For art lovers, there is the City Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, one of the world’s leading open-air galleries where a changing programme of international sculpture can be seen in the setting of a magnificent country park. Recent improvements to the Park include an underground gallery, visitor centre, shop and large restaurant - all the ingredients for a great day out. In 2011 the Hepworth gallery will open on Wakefield’s regenerated waterfront and present a major collection of twentieth century British art works, with a collection of sculptures by locally-born Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore as its centrepiece.
The Wakefield District is rich in historical sites, from the ruined splendour of Sandal and Pontefract Castles to Nostell Priory, a superb eighteenth century stately home packed with fine art and furniture and surrounded by a landscaped park and gardens. For those more interested in Britain’s industrial heritage, a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum is a must, allowing you to take an underground tour, explore the science of mining via interactive models and touch-screen displays, and even meet the pit ponies!
Theatre-goers will want to check out Wakefield’s Theatre Royal and Opera House’s extensive programme of music, drama and dance. Film buffs are also well catered for at the multi-screen cinemas in the District.
If your hobbies are more energetic, you’ll find plenty to do in the Wakefield District, including facilities for golf, bowling, angling and swimming. There are sports centres, including the Thornes Park Athletics Stadium and skate park near our Thornes Park Campus, or you can try out canoeing, windsurfing or sailing at Pugneys Country Park. For the more adventurous, there is a wealth of facilities at the Xscape Leisure Centre at Castleford including a real snow indoor ski slope, indoor skate park, arial assault course, rock climbing zone and more. Alternatively, just stroll through one of the District’s many country parks, taking in the scenery and watching the wildlife.
Those who enjoy shopping will love the Outlet Shopping Village near our skillsXchange campus with its huge range of big name brands at discount prices and numerous places to eat and drink. There are also traditional markets around the region and, in Wakefield itself, a stunning new market hall and the Ridings Shopping Centre, currently undergoing a major refit.
Night-owls will be pleased to hear that Wakefield is famous for its night life, with pubs, clubs, discos and bars to suit all age groups and budgets. There are also numerous country pubs and restaurants which offer quieter evenings out and you can choose from traditional Yorkshire home cooked fare to the cuisine of many nations.
The city commands a position in the centre of country, making it easy to reach by car, bus or train. There are two railway stations, and a regular intercity rail service provides a speedy link between Wakefield and all points of the country, with the journey to London or Edinburgh taking just over two hours. There is an excellent local bus service within the Wakefield District, including a free city bus.
We look forward to welcoming you to Wakefield. Make the most of the District’s many amenities - they’re there for you.