donald Rodney.

tate britain london how the west was won

I was rather intrigued by a Typhoo Tea packet. An online search revealed that it was an early work entitled ‘Tea Painting in an Illusionist Style’ by David Hockney.

tate britain london typhoo tea

I wasn’t sure why Peter Black was clutching a Elvis magazine in his ‘Self Portrait with Badges’.

tate britain london elvis fan

I didn’t spot the title of this painting. To me, it resembled a foetus in its amniotic sac.

tate britain london red painting

The blade wielding character in the ‘The Nanny, Small Bears and the Bogeyman’ by Paula Rego, looked like a Red Indian about to perform some initiation rite on the youngster.

tate britain london bogeyman

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to replicate some of the positions portrayed below.

tate britain contortions

The lighting created shadows behind the ‘King and Queen’ sculpture by Henry Moore.

tate britain london henry moore couple sculpture

The wire sculptures looked a bit like squint pylons or TV masts.

tate britain london sculpturees

I highly recommend visiting the Tate Britain with its diverse collection of historical and contemporary British art. It’s open every day from 10am to 6pm.

The Mosaic Pavements at the National Gallery in London

I was intrigued by the mosaic pavements in the Portico of the National Gallery in London. They were created by the Russian born Boris Anrep, one of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of artists, writers and intellectuals most active in the first half of the 20th century.

The original mosaics, created in the late 1920s and early 1930s, portray the themes ‘The Pleasures of Life and The Labours of Life’. In the 1950s, a further set of mosaics, ‘The Modern Virtues’ was created. Some of the mosaics feature well-known figures from these periods.

Here is a selection of my favourite mosaics.

national gallery london art mosaic


national gallery london exploring mosaic


national gallery london defiance mosaic

Defiance, featuring Winston Churchill

national gallery london rest mosaic


national gallery london theatre mosaic


national gallery london christmas pudding mosaic

Christmas Pudding

national gallery london science mosaic


national gallery london engineering mosaic


national gallery london humour mosaic


national gallery london mining mosaic


national gallery london lucidity mosaic

Lucidity, featuring philospher Bertrand Russell

national gallery london compromise mosaic


national gallery london pursuit mosaic


national gallery london astronomy mosaic


national gallery london curiousity mosaic


national gallery london open mind mosaic

Open Mind

national gallery london folly mosaic


national gallery london delectation mosaic

Delectation, featuring ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn

national gallery sixth sense mosaic

Sixth Sense

If you’re visiting the National Gallery in London, make sure that you look down to admire the pavement mosaics when you walk through the Portico.

5 Places to Visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Here are my tips for five places to visit in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Wakefield Council Chamber

As I walking from Wakefield Museum to the Cathedral, the beautiful County Hall caught my eye. I decided to go in to ask if I could look around. I was in luck, as there were no meetings that day, I was able to get into the Council Chamber.

The ante-room of the Council Chamber was adorned with friezes depicting historic scenes.

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber2

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber1

Frieze in ante-room at Wakefield Council Chamber

There was a colourful talian marble pietro dure (inlay) table.

Italian pietro dure table in Wakefield Council Chamber

The Council Chamber was impressive.

wakefield couneil chamber

I assume that chair with the intricate carvings is where the leader of the council sits.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chair

I loved the chandeliers.

Wakefield Council Chamber in West Yorkshire chandelier

Wakefield Cathedral

It’s believed that there has been a church on this site since the 11th century. The spire is the highest in Yorkshire.

wakefield cathedral exterior

Inside, there are splendid stained glass windows.

wakefield cathedral stained glass windows

Wakefield Cathedral was undergoing renovation during my visit, so part of the nave was closed off.

wakefield cathedral interior

Chantry Chapel, was originally constructed in the 14th century, when the wood bridge was rebuilt with stone, is now looked after by Wakefield Cathedral.

chantry bridge wakefield

Wakefield Museum

Wakefield Museum is next to the Library.

For me, the most interesting exhibit was Edmund Waterton’s ring collection amassed during the 19th century.  Edmund was the son of Victorian explorer, conservationist and naturalist James Waterton.

wakefield museum ring collection

There’s a recreation of a Victorian kitchen

victorian kitchen wakefield museum

I thought that the lace sleeves of the 1932 satin wedding dress were pretty.

Satin wedding dress (1932) at Wakefield Museum

The dress pictured below was worn at a Victory Ball in 1919, at the end of the First World War.

