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Wakefield Group Travel Guide

A group travel guide to the Wakefield district, with venues, accommodation and suggested itineraries, alongside information about getting here.


Newcastle York oore Foundation. Blackpool Leeds Hull Manchester Liverpool WAKEFIELD Birmingham Motive No.2, Upright Motive No.7, 1955-56. Courtesy the Henry M Cambridge London Bristol Cover: Henry Moore, Upright Motive No.1 Glenkiln Cross Upright

Wakefield – A place of endless possibilities The Wakefield district, and the city that shares its name, are filled to the brim with reasons to visit. Whether it’s a day trip or a full weekend, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – read on to explore a destination of endless possibilities and our best group offers. Making up two “points” on the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, Wakefield has developed a reputation as the European City of Sculpture. The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (both recipients of the world’s largest museum prize – the Art Fund Museum of the Year award) have their home here. These must-visit venues celebrate the district’s links to two of the 20th century’s sculptural titans, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, showcasing their work as well as remarkable international collections and exciting touring exhibits. The district is also proud of its heritage and boasts an impressive pedigree. Why not pay a visit to National Trust Nostell? This spectacular Palladian mansion is one of Yorkshire’s great houses, situated in resplendent parkland, offering a variety of walks. Or if your tastes are more down to earth (literally), then you’ll love a visit to the National Coal Mining Museum for England. A love-letter to the district’s mining history, you can head 140 feet underground for a tour of the country’s last deep coal mine or take in innovative and interactive exhibits. The district also offers great options for shopping days out at the Junction 32 Shopping Outlet or Trinity Walk, and adventure aplenty for the whole family at Xscape and Diggerland Yorkshire. Foodies can explore a plethora of farm shops, including Farmer Copleys and its year-round programme of events, as well as Ossett Brewery, which offers tastings and tours. Finally, Wakefield is home to mesmerising yearly festivals. Whether it’s the Rhubarb Festival in February, the Pontefract Liquorice Festival in July or Light Up in November, there’s always something happening! Read on to find out more… Only 2 hours by train to Less than 1 hour drive to... London! Leeds York Sheffield Bradford Less than 2 hours drive to... Blackpool Manchester Liverpool Newcastle Birmingham 3

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A DAY IN THE CITY The Hepworth Wakefield 6 Experience Wakefield - Itinerary inspiration

Wakefield Cathedral Wakefield has a broad range of attractions and a huge array of independent shops selling experiences for groups; here are a few ideas to anything from beauty and fashion to handcrafted help you get started with your planning! gifts and delicious foodie treats. MORNING LUNCH Start the day with a visit to Wakefield Cathedral. After a long morning you’ll need some Towering above the skyline, you can see the 247ft refreshment. The city centre has a wealth of spire from miles around. A great landmark to help independent cafés, bars and restaurants offering you get your bearings! Take in the peaceful anything from a mouth-watering Yorkshire atmosphere and enjoy a guided tour of the afternoon tea to gluten-free Abyssinian cuisine. beautiful Cathedral, see historic artefacts and a stunning collection of stained glass by Charles AFTERNOON Kempe. After refuelling, your next stop is The Hepworth Wakefield, an award-winning art gallery on the After your tour, spend some free time exploring city’s historic waterfront. Pre-book a tour of the the city. You could make your way to through the latest exhibition or the gallery’s permanent Civic Quarter, taking in its beautiful architecture on collection. A knowledgeable guide will accompany the way to The Art House, a creative space for you through the gallery, providing insight into artists and makers with a programme of inspiring some of the remarkable works on display. After exhibitions and workshops, and an excellent little coffee and cake in the café, take some time to visit coffee shop! the Hepworth Wakefield Garden, a beautiful tranquil space combining sculpture with nature; If you’re after some retail therapy, you are spoilt the perfect place to end your busy day! for choice! The city has two shopping centres, and 7

A WEEKEND IN WAKEFIELD ey National Trust Nostell, Inside of house – © NT images/Chris Lac 8 Experience Wakefield - Itinerary inspiration

