72 hours in the Wakefield DistrictExtend your trip and experience everything the Wakefield district has to offer!
Start your trip by getting your bearings in Wakefield city centre. Take in the Cathedral and look up to the 247 feet spire, the tallest in Yorkshire, before exploring the gorgeous architecture of the Civic Quarter. Around the corner, find out more about the history of the region at Wakefield Museum and treat yourself to a coffee and some delicious cake at the Art House. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out their latest programme – the series of exhibition spaces, courses and workshops make it an ideal creative morning for visitors and locals alike.
No trip to Wakefield would be complete without an afternoon at The Hepworth Wakefield. The gallery, with its striking gardens overlooking the River Calder, was awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017 and takes its name from artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth who was born and educated in the city. Spend an afternoon exploring major exhibitions by the best international modern and contemporary artists and well as Wakefield’s own art collection including works by Ben Nicholson, Patrick Heron, L.S. Lowry, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
You’re sure to have worked up an appetite on your first day in Wakefield, so check out our list of the best restaurants in Wakefield City Centre.
Today let’s explore the market towns of Castleford and Pontefract. For the thrill seekers out there, or those looking to entertain kids, both Diggerland and Xscape are great options for an active and exhilarating morning out. Heritage lovers can head to the historic market town of Pontefract which is home to Pontefract Castle, the picturesque ruins of one of England’s most important castles as well beautiful parks, some outstanding examples of Georgian architecture, and a whole host of independent boutiques and coffee shops.
After all this, why not spend an afternoon enjoying the great outdoors? After a pit stop at Farmer Copleys for lunch, there’s many great options in the district to take in some Yorkshire fresh air! With over 300 acres of park just waiting for you to explore, the grounds of National Trust Nostell offer tranquil lakeside walks, a ‘secret’ menagerie garden and a colourful fragrant rose garden. Other options include water sports at the gorgeous Pugneys Country Park or the lakeside path of Newmillerdam, which is accessible to all including wheelchairs. Don’t forget to explore the Newmillerdam arboretum and take a well-deserved break at the Boathouse Newmillerdam for some afternoon cake. Finally, those with children should not miss the famous Room on the Broom Adventure Trail at Anglers Country Park!
Take in a show at Theatre Royal Wakefield. The beautiful Grade II* listed building was built by renowned architect Frank Matcham in 1894 and has been delighting audiences ever since. Whether it’s musical theatre, comedy, ballet, live bands or drama you enjoy, you’ll be sure to find something to love.
It’s your last day in Wakefield already but there’s so much more to explore! This morning, make your way to the National Coal Mining Museum to hear stories directly from former-miners about their careers and understand the roles men, women, children, animals and machinery played in the operation of the mine. Discover the historic steam-winding engine in action which pulled miners and coal from 140m underground before taking a trip to the stables to meet the pit ponies. There’s certainly something to enjoy for the whole family!
After a lunch a Blacker Hall Farm, head over to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. Situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in the world to see Barbara Hepworth’s ‘The Family of Man’ in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell. As you finish your visit, make your way to the café, find a seat overlooking the park and take a moment to reflect on what you’ve seen.