Step back in time and explore the history of Castleford from the Bronze Age to the present day. Young and old alike will find a trove of treasures to investigate, and fascinating...
Full disclosure: it is not always beautifully sunny with azure blue skies in the Wakefield district. If you need to take a moment to administer yourself some smelling salts following that shock statement, that’s fine. We can wait.
Anyway, with this in mind, it is always good to bear a few rainy day activities in mind, just in case you visit Wakefield in a downpour. Thankfully, there is plenty to keep you entertained under cover while you wait for the storm to pass. Take a look at these indoor activity options in the Wakefield area:
You could quite happily rock up at Xscape, just off Junction 32 of the M62, at 6 in the morning and stay until 10pm without ever having to set a foot outside in the wet weather. Now, how’s that for a rainy day plan?
There are a host of great activities to take part in. From kicking back and letting Hollywood’s finest entertain you at the Cineworld cinema to bouncing off any excess energy at the Gravity trampoline park. From releasing your inner 4D glow-in-the-dark Rory McIlroy at the 4D glow-in-the-dark golf course to hurling yourself downhill on a pair of wooden planks at Snozone.
If you didn’t know, “wooden planks” is the more technical term for skis. Probably.
The irony of escaping inclement weather by heading into an activity that generates real snow is not lost on us. But this way, you do it on your own terms. Plus, you can stop and head off away from the white stuff to grab some food and a warming hot drink any time you like.
With Burger King, Domino’s, Starbucks, Subway and plenty more food outlets, you’ve got the three main meals of the day covered, as well as brunch, elevenses and afternoon tea if you like. All without the risk of plunging your foot in a puddle by accident.
If you find yourself in the city centre when the heavens open, you could head to The Hepworth Wakefield for cover and culture rolled into one. With more than 5,000 works of art to peruse, there is plenty to keep you entertained during even the most persistent and long lasting storm.
Obviously, it is not for us to brag, but the gallery features numerous pieces from two of the most important artists of the 20th century, both of whom hail from the Wakefield district. Take in the wonder of some of Henry Moore’s most revered sculptures, as well as an array of works from Barbara Hepworth, after whom the building is named.
Then, once you have soaked in some of the stunning works, refuel before you attempt the rest with coffee, sandwiches and cake from the gorgeous café.
At weekends and in school holidays there are free activities for kids with workshops and explore and draw stations that will keep them busy and maybe inspire them to become the next Moore or Hepworth. Just make sure you stock up on modelling clay to help them create their future masterpieces!
Yes, sheltering under a roof is an effective way to escape the rain, but in Wakefield we can do even better than that. How about travelling 140 metres underground? Now that’s how you avoid a soaking in style!
One of the highlights of a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum, just off the M1 at Overton, is the underground tour, led by a real former miner. You get an hour and twenty minutes with your guide, heading down into the pit and finding out about the history of this proud Yorkshire industry. It may well take you away from the rain, but that is not to say that the conditions are particularly toasty. It can drop to 12 degrees down there, so take a jumper when you go. Which is standard Yorkshire advice for whenever it feels a little ‘parky’.
There are plenty more indoor activities to explore at the NCM as you find out about the history of mining and the men, women and children who worked down the pits. Yes, children. That will shock your kids! And if the rain does clear for a while, there is a nature trail, adventure playground and the stable yard, where you can meet some real pit ponies too.
Also, there is a café serving a wide range of locally sourced food and drink products. Guaranteed to be a whole lot more tasty than the bread and dripping the miners used to take underground with them.
If you want some variety as you scarper from the deluge outside, Pontefract Museum can deliver. You are not likely to find anywhere else that can provide you with treasure from the Civil War, a piece of British political history and the story of liquorice all in one building!
The Ackworth Hoard is the only one of its kind in the Wakefield district and is a sight to behold. It consisted of 52 gold coins, 539 silver coins and a single gold ring, all inside a jug that was found in a garden in Ackworth. Some of the items from the hoard, which appears to have been owned by a Royalist in the Civil War, are on display at the museum and well worth seeking out.
It being Pontefract, there has to be a display about the local delicacy – liquorice. You will also find the first ballot box used in this country to elect an MP by secret vote. In 1872, those lucky enough to have the vote in the town became the first to place an X on a piece of paper to show their preferred candidate, sending H.C. Childers to Westminster. Before that, citizens had to declare their vote in public, which was less than ideal. Pontefract led the way in popularising the voting method we still use today and, of course, the seal on the ballot box to ensure there was no tampering was made with local liquorice. What else?
These are four ideas of rainy day activities in Wakefield but there are plenty more besides. It proves that you can always find something fun to do around here, even when the grey clouds gather. Come and visit and find out for yourself.
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