National Coal Mining Museum for England DAY ONE DAY TWO MORNING AT YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK MORNING AT NATIONAL TRUST NOSTELL The perfect place to begin your weekend is the idyllic Begin day two with a visit to the magnificent setting of Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). Here you’ll National Trust Nostell. Spend the morning embark on a special Art and Landscape Tour, where discovering the treasures within the 18th-century YSP’s experienced guides will help you explore the Palladian mansion, marvelling at its elaborate range of outdoor sculptures on display including works interior design, paintings by world-renowned by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. A visit to The artists and an impressive collection of Thomas Weston with its light-filled restaurant and beautiful Chippendale furniture. Beyond the house explore terrace is a great place to relax after your tour. beautifully manicured gardens and lakes set amid 300 acres of surrounding parkland and woodland. AFTERNOON AT THE NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM AFTERNOON AT FARMER COPLEYS Take a pre-booked underground tour guided by one of the National Coal Mining Museum's charismatic former Before heading home, take a trip to Pontefract to miners as they share stories of the history of mining visit Farmer Copleys, an award-winning farm through the ages. If you prefer to stay above ground, shop and café. The shop is packed full of local you’ll find a range of fascinating galleries, industrial produce, fresh from the fields or the local area. buildings and woodland to explore. Pop by and say The farm’s Moo Café is an absolute treat to end hello to the pit ponies, a highlight of any visit! your visit. Using the finest quality ingredients in their seasonal menu (the majority from the farm shop!), the café is sure to have something EVENING delicious to suit everyone in your group. Relax in your hotel of choice (suggestions on pages 29 to 31) or take in a show at Theatre Royal Wakefield. 9

ART & SCULPTURE tesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park th Estate. © Bowness, Hepworth Estate.. Photo Jonty Wilde, cour © Barbara Hepworth, The Family of Man, 1970. Lent by the Hepwor 10 Experience Wakefield - Art & Culture

The Hepworth Wakefield The Hepworth Wakefield is an award-winning art gallery in the heart of Yorkshire, set on Wakefield’s historic waterfront. The gallery presents major exhibitions of the best international modern and contemporary art and has dedicated galleries exploring Barbara Hepworth’s art and working process. Pre-booked tours are available to groups. Choose from a 45- minute tour of the permanent collection displays, or a 45- minute tour of the temporary exhibition(s) across four gallery © Jason Ingram spaces. The gallery also welcomes self-directed groups, but do ask that you let them know at least two weeks in advance to ensure your group has the best possible experience. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm Exhibition entry is £12 / £10 FREE for Members, Wakefield District residents and under 18s [email protected] © Nick Singleton 01924 247360 Yorkshire Sculpture Park Founded in 1977, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) was the first sculpture park in the UK. Explore 500 acres of beautiful landscape, unique historical features, five indoor galleries, a permanent display of outdoor sculptures, and a changing programme of special exhibitions. YSP is an ideal location for group visits, offering a range of fascinating talks and guided tours for all ages, abilities and interests. Groups can enjoy freshly cooked food at pre-reserved tables in YSP’s Kitchen restaurant overlooking the Country Park or pick up a picnic The Weston at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Courtesy Feilden Fowles and YSP © Peter Cook bag to eat while exploring the art outdoors. Open daily, 10am – 5pm, except 24–25 December Group bookings £9 per adult (25s and under free) / pre-booked tours and catering available [email protected] Henry Moore, Large Two Forms, 1969. Courtesy The Henry Moore 01924 832508 Foundation. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park 11

FESTIVALS & EVENTS Wakefield Rhubarb Festival 12 Experience Wakefield - Festivals & Events

Wakefield Rhubarb Festival Wakefield’s Rhubarb Festival paints the city pink every February! The event is one of the first food and drink festivals in the national calendar and it promises to start things off with a bang. Visitors can pick up incredible regional delights at the famous food and drink market with over 60 traders before exploring the city’s incredible selection of cafés, bars and restaurants in the food and drink trail. There's non-stop street entertainment, live music, family workshops and a chance to learn from the best in free celebrity chef demos. February half-term weekend 16-18 February 2024 Free, coach parking available [email protected] 13

Pontefract Liquorice Festival Pontefract Liquorice Festival celebrates the town’s historic link with liquorice. The family-favourite event has something for everyone to enjoy, including the renowned food and drink market. Visitors can explore the stalls and purchase everything from tasty treats to quirky gifts and homeware that you just won’t find anywhere else. Families will love the sweet-themed workshops, activities and fun fair rides, whilst street performers and a programme of live music will keep the crowds entertained as they explore. July 9 July 2023 Free, coach parking available [email protected] 14 Experience Wakefield - Festivals & Events

Light Up Wakefield Light Up Wakefield is a series of events lighting up the district to coincide with the start of the festive season. Taking place in November, visitors can watch distinctive buildings come alive with light and colour and be mesmerised by a variety of incredible light installations across the city. The festive market is a chance to pick up the perfect present, whilst families can expect non-stop street entertainment, festive workshops and activities, and even a chance to meet Santa! November 17-19 November 2023 Free, coach parking available [email protected] Light Up Wakefield 15

