Wakefield Museums & Castles
Wakefield Museums & Castles

Wakefield Museums & Castles

Coronavirus Information

All Wakefield Council museums and castles are currently closed until further notice.

Continue to discover the extraordinary by visiting our blog HERE.

Delve into the history of district with Wakefield Museums and Castles

We are the museums with the caiman under the floor; where liquorice and voting collide; that celebrate sweet-filled-glass walking sticks.

We are the castles with fascinating stories, with wide open space to play, with historic ruins to explore and inspire your imagination.

We are adventure. We are fun. We are weird and wonderful. You are invited to join in. You are invited to delve and discover. Together, we are amazing!

Discover more at Castleford Museum, Pontefract Museum, Sandal Castle, Wakefield Museum and here at Pontefract Castle today.

All museums and castles are accessible for all and have free entry!

Castleford Museum

Castleford is home to a wealth of treasures, fascinating stories and is a place for fun, imagination and play. Discover why the Castleford area was a great and important meeting place for Bronze Age people and view a unique and special Iron Age chariot.

Dress up in armour and discover Castleford’s rich Roman heritage – did you know that Castleford was the site of an important Roman army settlement called Lagentium?

And how could we forget marbles, mining, pottery, glass and rugby Super League winners Castleford Tigers!

The Early Life of Henry Moore display in the local studies area highlights one of Castleford's most famous sons. It is illustrated with objects from the beginning of his career as a world famous artist, including his sculpture 'Working Model for Draped Reclining figure'.

It also includes his school friend Albert Wainwright's Castleford Sketchbook which records many of the places that Moore would have been familiar with when living in the town in the 1920s.

Explore your own creativity in regular free crafts sessions.

The museum also features four special changing displays with content created in partnership with local groups and communities.

The main Museum is located on the top floor of the original 1905 Carnegie Library and is accessible by staircase and lift. The Early Life of Henry Moore display is in the local studies area on the floor below.

Castleford Museum

Address

Carlton Street,
Castleford,
WF10 1BB
01977 722084

Opening Times

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - 4pm
Wednesday & Sunday: CLOSED
Castleford Museum
Pontefract Museum

Pontefract Museum

Following over £120K worth of gallery redevelopment and upgrades since 2015, Pontefract Museum is now open again with new displays that are exciting, accessible and tell wonderful stories of Pontefract’s rich and diverse past.

Step inside the beautiful art nouveau building to discover a world where liquorice and voting collide, where we celebrate the captivating stories of Pontefract, its people, and the history of its once mighty castle. Find lots of fun for families with regular craft activities, colourful costumes to try on and a vibrant play market to inspire the imagination.

Other highlights at the museum include:
The Ackworth Hoard – found recently in a garden in Ackworth and made up of 52 gold, 539 silver coins and a single gold ring dating from the Civil War. It is the only hoard known from the Wakefield District and has a distinct Royalist association.
Bagley's Glass Room – exploring the history of glass-making in the area from Roman times to the present day, with many items from the museum's large collection of Bagley's Glass on display.
The Pontefract Gallery – telling the story of Pontefract and its people, revealing the area's outstanding history and bringing to life an exciting and often surprising past. This exhibition boasts the world's first secret ballot box and a unique display of objects related to liquorice.
The Special Exhibition Gallery – showcasing a varied programme of displays inspired by the museum's collections along with loans from other people and places.

Pontefract Museum

Address

5 Salter Row,
Pontefract,
WF8 1BA
01977 722740

Opening Times

Monday to Friday: 10am - 4.30pm
Saturday: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

Wakefield Museum

Step into a world of mystery at Wakefield Museum to discover stories of people and their lives, some over a thousand years in the making, others only just beginning.

Discover the extraordinary, the oldest, the first, and the one and only in the Welcome to Wakefield display. See our local cultural treasures and learn surprising facts about the city. Explore the history of Wakefield in the Main Gallery and hear stories of wealth and power, hardship and hope, love and war, and passion and belief through the eyes of the people involved in shaping the city.

Explore the extraordinary world of Charles Waterton, creator of the world’s first nature reserve, and meet some of the animals he preserved and some that he created. Are you brave enough to stand on top of the caiman crocodile that he so famously captured on one of his trips to South America?

Imagine life as a nineteenth century prisoner in Wakefield Jail, discover the area’s rugby heritage, hear the strange crackle that forced rhubarb makes when growing, learn the hardships of war throughout the ages and relive the stories of people who have worked, lived and played in the city.

Little visitors can dress up in vintage outfits, play with the Rhubarb Express train and cook up a storm in the 1950’s kitchen. Pick up a Digitrail for an alternative way to experience the museum.

Wakefield Museum is located on the lower level of Wakefield One. The Free City Bus stops just outside and Westgate Railway Station is only a two minute walk away.

Wakefield Museum

Address

Wakefield One,
Burton Street,
Wakefield,
WF1 2DD
01924 302104

Opening Times

Monday & Tuesday: 9am – 5pm
Wednesday & Thursday: 9am – 7pm
Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – 4pm
Sunday: CLOSED
Wakefield Museum
Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle

"Oh, the grand old Duke of York he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again…"You may recognise this popular nursery rhyme but did you know it was rumoured to be Sandal Castle that the Duke of York marched up?

Sandal Castle stands in a commanding position overlooking the River Calder to the south of Wakefield city centre. The castle is best known for the role it played in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 during the Wars of the Roses where Richard, Duke of York was killed.

Remains of the 13th century stone castle and the fine motte and bailey can still be seen today. Climb the steps to the top of the motte and marvel at the stunning panoramic views of the Calder Valley.

Have a relaxing stroll around the castle grounds and learn about the rich heritage of the site. Extend your walk and see the castle from a different angle as you follow the trail that leads to Pugneys Country Park. Pause for a drink and a bite to eat at the Castle Café before making your way back up the hill to the castle.

Sandal Castle

Address

Manygates Lane,
Sandal,
Wakefield,
WF2 7DS

Opening Times

Sandal Castle grounds are open to the public all year round.

Limited car-parking is available.

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