Wakefield Heritage

From coal mines to castles, mansions to museums, Wakefield has a rich heritage and a history stretching back thousands of years - and plenty of venues to help you explore it.

One of the great houses of northern England, National Trust Nostell is a spectacular Palladian mansion filled with treasures, from masterpiece artworks and sumptuous fabrics to an unparalleled collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture. And with the house situated in 300 acres of parkland, you can revel in magnificent views across the Lower Lake, explore mysterious native woodland, or relax in the quiet of the homely Kitchen Garden.

But heritage isn’t just about opulent furniture and taking a genteel stroll round the grounds. In fact, Wakefield’s heritage is decidedly more down to earth - literally! As the name suggests, the National Coal Mining Museum digs deep into the history of mining in the district, cataloguing and celebrating the men (and women!) who worked in some of the toughest environments to fuel the nation. Experience innovative interactive exhibits, adorable pit ponies and a daring descent underground!

Wakefield Museums and Castles let visitors discover the district’s extraordinary stories. From artefacts of ancient Roman Legions at Castleford Museum, the history of the world’s first secret ballot at Pontefract Museum or the sounds of rhubarb growing and the sight of a fearsome caiman at Wakefield Museum (and so much more besides), there’s plenty to fuel the imagination. Pontefract Castle lets visitors walk in the footsteps of kings and commoners, saints and soldiers as they explore the fascinating ruins, or be enraptured by the exciting regular events. And Sandal - once the site of the fierce Battle of Wakefield - now provides the perfect spot for a picnic with the family, along with stunning views of the countryside.

Beautiful Wakefield Cathedral is the awe-inspiring owner of Yorkshire’s tallest spire. With gorgeous Victorian interiors, this is a place of quiet contemplation, an oasis of calm right in the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It’s also frequently home to art exhibitions and community events, as well as regular lunchtime concerts. 

And from the tall to the small, have you ever noticed the tiny Chantry Chapel? One of the last surviving “bridge chapels” in England, this miniature delight is open on special days throughout the year.