ADVENTURE Xscape, Yorkshire 16 Experience Wakefield - Adventure

Xscape Yorkshire Xscape Yorkshire is the ultimate, fun-fuelled day out destination. Activities include skiing, snowboarding and sledging on real snow at Snozone, the North’s first multi-level electric karting experience at Gravity E-Karting, wall-to-wall trampolining and urban climbing at Gravity, 70ft skycoaster and bungee experience at Gravity Aerial Adventures, escape rooms at The Escapologist, LaserZone laser tag, Volcano Falls adventure golf, bowling at Tenpin and 4DX at Cineworld. Choose to refuel at a variety of restaurant favourites and shop specialist outdoor sporting brands. Individual brand opening hours and prices vary. Open daily Group bookings available on request To pre-book activities, visit the website for the full list of brands and contact details: Diggerland Diggerland is the perfect destination for action, fun and thrill packed family days out where children and adults alike can ride, drive and operate REAL diggers, dumpers and other full- size construction machinery. Fun for all ages (subject to height restrictions), Diggerland with its 20 different rides and drives and an array of additional activities is the ideal theme park for small to large groups looking for something exciting and truly unique. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, sandpits, coin operated rides and much more where younger visitors can let off steam while their parents can just sit back and watch the fun… or join in! Seasonal opening times Group bookings available see website for details [email protected] 01634 711711 17

HERITAGE National Coal Mining Museum 18 Experience Wakefield - Heritage

Pontefract Castle Located in the historic market town of Pontefract, from its construction in 1070 to its demise following the Civil Wars, the once-fearsome fortress of Pontefract Castle dominated Yorkshire and beyond, bearing witness to some of England’s most momentous historical events earning itself the name of the Key to the North! Today, the castle is a place of family-friendly adventure, with wide open spaces to explore, fascinating ruins to investigate and a programme of events and activities throughout the year. Refreshments available in the Castle Coffee Shop. Open daily Check website for times Free entry (charges apply for tours) [email protected] 01977 723440 National Coal Mining Museum for England Visit the National Coal Mining Museum for an adventure 140m underground into England’s last deep coal mine. Above ground see how mining and its communities evolved, meet the pit ponies, explore the woods and visit the adventure playground. Various options are available for group visits: you may wish to explore the galleries, displays and buildings independently; some might like to go on an underground tour; you could choose a themed visit which includes a talk or a tour by a curator, guide or living history interpreter. If you have special requirements get in touch to arrange a visit especially for you. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am – 4/5pm; closed 24–25 December & 1 January Group packages available on request [email protected] 01924 848806 19

National Trust Nostell Nostell is one of the greatest Georgian treasure houses of the north of England, surrounded by 300 acres of parkland and gardens. There’s a rich variety of things to see and do for groups of all ages at Nostell, from exploring lakes and woodlands to discovering the treasures within the beautiful Palladian mansion house, including a world-class collection of Thomas Chippendale furniture. Visitors can wander through the Kitchen Garden and enjoy impressive seasonal displays before grabbing a bite to eat in the Courtyard Café. Free familiarisation visits are available for group leaders, visit the website for details. Open daily Check website for times Free entry for National Trust members. Group bookings available on request [email protected] 01924 863892 Wakefield Cathedral For over 1,000 years people have gathered in this holy place to offer their prayers and praise. A historic gem is located in the heart of the city. Not only is the Cathedral one of the UK’s most magnificent churches, it also has the tallest spire in Yorkshire – stretching up some 247ft, it dominates the city’s skyline. As impressive as it is on the outside, Wakefield Cathedral also reveals an awe-inspiring interior. Inside, a colossal space is filled with historic artefacts. It also boasts the world’s most complete collection of stained glass by the renowned designer Charles Kempe. Guided tours are available for groups, pre-booking essential. Open daily Check website for times Free entry, suggested donation for tours [email protected] 01924 373923 20 Experience Wakefield - Heritage

