It’s frequently claimed that the arts and cultural life of the UK revolves around London; that visitors, funding and innovation sit unfairly weighted within the capital. However, there are many incredible attractions outside of the capital, including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a hugely rich hub for art and sculpture, but most excitingly the landscape which surrounds it is so integral to its offering, making it uniquely special.
A new visitors’ centre has been built recently, providing a wonderful hub to your visit, with great coffee and a brilliant shop, and therefore somewhere perfect to shelter from any possible inclement weather [not that Yorkshire would ever suffer from that…].
There are a huge variety of sculptures from a number of artists, including Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst, and Henry Moore, and we particularly loved some of the more colourful artworks and how they were offset against the slightly grey day. Below is Niki de Saint Phalle’s Buddha:
Mottisfont Abbey started life as an Augustinian priory dating back to 1201. From this, it was transformed by Lord Sandys into a large house; this family also owned The Vyne, also in Hampshire, and divided their time between the two properties.
You might not think of the City, London’s financial district, as being the best place for a touristy visit. It’s true that there are a lot of people in suits pushing past you at the tube exit gates, and a Pret on every street corner, but we’d really recommend a trip to discover some more hidden secrets. It’s near to well-known historical sights, like the Tower of London, the Monument and site of the Great Fire of 1666, but also a more modern attraction, the Sky Garden. [It’s also quite interesting to walk around at the weekend when it’s almost surreally quiet!]
Located at the top of a skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street (nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its shape), the Sky Garden is on the 35th floor. Once you’ve whizzed up in the lift, there are three storeys of indoor landscaped gardens featuring plants from all over the world, observation decks (although these are sometimes closed depending on the weather), two restaurants and a bar.