Escape The Everyday in Wakefield

Welcome to Escape the Everyday. It's been an incredibly tough year, and all of us have been affected. If ever there was a time when we needed a little escapism in our lives, 2020 is it. 

So we've put together this page to bring you the best experiences the district has to offer. 

Freedom to Explore: Go further. See more. Take the path less-tavelled and find  secret spots and unsung views. 

Discovery: Uncover hidden gems and unique days out with the family. Find an activity everyone will love and make those magic memories again - it's been awhile.

Treat Yourself: Do we really need to explain this one? You deserve a little pampering (in whatever way you like to pamper yourself best)!

We'll be updating this page regularly as new experiences come up, so don't forget to check back soon! 

As always, please check ahead before travelling. Find "know before you go" information here

Join the conversation! If you know some hidden gems, or some stand out experiences around the district, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Escape the Everyday
Escape the Everyday

Freedom To Explore

There's no feeling to compare with exploring an open landscape. Picturesque vales, secluded woods and sleepy waterways, the vivid, varied landscapes of Wakefield have for centuries inspired artists and ramblers alike.

Take a gentle walk through the Southern Washlands Nature Corridor. Less than a mile from Wakefield city centre, enjoy open water, grassland and woodland over a series of four countryside sites. In the winter months, look out for winter visitors like goldeneye, greenshank and green sandpiper as they pass through during migration.

Perhaps you're a cyclist? You'll love cycling through Haw Park Wood and Anglers Country Park: these two connected landscapes feature beautiful, broad paths through dense woodland (currently dominated by conifers, but slowly returning to deciduous trees), past the old Barnsley Canal, and along the Transpenine Trail. Stop for awhile and appreciate the abundance of local wildlife; the forest is a Site of Special interest, and provides a range of habitats for several rare and important species of plants, birds and butterflies. Foxes, weasels, stoats, badgers and roe deer have also been sighted.

Have you downloaded the Love Exploring app? Use it to discover dinosaurs and find fairies at Pugneys Country Park, so that you can enjoy a wonderful walk and keep the kids entertained, too. 
And during October, the Dinosaur Safari is coming to a range of parks and green spaces in the district, so if your little ones (or, let's face it, you) want to spot a stegosaurus or tangle with a t-rex (all without leaving your local area) then what are you waiting for? It's available on Android and iPhone.
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

When most people think of The Hepworth Wakefield, they think "award-winning gallery filled with sculpture". And they'd be right, of course, but did you know The Hepworth also has a secret garden?
This beautifully landscaped space is a little oasis of peace and tranquility amid the hustle and bustle of the city centre. 

Farmer Copleys Pumpkin Festival

Farmer Copleys Pumpkin Festival

Spend a day in the fields and fresh air at Farmer Copleys Pumpkin Festival - choose your own pumkin (from a selection of dozens of varieties - warty blue, perhaps? Or the classic smooth orange?). Take part in a fancy dress parade, birds of prey demonstration, a magic show and much more... It's a truly magical, autumnal day.

Sandal Castle © Lee Ward @ Law Photography

Sandal Castle

Make like the Grand Old Duke of York and march yourself up to the top of the hill to Sandal Castle, where you'll find stunning panoramic views overlooking the Calder valley, and down into Pugneys Country Park.
Then explore the ruins of this twelfth-century fortress, the site of the important Battle of Wakefield.

Discovery

There's so much to discover in the Wakefield district, with so many things to see, so many exhibitions to uncover, and so many experiences to get lost in. 

It's your last chance to take in Wakefield Museum's Gateway to Eternity. This stunning exhibition invites visitors to step into a recreated Ancient Egyptian tomb, marvel at the displays of grave goods, and stand face-to-face with Perenbast, the mummy of a temple singer who lived almost 3,000 years ago. 

The National Coal Mining Museum has recently opened a new permanent exhibition. A Light In The Darkness tells the story of the miner's lamp, and how it developed from simple (and dangerous!) candles to Davy's flame-safety lamp -  which is credited with saving countless lives, and became an icon of the mining industry.

And from one type of digging to another, have you visited Diggerland yet? On the outskirts of Castleford, this ode to diggers, dumpertrucks and other earth-movers lets you get hands on and have a go yourself - be honest: where else in Yorkshire are you going drive a massive digger? And if driving's not for you, there's a selection of fun and frantic rides, too.

Escape the Everyday
Miniature Worlds © David Brunetti

Miniature Worlds

Everyone knows National Trust Nostell is a beautiful palladian mansion set in gorgeous parkland (well, everyone from Wakefield). But did you also know that you can see this stunning stately home in miniature?
The Nostell dolls' house was created in the 18th century as a copy of the house itself, and features exquisitely detailed interiors, including furniture and fabrics.

Pop Galo (2016) by Joana Vasconcelos at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2020. Photo: © Jonty Wilde

Joana Vasconcelos: Beyond

Imagine: you're strolling through Yorkshire Sculpture Park. You round a corner... and come face to face with an enormous, brightly coloured chicken. 
Joana Vasconcelos' ecclectic exhibition is as surprising as it is joyful. Outlandish scultpures leap out at you from the landscape - we loved it, and we think you will, too. ...did we mention the chicken lights up at night?!

Gravity Trampoline at Xscape

Xscape

If you're looking for lots to see and do, you can't go wrong with Xscape. Discover thrills aplenty on their real-snow ski slope, be a big kid at LazerZone and 4D Golf, test your limits at Gravity Rocks and bounce around with Gravity Trampoline Park. And when you've thoroughly tired yourself out, grab a bite to eat at one of the centre's many delicious restaurants. Perfect.

Escape the Everyday

Treat Yourself

There are few better feelings than indulging in a well-deserved pick-me-up. And luckily, Wakefield's got ample opportunities to do just that!

If your idea of being treated involves a bit of retail therapy (and who's doesn't, honestly), then you're in the right place: convenient "all under one roof" delights of Trinity Walk, The Ridings Shopping Centre and Carlton Lanes; finding big brands at small prices at Junction 32; browsing independent market shops in Pontefract (and finding those perfect quirky gifts!), there's oodles of choice all over the district. 

Maybe you'd like to take in a show? Wakefield Jazz have got you covered. Recently re-opened, their autumn season features a series of exciting performances by celebrated artists including Nigel Price Organ Trio, Jonny Mansfield, Dominic Ingham and more. Nice.

Maybe you'd like to treat your creative side? Home to a thriving artist community, Wakefield's full of workshops and courses to unleash your inner Barbara Hepworth. Keep an eye on The Art House for a broad range of workshops this autumn and winter (recent workshops include Heat Transfer Printing and Wall-Hanging Weaving).

Waterton Park Hotel

Waterton Park Hotel & Spa and Walton Hall

How about staying in the world’s first nature reserve? Set in the middle of rolling parkland with a backdrop of ancient woodland, Waterton Park Hotel & Spa and Walton Hall invite you to do just that.
After a relaxing night's sleep amid all this natural splendour, take advantage of Waterton Park's luxurious spa.

Iris

Iris British Brasserie

Did somebody say treat? Iris' Great British dining experience will leave you floating on a cloud of gastronomic delight.
The stylish restuarant, situated in the heart of Wakefield city centre, takes the very best of British produce and creates delicious seasonal dishes with them (we highly recommend the Yorkshire parkin with rhubarb puree!).

Pottery

Jasmine Pottery

Nourish your inner craftsperson with Jasmine Pottery Studios' workshops. This small, family-run studio space run regular workshops for both adults and children in clay making, wheel throwing and pottery painting.
This autumn, they're helping you make witches cauldrons, jack-o-lanterns, sweet jars and more.