The War of the Roses
The remains of medieval Sandal Castle, a Yorkist stronghold, overlook the site of the Battle of Wakefield, which was the inspiration for the children's nursery rhyme The Grand ole Duke of York. Richard of York, died close by to the castle and a memorial is located nearby. Today the castle bailey provides stunning views over Pugneys Country Park and Wakefield, where the Cathedral spire is visible.
Pontefract Castle, once one of the most important royal strongholds in England, is still under the ownership of the Duchy of Lancaster. Visitors can take in the castle remains and tour the underground magazine or enjoy many of the events that take place each year, including longbow demonstrations, outdoor theatre and heritage days.
The tallest spire to a tiny chapels
Wakefield Cathedral can be spotted from most vantage points in the city thanks to the spire which towers over the skyline. Nearby, on the medieval Wakefield Bridge, the Chantry Chapel of St Mary sits by the River Calder. The chapel, which was painted by JMW Turner on one of his tours of Yorkshire, is one of only four chantries left in England.
Explore this history of Wakefield and its people, including the Romans and Victorians and the world's first nature reserve. You could also visit the Stephen Beaumont Museum - an unusual Museum of Mental Health depicting the story of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum built in 1818.