Victory Ball dress at Wakefield Museum

The Art House

The Art House, which lets out studios to artists, has exhibitions and Open Days, but you should check for the dates on their website.

the art house wakefield

Hepworth Gallery

Visiting the Hepworth Gallery was the main reason for my trip to Wakefield.

hepworth gallery in wakefield1

I learned a lot about how Barbara Hepworth created her large sculptures.

hepworth gallery wakefield hepworth's studio

There was a wonderful diversity of exhibits including a Snoppy Canvas, photos of the local Rhubarb Triangle and the  metal on wood ‘Maquette, Theme and Variations’ sculpture by Barbar Hepworth (pictured below).

hepworth gallery in wakefield2

All in all, I had a great day out in Wakefield.

Walking Along Margate Harbour Arm, Prom and Beach

After visiting the Turner Contemporary, I decided to walk along the rather blustery Margate Harbour Arm, before heading back along the prom and beach to the railway station.

Droit House, which is now home to the tourist information office, sits next to the Turner Contemporary.

droit house on margate harbour arm

Tracey Emin’s neon lights installation ‘I never stopped loving you’ sits above the entrance. Emin was brought up in Margate and commented, “It’s a declaration of love for Margate from me, but also what I want in the summer – why go to Brighton for a dirty weekend – come to Margate. I want people to come off the train, I want them to walk along the seafront, I want them to hold hands and to have a snog and say ‘I never stopped loving you’.”

margate harbour arm droit house tracey emin neon light installation

As you walk along the Harbour Arm, it’s interesting to see the Grade II listed Droit House, looking as through it’s painted on the exterior of the Turner Contemporary.

looking toward turner contemporary from margate harbour arm

The BeBeached Cafe was very pink and cheerful.

margate harbour arm bebeached cafe

The Lighthouse Bar lies at the end of the Harbour Arm. It was so windy that there was no-one sitting on the benches outside.

margate harbour arm lighthouse bar

You get some of the best views back to Margate from the furthest point of the Harbour Arm.

margate harbour arm view

Across from the bar, is the ‘Shell Lady’ sculpture, based on Mrs Booth who owned the guest house at which the painter Turner stayed on his regular visits to Margate.

margate harbour arm sculpture

I was glad to get back to the relative shelter of the prom, where I admired the Art Nouveau style lights along the wall.

lights by margate beach

The recently renovated Jubilee Clock Tower commemorates Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

jubilee clock by margate beach

The long stretch of sand in Margate is divided into several beaches. Palm Bay starts after the Turner Contemporary, heading west toward the railway station. There were lifeguards on duty, but no-one brave enough for a chilly dip.

on the shoreline at margate beach

Palm Bay then merges into Walpole Bay. I hoped that I’d find some respite from the wind, by sitting in a shelter at the western end of Walpole Bay, but there seemed to be no escape.

looking out of shelter on margate seafront

I’d intended to walk further west along Margate Main Sands to Walpole Bay. But I decided I’d had enough of the great outdoors and, after stopping to take a look at the sculpture of a man staring out to sea , I headed up to the station.

sculpture on margate seafront

Kirklees Light Railway in Clayton West, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire

I visited the Kirklees Light Railway on a Sunday in mid April 2016, after I’d dropped Karen off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (in West Bretton, near Wakefield), as it’s only about 5 miles from there. The railway station was easy to turn into from the main road and there was ample free parking.

The first thing that I saw upon entering was a miniature train ride.  It cost 50p per person for three rounds of the pond.

Kirklees Light Railway1

When I visited it was Kirklees Light Railway volunteer recruitment open day, so I had to fight for photography spots with the local paper reporter, who was much better equipped for those more professional snaps.

The narrow gauge steam train was puffing and ready to go.

As I was trying to mainly get out of the official photographers’ way, I ended up walking to the train shed, where a rather forlorn-looking train (named OWL) stood quietly on its tracks. It was missing the fancy day out, when the other two trains/engines were in full and working display. so, I thought I’d give it some sympathy in the form of taking its photo.

Kirklees Light Railway engine shed

However, the friendly mechanic, a permanent member of staff, informed me that it was only on the basis of rotation that little OWL had been left out, as its tank of water (the main thing that stops the engine from overheating and melting, by turning into steam which escapes) was full – you can probably see the glass/brass water gauge in the photo, inside the driver compartment, at an angle.

Kirklees Light Railway mechanic

This train was also the reserve, having a full load of coal, in case one of the other two became somewhat indisposed.

I left the depot for a walk on the nearby bridal path, as also advised by the friendly mechanic, where, after a couple of miles I came upon a truly magnificent modern day construction. The Emley Moor Transmission Station’s 1,084-foot (330.4m) tall concrete tower. The transmission station covers Yorkshire as well as some of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Kirklees Light Railway 96

On my walk back, I even managed to spot one of the little steam trains making its way over a hill.

Kirklees Light Railway 100