Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle

Castle News

New Playground at Pontefract Castle

Coming soon – Exciting New Play Area!

Young visitors to Pontefract Castle will have even more fun when a new £70,000 play area arrives on site.

The castle-themed play area will feature exciting equipment including a battering ram swing, drawbridge, ramparts, cargo nets, two slides and more. It incorporates challenging and engaging play opportunities and is a high-quality, bespoke design especially for Pontefract Castle.

The Pontefract North ward councillors and the Council have funded this project which will be enjoyed by many young people in their community as well as visitors to our much-loved castle.

We’re Digging the Gatehouse!

A project to excavate the gatehouse at Pontefract Castle is taking place throughout October.

Funded by Historic England and delivered by archaeologists Dig Ventures, the project offers fantastic opportunities for visitors of any age to get their hands dirty and become archaeologists for the day.

Some of the sessions are reserved for local schools and others are for the public. All events, which take place on weekdays and weekends, are free of charge and can be booked online by visiting digventures.com/pontefract-castle where there will be regular updates on the project. They can also be booked via the events tab on this site.

The investigations are taking place following the unexpected discovery of the remains of a barbican and drawbridge pit during the Key to the North project in 2016. Wakefield Council will be supported and advised on the excavations by Historic England and our partners at West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS).

Dig the Gatehouse
No longer At Risk

Pontefract Castle No Longer 'At Risk'

The Key to the North project was completed in the summer and on Yorkshire Day Historic England announced to hundreds of castle visitors that it would be removing the castle from its Heritage At Risk register when it is published in October.

This was one of the key aims of the project and is an acknowledgement of the commitment by Wakefield Council to protect our heritage for future generations. The £5 million project, which included a stunning new visitor centre, extensive conservation of the monument, a viewing platform, new paths and a bandstand, was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity EpaC.

If you haven't been for a while, now is the time to visit. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

The Key to the North Project Is Complete!

Work on the £5million Key to the North project is complete. You can now explore new paths and walkways around our beautifully conserved historic ruins, discovering stories from the castle's turbulent history on our brand-new interpretation boards along the way. 

Look out for regular concerts in our lovely new bandstand, and for the first time in hundreds of years, you can now visit the castle's Sally Port. 

Don't miss our fantastic Visitor Centre, with its brilliant gift shop, museum space and cafe!

Benches have been dotted around the site and handrails and new fences added to improve safety. For people who use wheelchairs, the site is now much more accessible than before, and allows everyone to visit almost all areas of the castle. 

The huge amount of conservation work that has taken place across the site has helped to preserve the castle's heritage for current and future generations.

Watch the video below for an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the project!

The Key to the North is complete

Media Enquiries

If you have a media enquiry, please contact our press office at pressoffice@wakefield.gov.uk 

Our press office is available from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.