Wakefield is a city in West Yorkshire with a population of about 100,000 people. It is located in a pristine part of the country right on River Calder. The city is located 10 miles away from Leeds and is closely linked to London and Manchester which makes Wakefield a prime commuter town for those working in the larger cities. If you are moving to UK, especially for work, Wakefield is one of the cities you should take a close look at. The former coal mining town has regenerated itself to become a bustling modern day city.
Is Wakefield a good place to live? The town’s proximity to other major cities makes it an attractive commuter base. The real estate rates and prices are low and the homes have beautiful Victorian influences. Wakefield is located near rivers and has pristine patches of land. The cost of living is low and is generally a good place to live.
I could toot Wakefield’s horn till I was blue in the face but until you visit here and get a direct experience of what the city is like, nothing can compare. Most people will say Wakefield is dull but it will pale in comparison to the activity of cities like Leeds. All I can do is present you with the best information possible so that when you decide that you are moving to Wakefield, it will be a decision you will not regret. There is more to every city that how well it is ranked and Wakefield proves that.
Is Wakefield a good place to live?
Wakefield is just like any other city and has it’s glorious and its horrid parts. There are great neighbourhoods in Wakefield from the city centre to the outermost suburbs. The best areas to find properties in and around the city centre include Barass Yard, Duke of York Street, Peacock Avenue and East Moor. You will also find decent neighbourhoods in the suburbs in places like Woodland Drive, Walton Lane, Oakenshaw Lane, Crigglestone and City Fields. The worst neighbourhoods are also scattered in various spots around the city and include places like Lupset, Alverthorpe, Kirkhamgate and the Humber.
The crime rate in Wakefield is quite high; higher than the national average. The city can experience up to 1000 crimes per month. Violent crimes are the majority of the crimes done in Wakefield adding up to about 33% of all crimes in Wakefield. Anti Social Behaviour crime came in second with half the reported cases of violent crimes. Criminal damage and arson are the third most prevalent crimes in Wakefield. Most criminals in Wakefield are unfortunately not prosecuted with only three per cent of offenders ever getting to court.
There are many Ofsted ranked schools in Wakefield. The oldest among them is Queen Elizabeth Grammar School which has been in existence for over four centuries. Other excellent secondary schools in Wakefield include Cathedral Academy, Castleford Academy, De Lacy Academy and King’s School of Mathematics and Computing. Primary schools in Wakefield include Sandal Castle Community Primary School, Simpson’s Lane Academy, Jerry Clay Academy, Westend Academy and St. Ignacious Catholic Primary School.
Wakefield is ideally situated for access to UK’s motorway network. The intersection between the M1 and the M62 lays just North West of Wakefield. The M1 connects Wakefield to London in the South while the M62 connects the city to Manchester in the West and Hull to the East.
Wakefield is the starting point of the A636 and A650 highways in addition to being crossed by the A61, A638 and A642 roads. There are two train stations in the city centre; Wakefield Kirkgate and Wakefield Westgate, the former being slightly older than the latter. Both stations handle inter-city express trains and it takes less than two hours to get to London and only fifteen minutes to get to Leeds from Wakefield.
The closest airport is Leeds Bradford Airport which is a 50-minute drive away from Wakefield and can connect residents and visitors to locations as far away as the USA and Malaysia.
Wakefield’s social life is quite vibrant and residents have the choice of indoor or outdoor activities. There is the Anglers Country Park which has a beautiful landscape where residents can enjoy bird watching and picnics. Other parks include Thornes Park and Clarence Park. There are also many bars and restaurants in Wakefield including Hogarths, Gin Bible, The Hop and Red Kite. There are plenty of places to go shopping too including Ridings Shopping Centre and Cross Square.
Is Wakefield a good place to work?
If you are moving to Wakefield because of work, then you are in luck. The unemployment rate in Wakefield is 5% just slightly over the national average of 4%. About 80% of the population in Wakefield is economically active with 15% of the households being workless. 70% of the employees work full-time jobs.
The average salary for an employee in Wakefield is £31,800 almost £5,000 less than the national average of £36,600.
The biggest industry employing people in Wakefield is the wholesale & retail trade and the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles. The second largest industry is human health & social work activities followed by the manufacturing industry. The most popular employers in Wakefield include the Wakefield Council, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, Minster Law Solicitors and The National Health Service.
Is Wakefield a good place to buy a house?
If you decide you are moving to the UK and Wakefield is your preferred city of residence, then you will have to pay close attention to the city’s real estate market. The prices will depend on the neighbourhood where you decide to relocate. Homes in good neighbourhoods will cost more than in bad neighbourhoods but how much more can vary widely.
Good neighbourhoods include Barass Yard, Duke of York Street, Peacock Avenue and East Moor, Woodland Drive, Walton Lane, Oakenshaw Lane, Crigglestone and City Fields. The worst neighbourhoods include places like Lupset, Alverthorpe, Kirkhamgate and the Humber.
The average price for a piece of property in Wakefield is £165,000 which is well below the national average of £294,000. The average price of a detached house in Wakefield is £260,000, of a flat, is £102,000 of a semi-detached property is and £116,000 for a terraced property.
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom property is £454, for a two bedroom property is £564, for a three bedroom property is £723 and for a four bedroom property is £1065.
The average sale price for a one bedroom property in Wakefield is £87,500.
The average price for a two bedroom property is £130,000. The average price for a three bedroom property is £200,000 while that for a four bedroom property is £286,000.
Is Wakefield a good place to retire?
There are plenty of retirement properties in Wakefield because Wakefield is a good place to retire. With pristine parks and connecting rivers, the city is a call for retirees to sit back and take stock. Wakefield is a small town but its transport links ensure that retirees can get all the services and goods they require in no time.
Retirement properties are constantly on sale in Wakefield. Most are regular properties that have the facilities to house retirees so the rents and prices of properties are about the same as regular buildings. However, certain properties that will have made certain renovations to house the elderly which will make them more expensive. Retirement properties worth mentioning include Ackton Bungalows, Ashfield House, Bembridge House, Broadroyd, Carlton Court and Chapel Close.
Is Wakefield a good place to visit?
There are plenty of outstanding attractions and landmarks in the city of Wakefield.
The Hepworth in Wakefield should definitely be on your list if you plan on visiting the city. The gallery is quite large and hosts contemporary art by some of the most popular figures in Britain’s art scene. You will also find some rare pieces in the gallery by Barbara Hepworth herself.
The Royal Theatre of Wakefield is one of the oldest theatres in the region and is still in constant use today. The theatre can sit up to five hundred people and regularly hosts events including music, comedy, musical theatre, drama and ballet so there is something for everyone.
Thornes Park in Wakefield spans an impressive 60 hectares and is less than two kilometres from the city centre. A brisk walk in the park’s landscape is very therapeutic and the open spaces also function as extensive playgrounds which can be used to play recreational sports among other activities.
Sandle Castle remains are a landmark of Wakefield because it houses so much history. The famous battle of Wakefield in 1460 was fought right underneath the castle walls. The castle was also part of the English civil war and visitors can now wander around the castle’s stone remains.
If you want to descend 150 metres into the deepest and oldest coal mines in the country, then visit the National Coal Mining Museum is very close to Wakefield and you can appreciate the history of the coal mining town. You will have a better understanding of how tough it was for the workers and how much coal shaped the history of Great Britain.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.