Your Guide To Living in Wakefield

How To Spend 48 Hours in Wakefield

Wakefield is a surprising little city located just south of Leeds, in the heart of West Yorkshire. Often overlooked in favour of its larger and more well-known neighbour Leeds, we thought it was high-time we put the spotlight on this vibrant location.

08:00 and it is time for breakfast!

Marmalade on the Square is a firm favourite among Wakefield locals and it is easy to see why, this lovely little coffee shop is independent, individual and in a great location. You’ll find it just a stone’s throw from the city’s impressive cathedral, slap bang in the centre of town. It’s perfect for breakfast and their bacon sandwiches are second to none, but they also do an exceptional afternoon tea but whatever you order, everything is served in beautiful vintage crockery.

10:00 is prime shopping time.

After a hearty breakfast, we recommend a spot of shopping in the city centre. While you’ll find big high street brands like Pandora, Boots, TK Maxx, Primark, New Look, Topshop and Next in The Ridings Shopping Centre and Trinity Walk, you’ll also discover some wonderful local retailers and independent shops too, Made & Found in Yorkshire as the name suggests is filled with lovely handmade items including blankets, baby clothes, candles and cards all sourced from makers in the local area. 

Wakefield Antiques Centre is a real treasure trove of all manner of items, and trust us, you can get lost in there, while The Plant Market is a new addition to the area and specialises in trendy indoor plants and delightful terrariums, whatever your tastes we guarantee you’ll find something to suit you as you make your way around the city’s shopping quarter.

13:00 and a hearty lunch is needed

If you’re anything like us then a spot of shopping really does work up an appetite so after that, we can’t think of anywhere better to refuel than the café at The Hepworth Gallery. It offers a seasonal menu combining all day brunch favourites with cutting edge cuisine, so you can either play it safe, or try something new. Everything they make champions locally sourced ingredients and it is all freshly made to order. 

14:00 is good for a spot of art appreciation

And if you’re lunching at the gallery then venturing upstairs after eating to tour the artwork is definitely a no brainer. The Hepworth Gallery boasts some fantastic art installations including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore of course, but also works from other modern British masters and contemporary artists. The gallery also runs a regular series of events including various markets throughout the year as well as craft workshops, talks and interviews. There is a delightful shop just inside the entrance foyer and new from 2020, a beautifully landscaped sculpture garden in the outside grounds. It really is well worth a visit. 

16:00 is a good time for a stroll

If spending time outdoors is something you enjoy then you must pay a visit to Thornes Park. It’s conveniently located very close to the city centre and offers 60 hectares of open space to explore and enjoy. If strolling is your thing, or perhaps dog walking, then there is a 2-mile circular path that follows the boundary of the park or if that’s not challenging enough then there are exercise stations on route as well as a leisure centre and athletics track. For families there is something to suit kids of all ages from an impressive skatepark to a duck lake, small aviary and in the summer, a miniature steam railway and last but by no means least is the beautiful walled gardens and conservatory. 

18:00 and it’s time for tea (or dinner if you prefer)

For your evening meal in Wakefield there are plenty of choices but a new favourite in the city these days is Fino. It’s a Cicchetti style restaurant and a traditional pizzeria. What’s Cicchetti you say? Allow us to explain. Cicchetti are medium size dishes, typical of bars in Venice and the idea is to order several dishes to share, a little like Italian style tapas if you will and it really is a fantastic way to sample everything Fino has to offer. The restaurant also enjoys fabulous surroundings thanks to their Grade 2 listed building that goes back to 1596!

20:00 is good for drinks

Now Wakefield has long been known for its nightlife and if you’re interested in where to go for drinks then you need look no further than Westgate. This is at least a mile-long strip of pubs, bars and clubs that is guaranteed to offer something to suite everyone. Supper Club is perfect for smart casual drinks after work or at the start of a night out and if you’re feeling peckish, their stone-baked pizzas are second to none. The Lobby is another good choice, located in the fantastic Unity House building opposite the theatre. It has a well-stocked bar; with almost every flavour of gin one could possibly hope to find on offer all year round. For a dressier establishment then Kindred Spirit in the Latin Quarter is another firm favourite. It’s especially popular in the summer months when outdoor seating and bifold doors really make the place come alive.  

22:00 and it’s time to dance!

If dancing is your thing, then as you move later in the evening, you’ll find one of the best dancefloors in town at Establishment. Also located in the Unity House building this is literally a bar of two halves. To the right as you walk in there is a quieter bar area complete with pizza oven while in the room to the right, you’ll find the DJ booth and, an even bigger bar and more dance space that you can throw a shape at. The music on offer is a real mix too, from old favourites to club classics and current chart hits.

00:00 and you’ll definitely be ready for bed…

There’s plenty of places to stay overnight in Wakefield from the Ramada, to Citi-lodge to the Premier Inn, but our hotel of choice has to be Waterton Park Hotel & Spa. This four-star establishment is just over three miles from the city centre, making it very convenient for easy access both in and out of the city, whilst also enjoying some stunning surrounding scenery. The backdrop for the hotel is rolling parkland, ancient woodland, a private lake and a championship golf course no less!

10:00, time for a lie in and then brunch

After a night on the town, there’s nothing better than a well-deserved lie in followed by a spot of brunch and for that we recommended heading out to Blacker Hall Farm. This is a family run farm shop complete with The Barn Kitchen restaurant that serves tasty treats like thick cut brioche eggy bread using high quality, locally sourced produce and ingredients.

12:00 and it’s time to head out of the city centre

After brunch at Blacker Hall Farm, just a short drive away you’ll find the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Dogs are always welcome here and as an open-air venue, it’s a great place to spend some quality time outdoors. There’s over 500 acres of beautiful landscaping to explore, with contemporary sculpture from both the permanent exhibition and the current exhibitions dotted throughout the environment. 

15:00, how about afternoon tea?

If you’re partial to a spot of afternoon tea then you might be pleased to know that there are plenty of places catering to this particular taste in Wakefield and one of the best is Lakeside Café at Newmillerdam. This independent, family fun restaurant serves delicious food all day long but their afternoon tea is a particular favourite for many locals. It’s also perfectly placed to enjoy some stunning scenery which brings us nicely to the next part in our 48-hour story…

17:00 and it’s time to take in some local scenery.

Just on the doorstep of the Lakeside Café at Newmillerdam is, you guessed it, Newmillerdam itself. This country park is just 3 miles from Wakefield city centre and was once part of an estate owned by the Pilkington family. Today two lodges can still be seen guarding the damn as well as The Boathouse which was built in the 1820s. It’s a designated local nature reserve and is an important breeding side for many water birds including the Great Crested Grebe. It’s a fabulous place to take an early evening stroll and in the summer months, you may even be lucky enough to spot some bats skimming the insects from the water’s surface.

19:00, time for a lovely meal

After a walk around the dam we recommend booking a table at The Pledwick. This independent pub is known for its customer service, fantastic home cooked food, including a very popular family Sunday lunch and an impressive choice of over 12 cask ales and draught lagers. There is a large outdoor terrace for summer dining and in the winter, a cosy interior complete with wood burning stove. Oh! and did we mention it’s dog friendly too?! 

22:00 and it’s time to go back to bed

After another busy day it’s time to head back to the hotel for another good night’s sleep. If you’d like to spend more than just 48 hours in Wakefield, then why not look at the homes we have on offer in the local area right now? Our new homes in East Ardsley offer the best of both Wakefield’s vibrant city centre and the beautiful local countryside. 
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