Pontefract Racecourse With its long history and strong links to Newmarket and at over 2 miles long, Pontefract Racecourse is the longest continuous flat racing circuit in Europe. With excellent views of the course from all of the enclosures, the option of private boxes, a selection of dining delights and entertainment for all, it really is a great place to bring your group. There’s a raceday for everyone, from Music Nights to fun-filled Family Days, and the colourful spectacular that is Ladies Day. Create your own experience to suit your groups needs with “raceday experience” packages! Seasonal opening Check website for times Group bookings available. Purchase 10 or more tickets, and get one free (T&Cs apply) 01977 781307 Theatre Royal Wakefield Opened in 1894, the theatrical masterpiece that is Theatre Royal Wakefield was designed by Victorian architect Frank Matcham, known for designing venues such as the London Palladium. Theatre Royal Wakefield offers a year-round programme of music, comedy, dance and drama. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more at most performances. In addition, the theatre offers behind the scenes tours, which can be packaged with viewing performances. Please contact the box office for details. Check website for times Group packages available on request [email protected] 01924 211311 21

BOOKABLE TOURS 22 Experience Wakefield - Heritage

Discover historic Pontefract Pontefract Civic Society is a registered charity that promotes and supports the well-being of Pontefract. With a vast knowledge of the historic market town from its early Saxon origins, its prominence through the Middle Ages, and the industries which put it firmly on the map, the Society can create an informative and memorable experience to enrich your visit. For a donation to the Society (suggested £5 per person, minimum of £50 per group), they can: Deliver introductory talks on Pontefract’s history and architecture Provide guided walks around one of four conservation areas At extra cost, provide books on the town’s rich history Get in touch to discuss your groups needs and to tailor a bespoke talk or tour. [email protected] 07837 281886 Visiting Wakefield? Let Wakefield Civic Society be your guide! Wakefield Civic Society is a registered charity run by volunteers who care about Wakefield and its buildings. They have a wealth of knowledge about the city and would be happy to share this with you and your group. For a donation to the Society (suggested £5 per person, minimum of £50 per group), they can: Provide introductory talks on Wakefield’s history and architecture Offer guided walks around the city centre At extra cost, provide booklets on the city’s history For more information, email the Society. [email protected] 07967 516841 23

SHOPPING 24 Experience Wakefield - Shopping

Junction 32 Shopping Outlet Junction 32 is where choice meets value! There is an array of fantastic brands all in one place, from fashion, sportswear and outdoor wear to homewares, gifts and accessories all offering up to 60% off every day – with such great choice and value on offer you’ll never have to pay full price again! There are great food outlets like Starbucks, Costa and Subway, and fantastic brands including M&S Outlet, Next Clearance, Clarks, Nike Outlet, Radley, Barbour, Denby and Trespass. And with new stock arriving daily, your trip to Junction 32 will always be worthwhile. Open daily – check website for times Free [email protected] 01977 520153 Trinity Walk & The Ridings Wakefield city centre offers two great shopping centres. Trinity Walk is an open-air centre with wide spacious malls, home to over 65 stores offering all your favourite brands, as well as cafés and restaurants. The Ridings Shopping Centre offers popular high street names as well as independent stores and is a welcoming place for a bite to eat or a coffee. Both centres offer year-round events and activities, from craft fairs to family entertainment. Visit individual websites for details. Open daily – check websites for times Free 25

FOOD & DRINK 26 Experience Wakefield - Food & drink

Ossett Brewery Ossett Brewery is a progressive and passionate independent brewery located in the heart of Yorkshire. Crafted over two decades and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Ossett Brewery has perfected the science of producing ales of consistently high quality, and honed the art of brewing beers that are loved by all. Visit the taproom and enjoy a wide range of beers with the unique backdrop of a shiny brewhouse. Brewery tours offer guests an opportunity to look behind the scenes, understand how the venue developed from a tiny micro-brewery to what it is today and sample the freshest possible Ossett Brewery beer. Open Saturdays; check website for details Group packages available on request [email protected] 01924 261333 Farmer Copleys Farmer Copleys is a family run farm shop, Moo Café, function space and events centre based between Pontefract and Featherstone. The Copley family has been farming for over 140 years with the aim to showcase British agriculture whilst also getting people engaged with the countryside and helping people learn where their food comes from and how it is produced. There’s often plenty going on at Farmer Copleys throughout the year, including the famous Pumpkin Festival – the UK’s largest – as well as barn dances, dog shows, tractor rallies, a Farm Festival and much more. Open daily – check website for times Group visits available on request [email protected] 01977 600200 27

