Wakefield's location at the heart of England and at the centre of the UK's communications network offers unsurpassed transport links, providing fast connections by road, rail, and air.
At the intersection between the M1 and M62 and with the A1 at its eastern boundary, the district is well placed to access other regional centres such as Leeds, Sheffield and York.
Ease of commuting extends beyond the region with Wakefield Westgate, the city's mainline station situated on the high speed east coast mainline, offering excellent connections to key UK destinations. Direct half-hourly services operate to London throughout the day with the quickest journey taking under 2 hours. Sheffield, York, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle are also within easy reach.
Several airports offering domestic and international flights are nearby, including Leeds Bradford, Robin Hood Airport, Manchester and East Midlands. Leeds Bradford, Manchester and East Midlands all provide direct flights to London and Brussels.
The district has emerged from over a century of reliance on coal mining to become a thriving manufacturing, shopping and distribution centre, taking full advantage of its place at the heart of the region's transport network.
Wakefield is a district with a proud heritage and a buoyant future, whose people are represented by forward-looking Wakefield Council that has a vision for the future:-
"in ten years time, Wakefield will be a distinctive, vibrant city at the heart of the district's economy with a skilled workforce, making a real contribution to the prosperity and diversity of the Yorkshire and Humber region.
The city will be a place for people, with a strong public transport system allowing quick and convenient access to and around the city and surrounding neighbourhoods.
Wakefield will be a thriving commercial centre presenting distinctive retail areas, modern office accommodation, a range of quality residential opportunities and a mix of excellent leisure opportunities."
Wakefield city is a historic seat of regional government in Yorkshire and for two centuries provided the county headquarters of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Today the city retains its strong tradition of public service employment with the headquarters of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, the Yorkshire and Humber regional assembly and the West Yorkshire Police located at its heart within the civic quarter.
Public sector presence extends to the health service including the headquarters of the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Wakefield district covers some 338 square kilometres and is home to 325,600 people in a diverse range of city, urban and rural communities, and an amalgam of what were previously 14 different local authorities.
The north west includes Horbury, Ossett, Wrenthorpe, Stanley and Altofts, while Normanton, Castleford, Pontefract, Knottingley, Featherstone and a host of smaller settlements make up the five towns. In the south east, there are the towns of Hemsworth, South Kirkby and South Elmsall as well as other communities.
Some 70 per cent of the rural communities of the district is designated as green belt. Dotted about the rolling countryside are villages like Middlestown, Crigglestone, Crofton, Woolley and Ackworth.
Wakefield Council and its partner organisations in the Wakefield District Partnership are making great strides in bringing new life to the old mining communities of the south east. Major achievements have already been made in reclaiming former colliery sites for both leisure and industrial use.
Leisure and Sport
The district boasts several nationally recognised cultural and leisure facilities including the National Coal Mining Museum for England and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and is birthplace to two giants of modern sculpture; Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. An award winning gallery opened in 2011 on the city's Waterfront, the Hepworth, to house original works by Barbara Hepworth as well as significant works by other artists.
The city centre is vibrant with pavement cafés, restaurants, bars and an exciting nightlife enhancing its cosmopolitan feel. A multi-million pound regeneration project has seen a significant transformation of the city's retail core at the northern gateway into the city.
Trinity Walk, a new shopping precinct opened in Wakefield in 2011 to complement the well established Ridings Centre.
Europe's largest shopping village, the Junction 32 Outlet Village 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.
The city and surrounding areas are a stronghold of sport including; rugby league where Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats share a long tradition with teams like Featherstone Rovers; and horse racing - the longest continuous flat circular course can be found at Pontefract.
There is an abundance of walking and cycle paths throughout the district with country parks, nature trails, waterways and lakes all waiting to be explored. The lake at Pugneys Country Park is a haven for sailing enthusiasts and canoeists and is within a mile of the city centre.