Simon Wallis - My Yorkshire Weekend

PUBLISHED: 12:37 02 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:09 20 February 2013

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield - Photograph by Jonty Wilde

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield - Photograph by Jonty Wilde

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield gallery, paints a picture of his perfect weekend

My wife Deborah and I moved to Leeds from London with our two children Maya and Joseph four years ago when I got the job as director of The Hepworth Wakefield. And the change in the quality of our life has been dramatic and very much for the better.

My father rightly believed children should always go on regular long walks in all weathers and it helped develop my love of the countryside, which makes living in Yorkshire such a delight.

At the weekend, we particularly love walking on Ilkley Moor with its combination of big sky, the view overlooking the dale and town, and the great expanses of moorland. When the heather is out, its almost a supernatural landscape. And I find its timeless feel is the perfect accompaniment to a pint of Black Sheep at the Cow and Calf.

We also enjoy popping over to the coast, particularly Scarborough as it has everything a seaside resort should have and more.

The weekend usually includes a visit to The Hepworth. I love taking family and friends for breakfast at the gallery and seeing how impressed they are with the art and architecture, the regularly changing contemporary exhibitions and all the kids activities.

From The Hepworth its a short trip to the inspirational Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which were so lucky to have as a near neighbour, followed by a quick bite at Blacker Hall Farm, where the food is superb.

When we have to go shopping I like to go to Harrogate where there are more independent shops and the streets are a pleasure to stroll around. I think its a shame that most UK high streets look the same, but Harrogate has the balance right. Kirkgate Market and the Victoria Quarter in Leeds are also pleasingly unique and add hugely to the quality of city life.

On Sunday, we enjoy walking around the stunning lake and gardens at Harewood House, which hosts superb art exhibitions and offers wonderful views of Capability Browns landscape with its red kites circling and hovering in the sky above.

Eating out is a big part of our life in Yorkshire, and a weekend meal at The Cow Shed in Wakefield is always a pleasure. The Kings Arms, just a few minutes south of The Hepworth in Heath, is a wonderful pub with great beer and impressive architecture.

I like the friendly bustle of Salvos in Headingley as its a real neighbourhood restaurant with good Italian food. And Akbars in Leeds also has great cooking to remind us of the complex flavours curries should have.

The Hepworth Wakefields new spring exhibition, featuring the work of Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe, runs until June 10th. For details, visit

The print version of this article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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