ACCOMODATION 28 Experience Wakefield - Accomodation

Hotel St Pierre, Wakefield The Best Western Hotel St Pierre, Wakefield, prides itself on friendly and professional hospitality and aims to make your stay an unforgettable experience for all the right reasons. Hotel St Pierre is located in the pretty village of Newmillerdam, on the south side of Wakefield, within easy access of the M1 and M62, making it the perfect base for groups to explore Wakefield’s cultural attractions. With its 54 en suite bedrooms, the hotel offers a combination of great value and comfortable accommodation in the perfect location. [email protected] 01924 255596 Holiday Inn Express, Wakefield A modern hotel in the centre of Wakefield, with free Wi-Fi and breakfast included. Holiday Inn Express Wakefield is a five-minute walk from Wakefield Westgate Station, the M1 and M62 motorways are both within a few miles of the hotel and Wakefield Bus Station is only a five-minute walk away. Modern contemporary, vibrant rooms offer guests a relaxed environment to use as a base for exploring the city and wider attractions across the Wakefield district. All rooms are doubles and family rooms have a handy pull-out sofa. [email protected] 01924 372111 Holmfield Arms, Wakefield Situated in the beautiful setting of Holmfield Park on the edge of Wakefield city centre, the Holmfield Arms provides an ideal base to explore the city and beyond. The lodge style hotel offers a contemporary-yet-comfy setting for any length of stay. Priding themselves on making their hotel a home away from home, there’s always a member of the team available to offer help, advice or information 24 hours. The traditional bar and restaurant offer a delicious seasonal menu and is open daily until 9pm. 01924 367901 29

Dimplewell Lodge Hotel, Ossett Dimple Well Lodge is an award-winning hotel in Ossett, near Wakefield. The beautiful Victorian house offers stylish, contemporary surroundings, an on-site restaurant and comfortable en suite rooms. Suitable for smaller groups staying during the week, the modern hotel provides the perfect home away from home, offering all guests a warm Yorkshire welcome. Discounts offered for block bookings of two or more days mid-week [email protected] 01924 280472 King’s Croft Hotel, Pontefract King’s Croft Hotel is a stunning Grade II listed building set in eight acres of landscaped grounds. The hotel has 37 beautifully appointed rooms, 12 of which are on the ground floor and a delightful Brasserie and Bar, offering a seasonal à la carte menu and private dining options. King’s Croft has the convenience of being less than a mile from the M62 / A1 and the town centre of Pontefract. With extensive lawns, surrounded by mature trees and views of the surrounding countryside, King’s Croft offers a relaxing and luxurious stay for groups. [email protected] 01977 600550 The Darrington Hotel Built in the 1930s, and refurbished in 2010, The Darrington Hotel is set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, close to the historic villages of Wentbridge and Badsworth and only a short drive from the A1. The hotel has 28 spacious, en suite bedrooms, providing everything your group will need for a relaxing night’s sleep after exploring the local area, including a traditional bar and restaurant which offers a delicious seasonal menu. 01977 602516 30 Experience Wakefield - Accomodation

Premier Inn, Castleford Adventure and indulgence are top of the to-do list at Premier Inn, Castleford, with Xscape and Junction 32 Outlet Shopping right on the doorstep. Your group could be hunting down bargains one minute and zooming down a 170-metre, real snow ski slope the next. Located just off J32 of the M62, the hotel provides a comfortable and convenient base for any group. Enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant and then relax in a super comfy bed at the end of an action- packed day. Other Premier Inns available across the Wakefield district. [email protected] 03330 038101 Cedar Court Hotel, Wakefield Cedar Court Hotel Wakefield is located just off junction 39 on the M1. The well-established and much-loved four-star hotel encapsulates the warmth and hospitality of Yorkshire. Cedar Court is ideally located between Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Wakefield city centre and with 149 bedrooms, it provides an excellent base for groups. The hotel’s restaurant serves contemporary British dining with world influences – sourcing the freshest local ingredients. Landscaped gardens provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy alfresco dining in the warmer weather. Health-conscious guests can enjoy state of the art gym equipment or a relaxing swim in the Leisure Club. Group bookings available from late spring 2024 01924 276310 What next? For further information to help you plan your group itinerary, visit: 31

EXPERIENCE WAKEFIELD Your guide to the Wakefield District Yorkshire Sculpture Park Long Division © Anthony Longstaff Kings Croft Hotel LaLa’s Restaurant LightUp Festival © Tatiana Hepplewhite Experience a place where innovative sculpture meets the great outdoors. Discover rich, northern heritage, and show-stopping festivals. Experience our world-class restaurants, cosy Yorkshire pubs, and relax in our sumptuous hotels. Enjoy our modern museums and ancient castles, rolling fields and wild woods. Head to to start planning your next adventure. And to be first to find out about all the amazing things happening in Wakefield, sign up to our newsletter at

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