Visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park during COVID-19

October 16, 2020

Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been on my ‘must visit’ list for over 12 months now so as places are now open and in need of visitors, I planned a visit. YSP is a 500-acre outdoor art gallery with many areas to discover including some indoor galleries. Booking was easy using the eventite app and cost just £6.00 per person which also included parking!

The drive took around 1 hours and 15 minutes, it wasn’t a bad drive with not so much traffic. Arriving at YSP we were greeted by staff who took our name from the car then directed us into the car park. I’d booked the afternoon slot; 1pm-4pm, once parked up and packed lunch in hand we headed into the attraction. Entry can be made through the reception building where there are toilets, gift shop and information plus a cafe, you can also enter avoiding the building by just walking on to the paths/grass. 

I love that YSP is an open space with lots to explore, you can pick up a map of the park at multiple points throughout the park but there is no right or wrong way around, it’s all about the exploring. We entered through the visitor centre as we used the facilities but decided to check the shop out on our way back. 

Walking through the visitor centre and into the park was amazing, the sculptures that I could see where so much bigger than expected and you can get close enough to see the small details. There’s lot of space so your never near other people and everyone was staying in their bubble groups anyway. 

Around the park are a few indoor exhibitions which face coverings are required and hand sanitiser must be used on the way in; staff are also monitoring how many people enter. The indoor exhibit closest to the visitor centre housed ‘Joana Vasconcelos’ - Beyond exhibition, this is in the Underground Gallery. Inside were amazing works of art from Vasconcelos including an oversized pair of stilettos made up of saucepans, this was my favourite piece in the gallery and screamed femininity and power. 

On our way around the park we utilised one of the outdoor picnic benches to stop for lunch, we took our rubbish home as requested on YSP’s website. We had the whole bench area to ourselves so it was nice to sit and eat. 

We continued around the open air gallery being amazed by different sculptures and art pieces and wowed by others, it really was something to see so many art installations in one place. My main reason for wanting to visit YSL was to see ‘Damien Hirst’s’ sculptures that are currently being shown within the ‘Country Park’ area of the outdoor gallery. I’ve been a fan of Hirst for years, from being at art college and had seen a couple of his works in Leeds city centre last year so was eager to see more. 

Finding the Hirst sculptures took us around the wooded area of the park where wild mountain cows were roaming, this was an unexpected highlight of the day to be walking around with such beautiful creatures; it’s like we were on an adventure. Eventually we made it to the bridge and I could see Hirst’s ‘A Virgin Mother’ sculpture in all it’s glory, it was much bigger than I was expecting and was as detailed as the ‘Hymm’ sculpture that I saw in Leeds. 

I think due to only having half a day at the park (3 hour booking) we were only able to see a small portion of the park and I would like to visit again soon to see more of the open air gallery. It’s not like any gallery or exhibit I’ve visited before and for £6.00 a ticket I’m sure I’ll be back again before the year is out. 

Whilst at the park, I felt very safe, face coverings are required in all indoor buildings and galleries, queue systems have been put in place for toilets, gift shop and cafe, hand sanitising stations are placed all around the park and of course the majority of the park is outdoors in the open air; you’ve no obligation to visit the indoor attractions. 

We had a lovely Sunday at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and I’m so glad we finally found the Damien Hirst location. 

Have you been to YSP before? Are you planning a visit? 

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