Andrew Bonacina, chief curator at The Hepworth Wakefield. Photograph by Hannah Webster

Insiders’ Guide: Andrew Bonacina, chief curator at The Hepworth Wakefield

What are the essential places to visit?
People think of Wakefield as very urban, yet you can find yourself in dramatic countryside within a few miles of the gallery. This is one of the things that struck both Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore when growing up nearby. For an authentic experience of what those artists would have seen, you must visit the striking Brimham Rocks. About an hour’s drive north of Wakefield will take you to these giant prehistoric rock formations that were a lasting source of inspiration for both artists.

In Wakefield, try to catch a performance at the intimate Theatre Royal, designed by architect Frank Matcham with one of his smallest surviving auditoriums.

Where would you recommend to stay in Wakefield?
We often put artists and visitors up at Oulton Hall Hotel and Spa. It is an 18th-century mansion house with impressive gardens situated between Wakefield and Leeds, so a great base for visiting both cities.

What are your favourite restaurants in the city?
Just a short walk from the gallery towards the city centre is Duchniak’s Restaurant & Coffee Shop, an authentic Polish restaurant serving freshly cooked, plentiful dishes. If you are in the city centre exploring Huma Bhabha’s sculpture, I would recommend Corarima, an Abyssinian restaurant serving gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes prepared by Ethiopian and Eritrean chefs. It’s welcoming, family run and, if you are in a hurry, they also do amazing lunch boxes to take away.

And your favourite bar?
It has to be Fernandes Brewery Tap. It is a great family-owned pub just a few minutes’ walk from The Hepworth Wakefield that specialises in real ales brewed in Yorkshire – and great pork pies. We always take artists there for a post-install drink, and it is everything you could want from a Yorkshire pub.

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