Discover a place where kings were made, and killed. Explore the remnants of ferocious sieges, and Victorian pleasure grounds. Imagine loyal Royalist soldiers, and enterprising liquorice farmers. Visit Pontefract Castle.
Since its construction in 1070 until its destruction nearly six centuries later, this once-fearsome fortress dominated the politics and power balance of the entire Yorkshire region and beyond, earning the nickname, “Key to the North”.
Today, the castle is a place of family-friendly adventure, with bags of wide open spaces to explore and play. As you explore the historic ruins, the castle’s information boards will capture kids’ imaginations with a series of Civil Wars Soldier Training activities that will see them solving puzzles and performing tasks as they make their way around the site.
Stand in the newly-recreated bread ovens, and be transported to a time when the castle was equipped for lavish banquets, hosting some of England's most famous monarchs.
Be brave! Descend underground to our deep, dark dungeon on one of our dungeon tours. Soak in the atmosphere of this eerie subterranean space, discover the history of the dungeon and see where Civil War prisoners left to languish scratched their names into the rock.
Discover the captivating stories of the castle - and the people who lived and worked there - in the History of Pontefract Castle displays. Kids will love the selection of dressing up clothes as they recreate some of these fascinating true tales.
Keep little minds entertained with a selection of free activity sheets in the Activity Zone: colour in some beautiful but simple illustrations, and have a go at easy to use paper models.
The Activity Zone is also the site of regular craft and activity sessions, including the monthly Castle Crafts for under 5s, plus a massive range of themed activities during the school holidays.
Outside the visitor centre, nature enthusiasts will be fascinated by our herb garden, as they go on the hunt for bugs and minibeasts, while little adventurers can spark their imaginations with the new adventure play area, featuring exciting equipment including a battering ram swing, drawbridge, ramparts, cargo nets, two slides and more!
And after all that, the whole family is bound to be ready for some refreshment - so take a break at the Liquorice Cafe, with a well-deserved cuppa and a freshly-cooked treat.