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The Hepworth Wakefield

Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW 01924 247 360

We say

Leeds has done its best over the years to appropriate famous sons and daughters, but eminent sculptor Barbara Hepworth (graduate of Leeds School of Art, like Henry Moore) was definitely a Wakefield lass, from the next city on (about 14 miles south of Leeds). She’s celebrated in Wakefield’s astounding contemporary art gallery – the largest modern purpose-built exhibition space outside London – and you’ll see works by her here, as well as changing shows by contemporary artists and sculptors. The riverside building, by David Chipperfield Architects (who also designed Margate’s Turner Contemporary), is a modernist stunner. Come the third Thursday of the month, there's late-night shopping, food and art (until 9pm), when the gallery, shop and cafe-bar stay open.

You say Average Rating ★★★★★

Not your average art museum ★★★★★

A great take on modern art inside the Hepworth, not what we expected at all so a pleasant surprise. If visiting with children, I would suggest looking on the website first to see if there are any special events running, last time we went during an event, they had so many hands on (free!) activities to get involved in as a family, so a day really enjoyed by everyone. Worth a visit if in the area!

The Hepworth Wakefield reviewed by on April 1st, 2014

Hepworth surprises ★★★★★

A lovely and surprisingly big gallery - in spite of the incongruous setting in the run-down riverside district of Wakefield, the building manages to impress visitors - it's a sophisticated contemporary take on gallery space, which breaks things up into digestible chunks and fits into the landscape of mills and industrial buildings quite nicely - there are some nice little viewpoints from the sides of the building overlooking the waters of the river Calder. They have a good permanent collection based on the works of Barbera Hepworth and her contemporaries and some large auxiliary galleries which hold temporary exhibitions. The temporary exhibitions are of the quality and breadth you'd find in the big London galleries like the Tate Modern - a breath of fresh air for Wakefield and Yorkshire. Along with the Yorkshire Sculpture park nearby, this is a must for art lovers visiting the area. 

There's also an interesting little Chantry, also on the river, which you can see across the busy traffic on the modern road bridge to the east, peaking up from the second bridge down the river, so once you're finished with this gallery wander over and take a look at the Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, which is one of the 4 remaining bridge chapels in Britain and still holds services on the first Sunday of every month. Though there is not really anything else of interest to tourists in Wakefield, save the Chantry and perhaps the Cathedral, it's worth a trip from Leeds for this gallery alone - only 20 minutes on the train or by car from Leeds.

The Hepworth Wakefield reviewed by on January 21st, 2013

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Admission free, parking £3.50


  • Café
  • Events & Activities
  • Gift Shop
  • Parking
  • Wifi

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  • Family-Friendly


Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; also open school hol and bank hol Mon<br>

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