Pontefract, a historic market town in West Yorkshire, is renowned for its iconic castle ruins and a vibrant blend of parks, architecture, and local shops that define its character.

Discover Pontefract

Welcome to Pontefract.

Located in the heart of West Yorkshire, this historic market town is home to the picturesque ruins of one of England’s most important castles (once known as “The Key To The North”) as well as a brace of beautiful parks, some outstanding examples of Georgian architecture, and a whole host of independent boutiques and coffee shops.

Pontefract’s got history galore – the site of the first secret ballot, this is a place where the country’s fate was decided more than once; uncover its story at Pontefract Museum.

Sports fans take note – the town is also home to Pontefract Racecourse, the longest continuous flat racing circuit in Europe.


Picture of Wentbridge House Hotel

Wentbridge House Hotel

The Great North Road, Pontefract, WF8 3JJ, United Kingdom

Tower House Executive Guest House

21 Bondgate, Pontefract, WF8 2JP, United Kingdom

The Breath Taking Cube

1-10 & 18 liquorice way, Pontefract, WF8 1BX, United Kingdom

Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel BW Signature Collection

Thorpe Lane, Badsworth,, Pontefract, WF9 1AB, United Kingdom

Barley Mow Hotel

22 Cornmarket, Pontefract, WF8 1BJ, United Kingdom

Cosy stable conversion between Sheffield & Leeds

Pontefract, WF8 3HF, United Kingdom


Ackworth Garden Centre

Barnsley Rd, Ackworth, Pontefract WF7 7NB

Pontefract Racecourse

Pontefract Racecourse, Pontefract Park, Park Road, Pontefract, WF8 4QD, United Kingdom

Fact Pack – Pontefract, West Yorkshire

  1. Pontefract is a historic market town in West Yorkshire, England.
  2. It is known for its medieval Pontefract Castle, which played a significant role in the English Civil War.
  3. The town is famous for the production of Pontefract Cakes, a type of liquorice sweet.
  4. Pontefract’s name is derived from the Latin for “broken bridge”, referring to a bridge that was destroyed in the early Middle Ages.
  5. It was once the site of a Roman settlement, known as Lagentium.
  6. Pontefract has three railway stations, providing good transport links to other parts of the country.
  7. The town is home to Pontefract Racecourse, one of the longest horse racing tracks in the UK.
  8. Pontefract is part of the City of Wakefield district and is represented in parliament by the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.
  9. The town has a population of approximately 30,000 people.
  10. Pontefract is also home to the New College Pontefract, a sixth form college with a high reputation for its A-Level results.

Getting to Pontefract – Map

Pontefract is found in between Knottingley, Castleford and Featherstone, handily positioned at the crossing of the M62 and M1 motorways, making it extremely accessible by a motor vehicle.

It’s south east of Leeds, which is only 15 minutes away, and directly East of Wakefield, which is even closer, making it within easy reach of much of West Yorkshire.

Pontefract FAQ’s

What’s Pontefract famous for?

Pontefract is known for its rich history, including Pontefract Castle, which played a significant role in the English Civil War. It’s also famous for its licorice production, with the Pontefract Cake (a type of licorice candy) being a local specialty.

Who was killed at Pontefract Castle?

Catherine Howard and Thomas Culpeper were both executed in 1541 for treason against King Henry VIII, who had been visiting the castle.

How can I get to Pontefract in West Yorkshire?

Pontefract is well connected by road and rail. It has three railway stations – Pontefract Monkhill, Pontefract Baghill, and Pontefract Tanshelf. By road, it’s accessible via the A1(M) and M62 motorways.

Where Next after Pontefract?

Take a trip to see “Cas Tigers” Rugby League, at Castleford, or head for a day’s shopping in Leeds. If its adventure, or family activities you are after, just outside Pontefract, next to the motorway, you can spend some time in Xscape Yorkshire where you’ll find real snow, climbing experiences, great food and drink, across the road from the outlet shopping at junction 32.

Alternatively, you could explore the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, which offers stunning landscapes, charming villages, and plenty of outdoor activities. If you’re interested in history, don’t miss the chance to visit the medieval Skipton Castle or the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire, a Victorian model village. For literature lovers, the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, where the famous Brontë sisters lived and wrote, is a must-visit. All these destinations are within easy reach and offer a taste of the diverse experiences Yorkshire has to offer.