Pontefract Castle is a place to discover, explore and imagine. From its construction in 1070 to its destruction following the Civil Wars, this once-fearsome fortress dominated Yorkshire and beyond, earning the nickname, "Key to the North". From battles and sieges, starvation and destruction to royal infidelity and the cultivation of liquorice, you'll be surprised at what has taken place in Pontefract!
The Key to the North project was completed in summer 2019 and on Yorkshire Day Historic England announced to hundreds of castle visitors that it would be removing the castle from its Heritage At Risk register. New areas of the site are now open to visitors. These include the Sally Port, not seen for hundreds of years, along with new paths and walkways and the opportunity to admire the imposing stonework close by.
Benches have been dotted around the site and handrails and new fences added to improve safety. For disabled visitors, the site is so much more accessible than before and allows them to visit almost all of the areas of the castle.
Work has also been completed on the 19th century barn. Once home to a blacksmith’s workshop, the barn is now a state of the art visitor centre and a central hub of the castle. Visitors can explore the fascinating museum displays and learn about the long and turbulent history of the castle. The new gift shop has a colourful range of books, toys and souvenirs and a great selection of armour for any budding knights who visit.
The Liquorice Café offers a welcome break with indoor and outdoor seating and a tempting array of delectable treats.
The historic ruins of Pontefract Castle provide the perfect backdrop for a range of exciting events and activities throughout the year. From the grandeur of the spectacular Proms in the Castle, and the wonderful wide open space for games and battle re-enactments, to the eerie darkness of the mysterious dungeon.
Pontefract Castle is a great place to visit with children. With free entry, lots of space to run and play and an action packed programme of events, workshops and activities, it offers a great value day out for the whole family.
Visitor Centre (including gift shop, museum displays, toilets and Activity Zone) open Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm (Closed Monday & Tuesday).
For more information about Pontefract Castle visit www.pontefractcastle.co.uk