Since its founding around the time of the Norman invasion, Wakefield has grown to become a commercial and cultural centre of what is now the Wakefield district. Its ancient Cathedral – whose origins date back to the formation of the town - dominates the centre of town. The district has a large number of markets and shopping centres, as well as many events – such as the Rhubarb Festival – scheduled throughout the year, drawing both locals and tourists alike.


Wakefield’s 14th Century Church of All Saints Cathedral stands tall at the centre of town – its 247 ft crocketed spire the tallest in Yorkshire. The Cathedral is known for the elaborate wood carvings throughout its length, as well as the stained glass windows, which are the work of Victorian stained glass designer Charles Eamer Kempe. A 'Discovery' audio-visual tour is available, as well as a full guided Cathedral tour with advance booking.

In February, the city hosts its annual Rhubarb Festival, drawing 10,000-strong crowds from across the UK and mainland Europe. The four-day event hosts such treats as a National Coal Mining and Rhubarb Tour, Rhubarb forcing sheds that demonstrate the art of rhubarb floral arrangement, wine making and a traditional rhubarb farmers market. Surprisingly popular, the festival is certainly worth a visit if you are in the city around this time.

Pontefract Castle lies 13km to the east of the city and offers the chance to see the remains of the castle, complete with an underground magazine (military store) chamber and on-site working blacksmith. The castle has had a long and eventful history since its foundation following the Norman conquest of Britain. It became a royal castle in 1399, was prisoner to Richard II who died there, and survived three sieges during the English Civil War. Also hosting regular ghost tours throughout the year, the castle is definitely worth a visit.


Wakefield city centre may not have the consumer appeal of larger cities such as Leeds, but its compact and pedestrianised central shopping area is sufficiently stocked with a combination of brand names and market stalls. The indoor Ridings Shopping Centre deals with the larger shops, and the traditional open-air market provides specialist goods. There are also seven regular markets within driving distance in the Wakefield district, providing around 1,000 stalls in total.

A short distance out of town is the snappily-named Castleford Junction 32 Outlet Shopping Village, touted as Europe’s largest shopping village. Since it is an outlet centre, prices are often heavily reduced in near continuous sales, so it is worth a visit to pick up a few bargains.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Though West Yorkshire isn’t famed for its culinary diversity, there are enough restaurants in the centre of Wakefield to suit most tastes – from fish restaurants to Thai cuisine – at affordable prices. There is no shortage of pubs and bars in the centre of town either, the former being more common however. The oddly-named Bar Chocolate at the centre of town with a fine selection of bottled lagers and cocktails is definitely worth a look.

The city hosts two Cineworld Cinema complexes, the nearest in the Westgate Retail and Leisure Park. If theatre is more your cup of tea, the town has two venues providing a mix of amateur and professional work. Noteworthy is the Wakefield Theatre Royal at the heart of town, showing a wide spectrum of dramatic programmes from Comedy to Opera.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information Centre9 The Bull RingWakefieldWF1 1HBTel. 0845 601 835tic@wakefield.gov.uk


Manchester Airport is the largest airport near Wakefield, and is located 93km away to the West. The airport houses 95 airlines flying to over 180 destinations worldwide.Manchester Airport: 0161 489 3000

Leeds Bradford International Airport lies 32km from Wakefield and is accessible within 45 minutes by car. It operates within the UK and short and long haul flights to European countries.Leeds Bradford International Airport: 0113 250 9696

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