Wakefield's location, at the heart of England and at the centre of the UK's communications network, offers unsurpassed transport links, providing fast connections by road, rail, and air. At the intersection between the M1 and M62 and with the A1 at its eastern boundary, the district is well placed to access other regional centres such as Leeds, Sheffield and York.
Wakefield has emerged from over a century of reliance on coal mining to become a thriving manufacturing, shopping and distribution centre, taking full advantage of its place at the heart of the region's transport network.
Wakefield city is a historic seat of regional government in Yorkshire and for two centuries provided the county headquarters of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Today the city retains its strong tradition of public service employment with the headquarters of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, the Yorkshire and Humber regional assembly, the West Yorkshire Police, and the headquarters of the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service located at its heart within the civic quarter.
Wakefield district covers some 350 square kilometres and is home to 315,000 people in a diverse range of city, urban and rural communities, and an amalgam of what were previously 14 different local authorities.
The north west includes Horbury, Ossett, Wrenthorpe, Stanley and Altofts, while Normanton, Castleford, Pontefract, Knottingley, Featherstone and a host of smaller settlements make up the five towns. In the south east, there are the towns of Hemsworth, South Kirkby and South Elmsall as well as other communities.
Some 70 per cent of the rural communities of the district is designated as green belt. Dotted about the rolling countryside are villages like Middlestown, Crigglestone, Crofton, Woolley and Ackworth.
Wakefield Council and its partner organisations in the Wakefield District Partnership are making great strides in bringing new life to the old mining communities of the south east. Major achievements have already been made in reclaiming former colliery sites for both leisure and industrial use.
Wakefield has a lot to offer. It has a rich industrial heritage which visitors can experience at the National Coal Mining museum. It is known for its lively nightlife. The District itself is made up of the City and its Five Town:, Castleford, Horbury, Normanton, Ossett and Pontefract.
All areas of Wakefield boast some sort of attraction: from Pontefract's castle and sweet factories (including the Haribo factory) to Castleford's Xscape entertainment complex and the Freeport shopping village.
There are three airports that are generally seen as accessible from Wakefield, Robin Hood Airport (Doncaster) ; Leeds Bradford International Airportand Manchester Airport, which is the best airport for non-European flights. Manchester Airport, East Midlands Airport, and Leeds Bradford Airport provide direct flights to London and Brussels. However, access to London by train means that Wakefield is accessible from all of the major London airports.
Ease of commuting extends beyond the region with Wakefield Westgate, the city's mainline station situated on the high speed East Coast Mainline, offering excellent connections to key UK destinations. Direct half-hourly services operate to London throughout the day with the quickest journey taking under 2 hours. Sheffield, York, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle are also within easy reach.
Wakefield is served extensively by National Express.
Wakefield is accessible from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge and is approximately 1hr travel time by car from the UK point of arrival at Kingston Upon Hull, the service is operated by P&O Ferries. If travelling by coach change in Leeds. If travelling by train change in Doncaster or Leeds.
Wakefield lies at the junction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, and the Aire and Calder Navigation. There are visitor moorings on the former above Fall Ings Lock (72hrs) and also below Wakefield Flood lock (72hrs). Unfortunately, there are no water points or sanitary facilities along the cut here, except for rubbish disposal at the residential mooring site.
Wakefield Free City Bus
A free city bus service provided by Metro and the Council is available in the city centre.
The bus operates throughout the day on a circular route linking the two train stations, the bus station and the main shopping areas:-
Bus Station > The Springs > Kirkgate Station > Ings Road Retail Park > Westgate Retail Park > Westgate Station > Westgate > Bus Station
More information (including a downloadable route map) is available at the Metro website .
- The Cathedral. One of the best buildings to see in the city.
- Nostell Priory, Doncaster Road, Nostell, near Wakefield, WF4 1QE, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 18th Century Stately House.
- Sandal Castle. The castle grounds are open from dawn until dusk. The Visitor Centre's opening hours are: Summer - M-Su 11AM - 4.30PM, Winter - 11AM-4PM, Sa,Su only.
- Pontefract Castle. Open from M-F 8.30AM-dusk, Sa,Su 10.30AM-dusk.
- The Orangery. The Exhibition & Resource Areas are open to the public, Monday-Friday, 10AM–4PM.
- The Hepworth Gallery, Gallery Walk Wakefield, WF1 5AW. Brand new purpose built gallery
Theatre & Comedy
- Wakefield Theatre Royal. Built in 1894 its a real gem and should be seen
Westgate Run Famous in the north of England for its weekend nightlife with numerous late night bars, fast food jounts and a number of nightclubs all within 400 metres to the city centre. The 'Westgate Run' is a pub crawl commencing at 'The Redoubt' pub, and finishing in the town centre having taken in perhaps a dozen pubs along the way.
"Pontefract Liquorice Festival". The town of Pontefract provides a fantastic backdrop to the annual Liquorice festival. In this unique historic market town with a Norman Castle, you can catch the aroma of warm liquorice emanating from the town's sweet factories. 
Parks & Countryside
Wakefield prides itself on the game of rugby, especially Rugby League, with three teams in the five towns area.
- Ridings Shopping Centre. Great shopping mall for almost everything you need!
- Freeport Castleford. Designer shopping village next to Xscape, Castleford.
- Trinity Walk Shopping Centre. Brand new shopping centre where the old gasworks used to be
- The Harewood Arms, 101 Kirkgate, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Food served Mon - Sat 11:30 - 14:30 Sunday 12:00 - 15.00.
The Harewood Arms quietly prides itself on being one of the best, in both quality, quantity and value, home cooked traditional "pub grub" venues in Wakefield. The regular menu covers all the usuals and check the special boards for fabulous "home cooked" tasty meals. Sundays can get especially busy but believe me it's worth it!!!
- Prego Pizzaria, 107 Westgate, ☎ .
- Lotus, 9-11 Cross Street (Wonderful, welcoming Chinese restaurant, having been a part of the Wakefield culinary scene for almost 30 years.), ☎ .
- Mex Cantina, Market Street (Another famous local restaurant, serving excellent Tex Mex cuisine. Popular with large groups and for pre-dinner drinks.), ☎ .
- Quo Vadis, 1 Smyth Street (Yet another good quality restaurant serving some of the best foreign cuisine in Yorkshire.), ☎ .
- The Harewood Arms, 101 Kirkgate, WF1 1JG, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Inns of Court, 22 King Street, WF1 2SR, ☎ . A great local pub which has always attracted a slight alternative crowd to the kind of people who frequent Westgate Pubs
- Henry Boons, 130 Westgate, WF2 9SR. A great pub on Westgate, a short walk from the station
- The Hop, The Hop 19 Bank Street, WF1 1EH. A traditional real ale house with a great atmosphere for live music
- Bar Mex, Albion Court, WF1 1BB. Late bar just off Westgate
- Red Bar, 3 George and Crown Yard. A lovely little bar just off Westgate
- Billy Budd York House Hotel, Next to Wakefield's Theatre Royal Opera House, the brand new 'Arthouse' and 30 seconds uphill from Wakefield Westgate train station..
- Cedar Court Hotel, Popular venue for conferences and business 'Away Days'. (Located on the M1, for easy access.).
- Days Hotel, Fryers Way (just of M1, Jct. 40).
- Express by Holiday Inn, Denby Dale Road (Jct.39), ☎ , fax: +44 1924 249888, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Premier Travel Inn - Wakefield Central, Denby Dale Road, ☎ , fax: +44 1924 373620.
- Premier Travel Inn - Wakefield City North, Herriot Way (Paragon Business Park), ☎ , fax: +44 870 850 6303.