Living and working in West Yorkshire
Located in the heart of Northern England, West Yorkshire is a diverse county, located midway between England’s coasts. Nestled between three national parks, with the Pennine Hills to the west, it has an abundance of stunning countryside and quaint villages, a rich history and heritage, and a vibrant cultural and social scene. Covering 783 square miles, it encompasses the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.
Wakefield is a thriving metropolitan centre, with around 80,000 residents, and increasingly popular with young professionals and families. Steeped in history, the area has welcomed travellers since Roman times. You can find out more at the Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract Museums and West Yorkshire History Centre. The majestic Wakefield Cathedral entices you to discover its secrets, you can descend 140m underground at the National Coal Mining Museum, and Pontefract Castle still opens its 11th century cellars to the public.
Wakefield residents enjoy a great lifestyle, with a wealth of restaurants ranging from South American and Italian to Greek, Mediterranean and traditional British. There’s a lively night scene, with dance clubs, live music venues, cocktail bars and iconic pubs. Shopping facilities are superb, with the regenerated Wakefield Waterfront and Trinity Walk Shopping Centre offering an array of shops, cafes and restaurants, along with Wakefield Market Hall, Junction 32 Outlet Village for designer wear, and a number of independent speciality shops.
When it comes to the arts, you’re spoilt for choice. Explore the Hepworth Art Gallery, named after local sculptor, Barbara Hepworth; take a walk through the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, an outdoor art gallery showcasing world-class artwork; or join one of the Artwalk nights, with art and ale. A full calendar of events includes the Liquorice Festival, Clarence Park Festival, Seaside in Wakefield and awe-inspiring Lantern Festival, to name but a few.
Sixty-nine managed parks and wildlife areas combine with acres of picturesque countryside to ensure you enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re cycling or windsurfing in Pugney’s Country Park, taking a walk, wildlife spotting or picnicking by a lake, there’s something for all ages and abilities. The Grade II-listed Friarwood Valley Gardens are picturesque all year round, and Anglers Country Park and Haw Park Wood are both Green Flag Award winners.
There are great opportunities for health and sport, with a number of national gym chains in the area, including Total Fitness and Bannatyne’s Health Club; some excellent golf clubs, including Springmill Golf Club; and activities for all the family at Pugneys Watersports Centre and SNO!zone.
Families are well catered for, with a wealth of activities including an opportunity to drive a digger at Diggerland, regular workshops at the museums and sculpture park, outdoor adventure at Anglers Country Park, and treasure hunts at Pontefract Castle. Happy Days Play Centre is perfect for 0-8 years and for older kids there’s F1 Indoor Karting and the thrill of real snow at SNO!zone.
Wakefield offers an excellent choice of primary, secondary and special needs schools, many with outstanding Ofsted rating. There are two independent schools for girls and boys, and a number of further education establishments, including Wakefield College, with 10,00 full and part time students, and Cathedral High School, a performing art college for ages 11-18.
A diverse range of housing, from new-build apartments to cottages, terraces and detached executive homes, means there’s something to suit every taste and budget, with prices below the national average. The average house price in Wakefield in 2017 was £188,600, with semis selling for an average £155,901, detached for £293,987 and terraced £124,922. (Source Rightmove.)
Wakefield is well connected by motorways, with the M62, A1 and M62 giving easy access to all parts of the UK. Wakefield Westgate Station lies on the high-speed East Coast Mainline, with regular services to Kings Cross, London; Leeds Bradford Airport provides domestic and international flights; there are extensive train and bus networks; and a cycling superhighway is currently under construction, linking Leeds with Bradford.