5 reasons why you should move to Wakefield
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 September 2019
Kevin Gibson Photography Ltd
Neighbourhood know-how, places and people.
Let's cut to the chase. With Leeds ten miles away, Wakefield is a prime spot for commuting. Some people even bike it. But there's lots more to this place than its connections. The district extends from the scenic Pennine foothills around popular West Bretton to the 'five towns' (Pontefract, Knottingley, Featherstone, Castleford and Normanton). But the city itself is compact and surprisingly historic, retaining striking buildings and leafy suburbs. What's more, it is surrounded by country parks offering everything from windsurfing to cycling (the city was call Merrie Wakefield in medieval times for its range of entertainment). Eye-catching regeneration schemes have also put Wakefield on the front foot.
There are 30 direct services to London King's Cross (two hours) on weekdays, some by the sleek new Azuma trains. Be warned though, there are two stations in Wakefield - Kirkgate, serving local destinations, and the busier Westgate mainline terminus. It's a 20 minute walk between the two. Leeds, 15 minutes up the line, can be reached from either. The city also sits at the crossroads of the M1, M62 and A1 motorway network Cycling is also being promoted locally and a greenway route is being built between Wakefield and Castleford. By boat, the city is on the Aire and Calder Navigation.
Bag a property
Average prices are significantly less than Leeds, hence Wakefield's popularity. Plus it has excellent schools, both state and private. A one-bed apartment in developments near the city's railway stations can be had from £90,000. A new four bedroom house in Outwood (even closer to Leeds) will set you back £350,000, less for an older property.
Popular areas include Notton, Sandal and pricier Newmillerdam, whilst Crofton is up and coming. Walton is the most exclusive, so budget from £400,000 upwards.
Walton Hall is a magnificent country mansion, now a hotel and resort, built on an island in a picturesque lake. Home to 19th century naturalist, Charles Waterton, a passionate environmentalist. The smartest part of the city centre is around the civic quarter and 14th century cathedral. Impressive Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (founded in 1591) is also nearby. The city is home to the 500 acre West Yorkshire Sculpture Park at West Bretton and the £35m Hepworth Gallery on the waterfront, with frequently changing exhibitions and Barbara Hepworth's own works on show.
And don't miss the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, the smallest playhouse built by the legendary Frank Matcham, creator of the London Palladium and Buxton Opera House.
Cafe and cocktails
There may be few fine dining options in Wakefield, but it does offer diversity. For Japanese head to Hokkaido on Kirkgate, where dishes are prepared at the table, and are delicious. Corarima on Cross Street has lots of fans for its Ethiopian vegetarian and gluten free dishes, whilst opposite is the intimate Jose's Tapas bar and round the corner the larger Qubana Restaurant and Grill.
For a tipple try the 300-year-old Kings Arms in the conservation village of Heath. For live music head to The Hop on Bank Street and for coffee try the independently owned Mocca Moocho.
Two shopping complexes dominate the city centre, Trinity Walk and the Ridings. Wakefield's open air market recently relocated to the cathedral precinct. Pick up a bargain from Thursday to Saturday. Capretti Boutique in Ossett is a good independent choice for designer womenswear, whilst Wakefield also has a magic shop, Merlins, which has been supplying props to magicians for over 20 years!
Suburbs like Horbury have their own retail scene, whilst Blacker Hall Farm Shop, near Calder Grove, has won national accolades for its produce. Gents who fancy pampering should head to the Urban Quarter Traditional Barbers.