Wakefield Essentials

Welcome to Wakefield. Located in the heart of Yorkshire, at the crossroads of the M62 and M1, and just 10 minutes from Leeds by train, this little district, and the city that shares its name, is home to award-winning galleries and museums, is a centre for culture and creativity, boasts innovative food and drink venues, a vibrant live music scene, breathtaking green spaces and much more. 

The Hepworth Wakefield and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (both recipients of the world’s largest museum prize – the Art Fund Museum of the Year award) celebrate the district’s links to two sculptural titans of the 20th century, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, showcasing their work as well as  international collections and touring exhibits.

And if that hasn’t scratched your art-shaped itch, why not take part in Artwalk? This bimonthly creative extravaganza features pop-up exhibitions, live music, performances, poetry and so much more in quirky and unexpected venues across the city. 

If art’s not your thing, no worries - Wakefield’s got plenty more to offer. If you’re a heritage buff, the district’s got deep roots. Why not pay a visit to National Trust Nostell? This spectacular Palladian mansion houses a stunning array of treasures, from masterpiece artworks and sumptuous fabrics to an unparalleled collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture.

Or if your tastes are more down to earth (literally), what about the National Coal Mining Museum? Head 140 feet underground for a tour of the country’s last deep coal mine, take in innovative exhibits, or even meet adorable pit ponies!

Wakefield’s a special place for architecture, too. Our Theatre Royal is a fantastic place to see world-class performances (including their cracking annual pantomime), but it’s also a brilliant example of Victorian design by famous architect Frank Matcham - it’s actually his smallest surviving auditorium. 

And speaking of smallest... have you visited our Chantry Chapel? Small but perfectly formed, this tiny temple is one of only three bridge chapels left in the entire country.
We do, of course, have a rather larger place of worship in the city - mighty Wakefield Cathedral’s lofty forms display the best of a blend of medieval and Victorian architectural styles (as well as being the proud owner of Yorkshire’s tallest spire, and home to avant-garde art pieces and tranquil concerts). 

We do festivals, too, and we’ve got something for every season. The tail end of winter sees us going gaga for a certain pink vegetable at the annual Rhubarb Festival - taking over the city for a whole week, it’s an eclectic mix of food, drink, art, heritage, live music, comedy and performances. 

Then in spring, it’s time for Long Division. This vibrant love-letter to independent music brings together the perfect balance of established artists with up and coming acts at venues all over the city. The summer sun is (hopefully) beating down when we get to Seaside in the City. As the name suggests, this fabulously fun festival turns land-locked Wakefield into a day at the beach, with tempting summer treats, thrilling street theatre and - of course - an enormous sandpit!

Then in autumn, get your writer’s cap on for WordFest, a celebration of the written word, with workshops and events taking place across libraries and other venues throughout the entire district. 

So if you’ve not visited Wakefield yet, all we can say is, what the ‘eck are you waiting for? Come and see us; you’ll love it here.