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Make the most of the outdoors during coronavirus with al-fresco museums and art galleries

COVID risks are much lower outdoors – so get out and enjoy some fresh air.

But your choices are not limited to beaches and woodland walks – there are also al-fresco museums and art galleries. Booking ahead is often a must, though. David Whitley unearths some gems to explore . . . 

Make the most of the outdoors during coronavirus with al-fresco museums and art galleries

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Make the most of the outdoors during coronavirus with al-fresco museums and art galleriesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Around 80 sculptures are set in sprawling park­land near Wakefield.

The woods, streams and tiny bridges make for a great stroll, but the al fresco art makes the park special.

Around 80 sculptures are at Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield

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Around 80 sculptures are at Yorkshire Sculpture Park near WakefieldCredit: JONTY WILDE

Try the four-mile circular route that takes in most of the best work. Big names include Henry Moore, Ai Weiwei and Jaume Plensa.

Look out too for Marialuisa Tadei’s mosaic octopus and Sophie Ryder’s huge hare.

Entry costs £6. See ysp.org.uk.

Beamish Open Air Museum, Co Durham

The famous open-air museum boasts several sections, including a 1900s town, pit village and colliery, plus a 1940s farm, as it tells the story of life in the North East from the 1820s.

The buildings have one-way systems in place while outdoor attractions include woodland clearings, pit ponies, Georgian-era gardens and a Victorian railway station.

Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham boasts a wide variety of outdoor attractions

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Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham boasts a wide variety of outdoor attractionsCredit: North News and Pictures

A year’s entry pass is £19.50.

See beamish.org.uk.

Weald & Downland, Living Museum,West Sussex

“Discover 1,000 years of English rural life” is the catchcry for this attraction, in woodland near Chichester.

Its aim is to preserve traditional buildings in the South East.

Discover 1,000 years of English rural life at Weald & Downland, Living Museum in West Sussex

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Discover 1,000 years of English rural life at Weald & Downland, Living Museum in West Sussex

That means a thatched house here, a wooden barn there, plus a water mill, sawpit and joiner’s shop.

Plus there are demonstrations of traditional skills such as weaving. £14 for adults and £6.50 for under-17s.

See wealddown.co.uk.

Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands

As with many other open-air museums, the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has plenty of reconstructed buildings.

They have been arranged to create a canalside village with houses and shops.

The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has a number of reconstructed buildings

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The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has a number of reconstructed buildingsCredit: Alamy

Elsewhere are two preserved collieries and lime kilns, but the charm is in the detail here.

Scattered around the site are historic postboxes, boats and trolleybuses.

Entry costs £19.95 and must be pre-booked. See bclm.co.uk.

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Bucks

Since the 1970s, the museum, in Chalfont St Peter, has been rescuing historic buildings under threat of demolition.

The aim is to show a traditional Chilterns village landscape.

Chiltern Open Air Museum offers something for the whole family to enjoy

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Chiltern Open Air Museum offers something for the whole family to enjoy

Rebuilt buildings include a tin chapel a, furniture factory and a cart shed.

A popular filming location, including for TV’s Midsomer Murders, the museum also offers sensory trail maps, an adventure playground, a working farm plus a cherry orchard.

Entry costs £5. See coam.org.uk.

Surrey Sculpture Park

More than 650 sculptures are on display – though they aren’t quite as gigantic as the works in Yorkshire’s collection.

A two-mile trail around well-kept gardens weaves around most of the exhibits and the emphasis is on modern works. Many are for sale.

More than 650 sculptures are on display at Chiltern Open Air Museum

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More than 650 sculptures are on display at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Along the way, you might spot a skeleton lugging a heavy roller, a cartoonish figure riding a dinosaur or a sleeping pig in this attraction, near the village of Churt.

Dogs are welcome if kept on a short lead.

Entry costs £11.20. See thesculpturepark.com.

This Morning travel expert suggests visiting lockdown-hit Wales

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