10 Free Family Summer Days Out in WakefieldFrom being transported 140m down into England’s last deep coal mine to experiencing the world’s first nature reserve there is something for the whole family to do and enjoy throughout the district.
From being transported 140m down into England’s last deep coal mine, exploring the ruins of one of England’s most important castles, to venturing into the great outdoors, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.
Whether you’re a visitor venturing into the ‘heart of Yorkshire’ or a local exploring the district with the kids, there are plenty of free days out to experience in Wakefield.
Here are our top 10 free family days out in the Wakefield District:
1. Newmillerdam Country Park
Newmillerdam Country Park’s breathtaking scenery and brilliant accessible paths looping around the lake makes it the perfect spot for walks. Explore the wildlife and natural surroundings of the country park. The whole family will love Newmillerdam’s Gnome Roam trail! This simple walking trail is perfect to get little ones moving as they spot the gnome sculptures and wildlife along their walk.
Located at the top of the hill, the Newmillerdam Arboretum is a great location for nature lovers to discover nature within the country park.
2. Anglers Country Park
Anglers Country Park is a vast country park located south-east of Wakefield city centre. Previously one of the deepest coal mines in the country, reaching 250 feet, Anglers Country Park has since flourished into a beautiful haven for exploring wildlife. A central lake is surrounded by grassland, woodland, and wetland, with accessible pathways great for both walking and cycling, which in turn lead to a wider trail to explore.
Little explorers can follow the Room on the Broom story trail and find the well-known characters from the famous story or run off some steam at the adventure playground.
3. The Hepworth Wakefield
Situated along the River Calder, The Hepworth Wakefield has become a landmark amongst tourists as well as locals. The Barbara Hepworth-inspired gallery offers a range of free craft activities throughout the year, as well as family activities to encourage the whole family to explore the stunning galleries.
Stack, build and play in The Hepworth Garden and be inspired by the garden’s artworks and plants. Get creative in the open air and discover the wildlife that lives in the garden. Make sure to spend the day and bring along a picnic!
Please note – The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is free to everyone. The Hepworth Wakefield gallery is free for Wakefield residents.
4. Pugneys Country Park and Sandal Castle
Pugneys Country Park is complete with mini beaches by the lake, an outdoor gym, and lots more! Children’s imaginations can run wild with the pirate themed playground. The country park is a haven for wildlife. Nature lovers can see a variety of natural habitats. Head along the Blown Away trail to see a glimpse of Pugneys’ second lake, a hive for wildlife activity.
Take a short walk up the hill to Sandal Castle and see the picturesque country park from above. Explore the medieval ruins and learn about the rich heritage the castle holds. Famous for the Battle of Wakefield, Sandal Castle is the ideal walking path.
5. Pontefract Castle and Pontefract Museum
Located in the historic market town of Pontefract, Pontefract Castle is a place of family-friendly adventure. First built in 1070, Pontefract Castle was once known as the Key to the North.
Ignite your imagination as you explore the fascinating ruins and take in the imposing stonework. Climb to the top of the keep and enjoy the surrounding views of Yorkshire. Get creative and test out your soldier skills whilst having a go at some civil war training activities around the castle. In the visitor centre, you’ll find awesome displays along with some fascinating objects found at the castle discovered throughout the centuries.
Let the little ones loose in the bespoke castle playground and let them create their own castle adventures.
A short walk from the castle, step inside Pontefract Museum’s beautiful Art Nouveau building and celebrate Pontefract’s historic link with liquorice and the captivating stories of the town’s heritage. The Pontefract Gallery tells the story of Pontefract and its people and boasts the world’s first secret ballot box plus a unique display of pf objects related to liquorice.
6. Thornes Park and Clarence Park
Wakefield is home to some amazing parks and playgrounds. Located just outside the heart of Wakefield city centre, Thornes Park and Clarence Park are complete with a bandstand, duck ponds, athletics stadium and more! The newly equipped playground ensures children can jump, swing and slide or improve their skateboarding skills.
Take a walk through the formal flower and rose gardens, discover unusual plants species, feed the ducks along the lake, and say hello to the friendly birds in the aviary. Go on an adventure to find the secret garden and see the beautiful flowers and Victorian stonework.
Looking to get the whole family active? Thornes Park also has a stadium which provides visitors a great workout space with a vast variety of equipment, fitness classes and more! Children can take part in the Junior Park Run, which happens every Sunday.
Clarence Park is home to the historic bandstand that hosts music events throughout the year such as Clarence Park Festival.
7. Fairburn Ings
If you’re looking to get the family out into the great outdoors, you’ll love RSPB Fairburn Ings. Nestled on the outskirts of Castleford, this lush green nature reserve offers an exciting place for families to create their own wildlife adventures.
Having transformed from an industrial coal face to a wild place, RSPB Fairburn Ings provides a rich habitat for wildlife and birdlife. In recent years the reserve has become a haven to a variety of rare birds – perfect for bird watching!
8. Wakefield Museum
Located just a short walk from Westgate train station, Wakefield Museum is a firm favourite and has fascinating hands-on gallery spaces. Relive the stories of people who have lived and worked in the city. Put yourself behind bars and imagine life as a nineteenth century prisoner. Play dress up and live life as a Victorian with their Victorian kitchen. You can even listen to the strange sound of forced rhubarb growing!
Moving Stories is a vibrant and interactive exhibition, which looks back on stories they’ve told over the last 100 years. Take a sneak peek behind the scenes and find out how the Museum team plan to turn an empty, old department store, into an awe-inspiring museum gallery.
As well as exciting temporary exhibitions, take part in a host of regular events and craft activities throughout the year.
Tip: Hop on the Free City Bus in Wakefield which takes you on a loop round Wakefield including stopping outside Wakefield Museum and The Hepworth Wakefield.
9. Earnshaw’s Fencing Centre Woodland Walk
Earnshaw’s Fencing Centre is home to the new nature-themed fairy trail! Children can run, learn, and explore the woodlands to discover the different species that live there. Visitors can pick up their very own trail activity sheet which will guide them along the trail. Each fairy on the trail represents a different species which lives in the woodland, and their fairy wings have been individually designed and created by local artist, Lanson Moore. The hidden fairies also have many top tips and interesting facts to find along the way. Then, make your promise to nature with the fairies’ post box. There aren’t just fairies in the woodland, follow the Footprints trail to see what else you can discover.
Burn off some steam at the fort, the playhouses or build a sandcastle in the sand pit. Take a rest at the mini art studio and look at the artwork on display by Lanson Moore.
10. National Coal Mining Museum for England
Experience the National Coal Mining Museum, the site of two former working coal mines! Venture 140m underground and hear stories from former coal miners about their careers and the industry’s fascinating history.
Back above ground, learn about the people and communities at the heart of the industry in the museum’s galleries, meet the ponies at the Pony Discovery Centre, take a trip around the nature trail, let the kids go wild in the adventure playground and more!