What is your favourite place to stay to explore Yorkshire?
Waterton Park Hotel and spa is a handsome 18th-century house and gardens encircled by a moat-like lake, so you enter it across a bridge. In 1821, Charles Waterton created the first nature reserve here, and now with an indoor swimming pool and spa, it is a great place to relax and enjoy West Yorkshire.
Beyond the festival, what are the essential places to visit?
West Yorkshire is a combination of industrial townscapes and countryside. Taking the mineshaft tour at the National Coal Mining Museum can be heart-stopping, and former coal-miner guides give an incredible insight into the reality of mining over the centuries. Newmillerdam village and country park also has its roots in industry. From there, you can take a lovely long walk around the lake.
What are your favourite restaurants?
Very close to Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the award-winning Blacker Hall Farm Shop, run by the Garthwaite family, who have farmed here for five generations. The café produce is local, delicious and very high quality, while the farm shop’s homemade pork pies, quiches, pasties and bread are seriously in a league of their own.
And your favourite bar?
The Kings Arms in Heath, a small village just outside Wakefield, is an absolute gem – as is the whole village. The Kings Arms pub is a wonderful maze of rooms and snugs, lit by gas lamps with open fires and a range, serving fabulous real ales from the nearby Ossett Brewery and others. The central grassland has been common land for hundreds of years and travellers’ ponies still graze here – tethered because there is no fencing. Encircling the common are a number of 15th- to 19th-century halls and houses.
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