Sitting along the River Calder in West Yorkshire, Wakefield is a cultural hub, with the famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth Wakefield, many come to see its beautiful art and learn about its history. With architectural gems, such as the Wakefield Cathedral and Sandal Castle, it also provides a hot-spot for history enthusiasts! If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and spend some time among the beautiful and varied wildlife that Wakefield is home to, the Newmillerdam Country Park is a beautiful site to spot some swans and coots, providing a good photography experience along the way! Here are the best things to do in Wakefield!
1. Wakefield Cathedral
In the near centre of Wakefield sits the magnificent Wakefield Cathedral, or the even grander title of the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Wakefield. Although we owe the Victorians for Wakefield Cathedral’s current appearance, restored and reopened in 1888, it has been a place of worship since the 9th-century, and has even been mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. Today, anyone can come and have an informal, 45 minute tour of this historic cathedral, with no booking required and completely free! Simply turn up on Wednesday for the 11am tour, or the 2:45pm tour! Not only is this place beautiful, but you can learn about its long history as well!
Address: Westmorland St, Wakefield WF1 1PJ
Phone: +44 1924373923
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm, Saturday: 9am-4pm, Sunday: 8:30am-4:30pm
Website: Wakefield Cathedral
2. Sandal Castle
Overlooking the River Calder, sits the ruined medieval castle, Sandal Castle. With free entry, this place offers a great day out at little cost, providing fantastic views of the river and of Wakefield, it is one of the more breathtaking sites to visit on this list! Many visitors have praised it for being gorgeous and also fascinating! Existing since the 10th-century, Sandal Castle offers a glimpse into medieval England and was even a setting for one of William Shakespeare’s plays!
Address: Manygates Ln, Sandal, Wakefield WF2 7DS
Phone: +44 1924249779
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7am-8:30pm
Website: Sandal Castle
3. Chantry Chapel of St. Mary
As a Grade I listed building under the English Heritage Registry, the Chantry Chapel of St.Mary is an ancient and beautiful monument to Wakefield’s history. Although it is only open at specific times, making the extra effort to see this place is definitely worth it. Although small, many have praised it for its beautiful stained windows, its enriching history, and the complimentary tea and biscuits along with it! Remember to check their website for open days so you don’t miss out!
Chantry Chapel of St. Mary
Address: 3 Calder Vale Rd, Wakefield WF1 5DJ
Phone: +44 1924372748
Website: Chantry Chapel of St. Mary
4. Theatre Royal Wakefield
This traditional Victorian theatre dating back to 1894 will leave you impressed with its wide range of shows and performances, not to mention its beautiful architecture. One of the few theaters remaining built by the famous architect Frank Matchum, it has remained a shining example of his work! With a mix of local talent and national/international performances, the Theatre Royal has also remained extremely popular, many reviewed it to be a great place for families, particularly with the Christmas Pantomine!
Theatre Royal Wakefield
Address: Drury Ln, Wakefield WF1 2TE
Phone: +44 1924211311
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Website: Theatre Royal Wakefield
5. Nostell Priory and Parkland
One of the more stunning sites on this list is the ancient and prestigious Nostell Priory. The foundations for this place were first laid in the early 12th-century, but the Palladian Mansion we see now, was built in 1727 but the 4th Baronet, Sir Rowland Winn, who was inspired by the years he spent traveling abroad. The inside of Nostell Priory are well-maintained and many visitors are blown away by the beauty and detail that went into creating each and every room. The surrounding parkland and gardens are great for a fantastic day out with the kids. Prices for a standard adult ticket, with access to everything is 14 USD and 7 USD for children. You can check out their website to see the great activities they have to offer!
Nostell Priory and Parkland
Address: Doncaster Road, Nostell, Wakefield WF4 1QE
Phone: +44 1924863892
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
Website: Nostell Priory and Parkland
6. Newmillerdam Country Park
This local nature reserve is located south of Wakefield and features a central lake including the Boathouse, which was built in the 1820s. Newmillerdam Country Park has existed since the 13th-century, and has remained a beautiful spot for birdwatching, with swan’s, mallard’s and coots. In the summer mouths you can even spot bats flying above the lake! Parking in very cheap for this natural haven, only costing up to 3 USD for 4+ hours, with a maximum 10 hour stay. With beautiful scenery this is a perfect spot for families and dog-walkers!
Newmillerdam Country Park
Address: 675 Barnsley Rd, Newmillerdam, Wakefield WF2 6QQ
Phone: +44 1924303980
Website: Newmillerdam Country Park
7. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Showcasing some of the best artists, locally and internationally, this open-air gallery has been often described as a Treasure Hunt, as you can easily spend hours walking around the park, finding more beautiful sculptures throughout! Being completely free, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a fantastic day out at little cost, many saying that one day isn’t enough to explore this incredible place! With no age restriction and disabled access, anyone can come and stare in wonderment at the beautiful displays, and scenery, this hidden gem has to offer!
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Address: West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4JX
Phone: +44 1924832631
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
Website: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
8. Unity Works
Created in 1867, Unity Hall has been an integral part of the community, providing a space for conferences and fundraisers, but also dances and concerts. Its popularity boomed in the 1950s and 60s, with a variety of famous bands coming into the space, such as The Ramones, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and more. It has been a key starting point for many bands starting out in the spotlight, and to this day it still showcases many big names, and artists just starting out! A great place for the nightlife, it boats a great bar and concert space at night, but also a nice cafe/restaurant during the day. If you’re looking for a fun, but also unique night out, this is a great place to go!
Address: Westgate, Wakefield WF1 1EP
Phone: +44 1924831114
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm, Saturday: 7am-11pm
Website: Unity Works
9. Wakefield Jazz
Another not so well-known place on the list, is the Wakefield Jazz Club. If you’re looking for something a little bit different and want to have an interesting evening, the Wakefield Jazz Club is a really good place to start! With a huge variety of big and small jazz bands coming to perform, the tickets are also varied in price, with some shows as cheap at 13 USD and as expensive as 30 USD, it really depends on the band you decide to go see! Make sure to check out their websites for dates and prices!
Address: Eastmoor Rd, Wakefield WF1 3RR
Phone: +44 1977680542
Website: Wakefield Jazz
10. The Hepworth Wakefield
The Hepworth Wakefield is also an amazing place to visit, with free entry, you can look at the works of many contemporary artists. The Hepworth Wakefield was built in honor of Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), one of the few female artists to reach international fame in the early to mid 20th-century. By coming here you can view some of Hepworths rarely seen works. The Hepworth Wakefield was called one of the ‘finest contemporary art museums in Europe’ by the Independent and won the Museum of the Year 2017 award! You are guaranteed a unique experience by visiting this iconic place!
Address: Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW
Phone: +44 1924247360
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
Website: The Hepworth
Art, music and culture!
If you’re a lover of art and history, Wakefield is one of the best places to go. Walking through the prestigious 16th-century rooms of the Nostell Priory, or glimpsing England’s medieval past at the ruins of Sandal Castle, will make your visit here all the more fascinating and special! If you’re looking for something more entertaining, Wakefield boasts a great nightlife for the children and the adults!
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