The kids and I took a family trip to Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Wakey isn’t exactly on the regular tourist map, but there is plenty to enjoy for kids and adults alike. We found culture, history, an homage to a great Julia Donaldson kids book and a varied music heritage.
Here’s our family guide to Wakefield in video form:
The Hepworth Wakefield
I always love a good gallery and the Hepworth Wakefield is a very good gallery. Named after local artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth, the venue houses much of her work as well as by other international modern artists. It also forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle with the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Yes, Yorkshire triangles have four points. What are you going to do about it?
Elsa loved exploring the art works and drawing her favourites, while Seth was transfixed by water flowing over the weir on the River Calder through the window. I thought it would be the perfect place to encourage Elsa to work towards becoming a famous artist. If she did, that would make all the reams of paint-strewn paper she brings home from school worth a fortune.
Unfortunately, she would rather be a rock star, which is fine as long as she becomes one of those rock stars that goes to bed early and spends all their royalties on their parents.
One of the most recognisable Wakefield landmarks is Wakefield Cathedral. We popped in to have a look, but didn’t think it was appropriate to film inside. The place features intriguing medieval carvings and other features that are certainly well worth a look. It is also an oasis of calm away from the bustling city centre, whether you’re a churchy type or not.
Renowned composer Noel Gay stood in for the choirmaster of Wakefield Cathedral from the age of eight. The local lad went on to write some of the most famous music of the mid-20th century. He wrote the music, but not the lyrics to The Lambeth Walk. Of course, if he’d written the lyrics, being from Yorkshire, it would have been name T’Lambeth Walk (‘Ow Much For a Pint Down ‘Ere?).
The Room on the Broom Trail – Anglers Country Park
Just outside of Wakefield is Anglers Country Park, home to the Room on the Broom Trail. If your kids love the work of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (are there any children who don’t?), they can live the dream here. There are wooden sculptures placed around the circular route that depict scenes from the book.
It’s a great place for the kids to run free (although with an appropriate adult eye ensuring they don’t stray too close to the lake) and search out the scenes from the story, the animal footprints and fill in the activity sheets. However, the trail so inspired my two, they spent the next three weeks demanding Room on the Broom every night at bedtime. Be warned.
Family Friendly Wakefield
Wakefield might not be an obvious choice for a family friendly day out in Yorkshire, but I think we proved that there is plenty to do. What did we miss, though? What else would you recommend for families in Wakefield? Leave a comment below!
Definitely. They’ve made a real effort. We didn’t even get to go to the city museum which is meant to be great. Also the Coal Mining Museum and the Sculpture Park are close by.