50 Things To Do Before You're Five - Pontefract Castle

Tick off a selection of 50 Things activities at this once-mighty fortress!

Louise Bragan, Wakefield Museums & Castles

Wondering what you could do at Pontefract Castle with your children as part of your 50 Things to Do Before You’re Five list? These suggestions will help you tick off a selection of activities on a visit to this once-important fortress. Travel back through the castle’s history with the friendly castle team. From a wander around the site looking for minibeasts to learning Makaton signs, there is lots to offer families with younger children.

If you’ve never heard of 50 Things To Do Before You’re Five, it’s time you got started – 50 Things To Do Before You’re Five is a collection of no-cost or low-cost activities for families in Wakefield with young children, giving them great suggestions for how to have fun and learn at the same time. The app has lots of ideas for you to do with under 5s, including Local Links and Events sections, and it’s completely free to download!

Dressing Up!

Number 6 – Rhyme time

How many rhymes can you sign or say together that link to castles? Here are some suggestions:

  • Humpty Dumpty
  • The Grand Old Duke of York
  • I’m the king of the castle
  • Old King Cole
  • The Queen of Hearts
  • Sing a song of six pence


Number 9 – Minibeasts and Bug Hunting

Visit the herb garden to see what wildlife is visiting the castle. Will you spot a ladybird and hear the buzzing bees?


Number 11 – Making Connections

Find the castle kitchen and imagine you are cooking up a feast for a royal visitor. Where were the fires and ovens? How would the castle kitchen compare to your kitchen at home?


Number 13 – Shout and Shhh

There are lots of different spaces to explore around the castle. Does you voice sound the same on the bailey as it does by the sallyport? Shout like a soldier, sign like a bird or quietly buzz around like a bee. What other noises can you make around the castle?


Number 15 – Dressing Up

There is a small amount of dressing up costumes for you to try on in the visitor centre. Or why not come and visit already dressed up to impress? The team at the castle would love to see what castle characters you can dress up as!


Number 18 – Dance!

Did you know dancing has been a popular activity throughout history? Pop up to the bailey and grassed area in the middle of the site for a large space to break out those moves. Perhaps you will set of a new dance craze!

See It Live!

See It Live!

Pontefract Castle, one of the picnic opportunities in Wakefield

Pontefract Castle

Number 19 – Growing, Little People, Plants and Things

Take a great big sniff of history with the castle’s magnificent medieval herb garden. There are lots of plants and trees growing around the site for you to see. Throughout the year the site changes with each season.


Number 23 – See it Live!

Pontefract Castle offers lots of events and activities during the year. See the what’s on page to find our what is coming up soon, https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/museums-and-castles/museums-and-castles-events/


Number 24 – Hop, Skip and Jump

Walking is fun but how about moving around the castle in different ways? Take up the challenge to hop, skip and jump around the site. Which is your favourite way to get around?


Number 29 – Pitter Patter

Even on a wet or rainy day the castle is a good place to visit. In summer listen to the pitter patter of the rain on the tree leaves. There may also be a puddle or two to take a jump in – don’t forget your wellies!


Number 30 – Yummy Picnic

For those warmer days, bring your very own yummy picnic to enjoy. There are lots of picnic benches around for you to sit and chat with family or friends. The castle even has a café and shop on site if you would like to buy drinks and snacks while you’re visiting.


Number 37 – Show and Tell

Pop into the visitor centre to discover objects found at the castle that give some clues about the past. From cannon balls to siege coins, what will you discover?

Number 39 – Talking Signs

Keep an eye out for Makaton signage around the castle. Learn how to sign dragon, castle or even garden and share this way of communicating with your friends.


Number 40 – Happy History

First built in 1070, Pontefract Castle was once known as the Key to the North. Take some time to explore what is left of this once-important fortress. Marvel at the views across Pontefract from the castle’s viewpoint. Pick up a site map to discover areas and look out for information boards around the site, too.


Number 44 – Animals Nearby

Pontefract Castle is home to lots of creatures, but you have to look or listen carefully. From birds and squirrels nesting in the trees to insects in the herb garden, what will you find? On some special days you might also catch a glimpse of the castle’s friendly dragon called Ilbert.


Number 45 – Wonderful Waiting Games

You can play a few games whilst visiting the castle. Some of the team’s favourites include:

  • I-spy
  • Duck, Duck, Goose
  • Simon says
  • Clapping games like Hot Cross Buns


Number 49 – Grass Gazing

Have you ever laid down on the grass and looked up at the sky? Pop to the middle of the castle to have a go. Watch the clouds drift past and see what shapes they make and change into.


Have you got more ideas for things for other families to do at the castle to tick off 50 Things activities? We would love to know what else can be enjoyed during a visit to Pontefract Castle! Connect with us on social media to share your ideas.


Further information

Pontefract Castle also a visitor centre, shop, café and children’s playground.

Check online for the opening times at https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/museums-and-castles/pontefract-castle/visit-pontefract-castle/

Please note that the Castle Grounds, Castle Coffee Shop, Visitor Centre and Gift Shop will be closed on the following dates due to events:

  • Friday 14 July from 1pm
  • Saturday 15 July and Sunday 16 July all day
  • Saturday 23 September all day


There is a regular programme of events and activities at the castle throughout the year. Click here for info on upcoming events.

To keep updated on all things coming up at Pontefract Castle, follow their Facebook page here.


Find out more about Pontefract Castle:

On Experience Wakefield

On the Wakefield Council website.