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image for Castle item typePontefract Castle

Castle, free entry

Pontefract Castle

Pontefract Castle

Address

Castle Chain,
Pontefract,
West Yorkshire,
WF8 1QH

Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 5 - Wed 30 Oct Archaeology Daily Tours
Mon 21 - Fri 25 Oct Archaeology Finds Lab
Sat 26 - Wed 30 Oct Dig Experience
Sat 26 - Wed 30 Oct Dig Camp
Sat 26 Oct Make A 3D Artefact
Sat 26 Oct Dig Update

Details

Discover a place where kings were feted, and killed. Explore the remnants of ferocious sieges, and Victorian pleasure grounds. Imagine loyal Royalist soldiers, and enterprising liquorice farmers. Visit Pontefract Castle.

Since its construction in 1070 until its destruction nearly six centuries later, this once-fearsome fortress dominated the politics and power balance of the entire Yorkshire region and beyond, earning the nickname, “Key to the North”.

So great was its infamy that Shakespeare included Pontefract Castle in two of his plays, Richard II (who was murdered at the castle) and Richard III.

During the Civil War, the castle endured three bitter sieges. Eventually, the Royalists were forced to concede defeat. Cromwell ordered the castle demolished, and it fell into disrepair.

Afterwards, the site was employed for a variety of unusual uses, including as a Victorian pleasure ground, as well as growing and storing Pontefract’s most famous crop – liquorice!

Today, the castle is a place of family-friendly adventure, with wide open spaces to explore and play, and fascinating ruins to investigate.

Discover the captivating stories of the castle in the History of Pontefract Castle displays. Be bold, and take a chilling tour of the dungeons – see where prisoners left to languish scratched their names into the rock. Stand in the remains of the bread ovens, and be transported to a time when the castle was equipped for lavish banquets, hosting some of England's most famous monarchs.

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 the 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!

Limited parking is available on site and in nearby town centre car parks.

Coach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsGift shopOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberAccepts groups

Children welcomeDisabled accessDogs acceptedFacilities for hearing impairedFacilities for visually impaired

Opening details

Castle Grounds:
Monday to Friday: 8.30am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 9.30am - 5pm

Visitor Centre open 7 days a week
10.00am - 4.00pm

Prices

Free entry

Directions

Plan route to Pontefract Castle using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SE 460222  Lat: 53.69421 Long: -1.30481

By Road:
M62 jct32
Continue onto Park Road (A639)
Turn left onto Southgate (A645)

For car parking:
Turn left onto North Baileygate. Car park located off Beech Hill. WF8 2JF

Disabled car-parking spaces are available at the Castle gates (approach via Spink Lane or Micklegate).

By Public Transport:
Nearest train station: Monkhill/Baghill Railway Station
Nearest bus station: Pontefract Bus Station

Walk from Pontefract town centre via Horsefair, Micklegate and Castle Chain.

Parking: free

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Pontefract, Monkhill station

Facilities

  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Dogs acceptedDogs accepted
  • Facilities for hearing impairedFacilities for hearing impaired
  • Facilities for visually impairedFacilities for visually impaired