The town of Pontefract (or 'Pomfret') was important in the medieval times for its castle, which was one of the greatest in Yorkshire. A Royal stronghold in the north, Richard II was imprisoned here and died in mysterious circumstances. In 1649 during the Civil War the fortress finally fell to Parliament and was subsequently demolished although remains of the castle can still be seen today. You can visit the underground magazine cut out of the solid rock and see where Civil War prisoners carved their names into the cell walls.
As you wander through the town's yards and alleys reflecting on the history of their names - Shoe Market, Ropergate and Market Place, which recall to memory the bustling businesses of times past, the aroma of warm liquorice delicately wafts in the air, as the famous sweets called 'Pontefract Cakes', are still produced here.
Today the 18th century Town Hall, the Buttercross and timber framed building in the Market Place provide and attractive setting for the twice weekly open market and pedestrianised shopping area.
Pontefract is well known in horse racing circles for having the longest flat, circular course in Europe. The racecourse is fully equipped for visitors with a range of excellent places to eat and drink on site.
For more information on events in Pontefract, please visit the What's On section of the website.
West Yorkshire, WF8 1BD
Map reference: SE 331210 Lat: 53.68440 Long: -1.50030