Things to do in Wakefield
I've been to many places in the world, but my favourite place is home, or rather, Wakefield! I know it inside and out so feel free to ask me any questions you have about exploring this wonderful city that has everything from museums to gardens, parks and even shopping centres. Take your time browsing these pages for all of the information you need on what's happening right now in our town and things that you can do in Wakefield.
History of Wakefield
Wakefield is a market town and parish in the metropolitan district of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Wakefield has an estimated population of 81,000 - making it one of the largest towns in England outside London. Wakefields's history dates back to Roman times when its centre was on Castle Hill overlooking settlements below where there are now houses; however recent archaeological investigations show that this area too may not have been built upon until late medieval times.
In the 18th century Wakefield became a boomtown due to woollen manufacture around which much of its present-day industry still depends with companies including Schofields as well as more specialist engineering firms such as T&H Group operating from here. In 1725 Jesse Carver invented the roller spinning process in Wakefield.
The town was known as 'Wakfeld' (with the spelling altering with sound changes to become Wakefield) until it became a market centre and parish name in its own right during Norman times, when Wakefields would have been made up of eight hamlets including South Elmsall which is now part of Pontefract district
The Prince of Wales Museum is located on Clarence Street, Wakefield and has a lot to offer for all ages. It's open from Tuesday-Sunday but closed on Mondays and Bank Holidays. The museum features four galleries: Natural History, Yorkshire Life - which includes items related to the county's natural history as well as many other aspects of life in the region including farming
practices, food production and manufacturing; North East Industrial Heritage – this gallery reflects Wakefield’s industrial past with exhibits showcasing local industries such as coal mining, textile manufacturing or engineering; Contemporary Art Gallery - features UK artists alongside international exhibitions; World Cultures Gallery – shows artefacts from cultures across the world highlighting their different customs and traditions.
The Wakefield museum is found on Kirkgate and has been providing the people of Wakefield with educational, cultural, entertainment and social benefits since 1879! There are plenty of exhibits to see in this historic building which reflect Wakefield's history from its industrial heritage to the agricultural side as well as telling stories about how life was lived over centuries ago. There's also a gallery full of paintings such as some rare works by artist John Constable - evidence that Wakefield has always attracted visitors who come here just to enjoy culture too!.
Wakefield Transport Museum tells you all about transport through time including an amazing collection of horse-drawn carriages, trams and all sorts of buses. Wakefield Museum is also the perfect place to go if you want to learn about Wakefield's history from its agricultural roots, through industrialisation and into modern times - for example with an exhibition telling stories about Wakefield's famous footballers!
Wakefield offers a variety of museums to its visitors including: the Wakefield Museum & Art Gallery which houses an impressive collection of fine arts as well as local history; The David Taylor Model Engineering Collection - one of only four in Britain and with over 3000 items spanning from 1887 up until 1970 – it is believed that this museum has been instrumental in preserving these treasures for future generations.
Wakefield Steam Centre on Foss Road which celebrates the engineering marvels created during Victorian times by showcasing some 70 working machines such as steam engines, traction engines and various other types. Another popular museum worth investigating are the collections at Nostell Priory - Europe's largest house built before 1700.
Wakefield's National Coal Mining Museum is one of only two museums dedicated to coal mining anywhere in Europe - it comprises a fantastic assembly of machinery, photographs and other artefacts all related to Wakefield’s own long history as an industrial centre.
The Old White Horse Tea Rooms
Situated on Kirkgate Market Square, The Old White Horse Tea Rooms offers delicious homemade cakes to go with your tea or coffee. You can choose from an array of different flavours as well as seeing how they make their own candy floss right next door.
Nunnery Wood Garden
Whilst looking through these picturesque gardens you will find plenty of hidden treasures such as traditional houses set deep within medieval woodland paths that offer tranquillity away from any busy city life; perfect to just sit back and relax after a long journey.
Oakwell Hall Farm Park
This is a great day out for the whole family with lots of animals and beautiful scenery to admire, including the groups of rare wild Fallow deer that roam around Oakwell Hall's grounds. You can also enjoy walks in Nunnery Wood or Kirkgate Market Square when you're finished!
Ice Shepherd Arena
If your children are anything like mine then they will be absolutely fascinated by any kind of ice skating show. I know my daughter is! There are plenty to choose from at Ice Shepard Arena so it won't matter if your child has their favourite already picked out, because there'll always be something new on offer.
Tea & Cakes
Who doesn't love tea cakes? The Old White Horse Tea Rooms are a perfect way to relax after your walk around the city, and they even have outdoor seating when you want to enjoy some fresh air with your beverages and snacks.
The Wakefield Cathedral
The 12th century Wakefield Cathedral is the largest and oldest in Yorkshire. It has a beautiful, medieval feel with its impressive Norman architecture and it houses some amazing treasures including an ancient bible that was written on animal skin parchment. The cathedral also features one of England's few stained glass windows by artist Adrian Boult made up of hundreds of small pieces called Quire Plate Glass - this can be seen from both inside and outside the building. Built during 1135-1154, Wakefield became an important place for Christianity when John Wesley preached there regularly throughout his ministry between 1811-1891 to crowds numbering thousands who travelled long distances hoping to hear him speak about his religious beliefs such as salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, rather than through good deeds. The Wesley Monument can be seen on the top of a hill in Wakefield and is worth seeing if you are visiting the area.
Sport in Wakefield
One of Wakefield's most well-known sports clubs is Wakefield Wildcats, who play rugby league in the Super League competition. The club came into being when Wakefield Trinity and Castleford decided to merge their teams into one new entity on 29 January 1898. Today they are based at Belle Vue Stadium with a capacity for 16,000 spectators.
Wakefield is home to several other sporting facilities including: Pontefract Road Tennis Club; Wakefield Cricket Club (CCC); Wakefield Golf Course; Wakey Indoor Bowls & Leisure Centre - which includes an eighteen lane bowling centre as well as squash courts and climbing walls among its amenities; Wakey West Yorkshire Athletics Academy – where youngsters train from grassroots level up to international level, Wakefield Athletic Club and Wakefield Table Tennis Club.
Wakefield has a variety of shopping options: Wakefield Market Hall, Wakefield Quayside Retail Park and Wakefield Kirkgate Shopping Centre to name just three. The Wakefield Kirkgate Shopping Centre is the biggest out-of-town retail centre in Europe; it's also one of only two Grade I listed buildings in Wakefield. For something more traditional, head for Wakefield Market Hall which dates back to 1871. It offers everything from fishmongers, butchers and bakers to specialist antique shops. Here you'll find that this market hall has been open every day since 1919! Wakefield Quayside Retail Park has some fantastic high street names, and Wakefield Market Hall is also a short walk from Wakefield Trinity's ground.
Wakefield has public transport options that are dominated by buses and trains with the railway system being much more comprehensive than the bus service which largely focuses on local routes.
The Wakefield line operates commuter services to Leeds from Wakefield Kirkgate Station via Castleford Railways station. Services operate every 30 minutes during peak times but a reduced service on less busy times.