A Guide to Living in Wakefield
Steeped in history, Wakefield was for more than two centuries the capital of the former West Riding of Yorkshire – famed for its striking Cathedral with its 247-feet spire, the tallest in the county.
Nowadays, the 'Merrie City' is scaling new heights in a very different way – as a vibrant place to work and to live. It has a proud heritage and a buoyant future.
Wakefield's history is plain to see, with its civic quarter and historic buildings. None more so than the iconic Wakefield Cathedral which sits proudly in the heart of the city centre. The spire of Wakefield Cathedral, at a height of approximately 247 feet, makes it the tallest church in Yorkshire and still dominates the city skyline. However in the last decade the city has undergone a major transformation.
Unrivalled transport links; widespread residential development; and record levels of investment in leisure and shopping facilities by Wakefield Council have combined to take the district into an exciting new era of opportunity.
Just 10 miles from the heart of Leeds, its proximity to the M1 – M62 – A1 motorway network, plus its busy mainline railway station which can whisk you to London in just two hours, has made it the location of choice for an ever-increasing number of tenants.
And its appeal as a sought-after place to live continues to gather pace. A new multi-million pound bus station, coupled with a major upgrade of Wakefield Westgate railway station and its fast connections, is giving fresh impetus to its public transport links.
The new Trinity Walk shopping centre, opened in summer 2011, boasts an array of shops and restaurants. With over 60 new shops including all the leading high street fashion brands such as H&M, Next, River Island, Topshop, USC, La Senza, Bank & New Look as well as a fabulous Debenhams department store and the largest Sainsbury’s superstore in the area.
The Ridings Shopping Centre has also recently undergone major refurbishment and along with the existing Cathedral Retail Park & Trinity Walk Shopping Centre, is acting as a catalyst for bringing some of the UK's biggest High Street names to Wakefield for the first time.
Europe's largest shopping village, the Junction 32 Outlet Village (formerly Freeport) at Castleford, offers a wide selection of shops including many designer names.
Adjoining Junction 32 is the new Xscape development, housing one of the largest indoor real snow ski slopes in Europe. The complex, incorporating an ice climbing wall, multiplex cinema, bowling alley, shops and restaurants under one roof, attracts visitors from all over the country.
For sports fans, the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats remain one of the best-known names in rugby league.
Wakefield is also home to one of the NHS's biggest building projects at a new-look Pinderfields Hospital, a major employer in the district, attracting healthcare workers from across the UK and beyond.
One of the centrepieces of the residential development taking place across Wakefield is the range of riverside flats – part of a major waterfront development that also includes a new world class art gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield.
Designed by internationally acclaimed British architect, David Chipperfield, The Hepworth commemorates the work of Barbara Hepworth – one of the most important sculptors of the 20th Century, who was born and raised in Wakefield.
It adds a new dimension to the many attractions that the Wakefield district can already boast – including the historic Sandal Castle, besieged during the Civil War of the 1640s; the award winning Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton; Pugneys Country Park, with its two lakes and water sport complex, is a haven for sailing enthusiasts less than a mile from the city centre; historic Nostell Priory; the National Coal Mining Museum; and the famous 'Rhubarb Triangle', celebrated each year in a special festival.