5 Free Family Days Out In The Wakefield District

From a trip down t'pit to adventures in the open air, there's loads of fascinating fun for families in the Wakefield district...

By Vicki Smith, Digital Editor

As a mum of two children and owner of a local parenting website, I know that keeping the kids busy and entertained can be expensive! Luckily, we have lots of fun and free family days out across the Wakefield District! From museums to mining and castles to lakeside walks there’s something of interest for all families.

The National Coal Mining Museum

There’s nothing more Yorkshire than going to the pit! I love speaking to the ex-miners at the National Coal Mining Museum and their tales of years gone by. Our little boy is mesmerised by their broad Yorkshire accents and often asks me what they said. I sometimes don’t have a clue, either…

Children over the age of 5 years old can take a trip down the mine shaft and into the pit (optional donation applies) which we can highly recommend.

We usually have a set route at NCMME: First stop the adventure playground with its impressive zip line and then a run down the hill to see the pit ponies, Eric & Ernie. We’ll then wander down the woodland nature trail and pretend to fish in the little stream at the bottom of the hill before coming back up the steep hill and jumping on the train back to the visitor centre! If it’s wet, don’t worry, as there’s a small indoor soft play and home play area just round the corner from all the mining display boards.

If you’re visiting during the school holidays, there are often special themed days with crafts, science experiments and even a beach in the summer!

Anglers Country Park

We love Julia Donaldson books, and the Room on the Broom Trail at Anglers Country Park is brilliant! You can pick up a trail pack from the Visitor Centre (small charge applies), but we often just walk the trail and recount the story ourselves as my son runs from one wooden sculpture to the next. Our favourites are joining the witch on her broom and finding the cauldron.

No trip to Anglers is without a play in the play area and feeding the ducks. Both are conveniently very close to the café which serves warming hot chocolates for cold days and lots of ice creams for those days in the sun.

The Hepworth Wakefield

The last place you may think of taking young children would be an art gallery, but definitely think again when it comes to The Hepworth Wakefield! Children are encouraged to enjoy the museum and explore using things in the free exploratory tote bags and art pods in each of the galleries where they can design and make things inspired by the surrounding artwork.

In particular, our little boy had an amazing time exploring lights at an Anthony McCall exhibition.

During the school holidays there are different events too, such as multi-sensory creative play and print making.

Pontefract Castle

The thing I love best about Pontefract Castle is the different themed days they have throughout the year! At Easter they have a huge Dragon Egg Hunt with lots of Easter based activities and games which is followed by a big celebration for St George’s day with medieval music, archery, games and of course a visit by St George and the dragon. But our favourite is Hallowscream with a spooky trail around the Castle at night…

Don’t worry if you miss one of their special events as you can still go down the dungeons and run around the grounds! Make sure you check out the super castle-themed wooden play area too – it’ll keep your kids busy for a while.

Wakefield Museum

Every Saturday between 12pm and 3pm, Wakefield Museum holds a family fun time with activities, trails and crafts which are a really fun and interactive way of introducing kids to items in the museum.

If your children like dressing up, there’s a home play area with an old day’s front room and a Victorian kitchen. We like looking at the different stuffed animals and walking on top of the Caiman in the Waterton Gallery.

If you’re visiting around lunchtime, we highly recommend Create Café who are very child-friendly and serve delicious food on the ground floor of Wakefield One.

Vicki Smith is the owner of go-to parenting website for local people, The Wakefield Mumbler. If you’re looking for other ideas to do with your family around Wakefield, take a look at her Family Days Out page.

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