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summer excursions

Full details of our Summer Excursion are now available. Excursions are only open to members of Wakefield Historical Society or Wakefield Civic Society and their guests.

Please download and print: booking form


Coach excursions will normally depart from the turning circle in front of Wakefield Bus Station on Providence Street at 9am. Please note that the excursion to Rochdale will leave earlier at 8.45am


Leaving Wakefield at 9 am, our May visit takes us to the coast and marina area of Hartlepool and includes a look at the seaside resort of Seaton Carew.

We will have our first stop at around 10.00am and begin our day out in Thirsk. We have an hour to enjoy this lovely old North Yorkshire market town. It has a bustling cobbled square, which is dominated by the town clock and has lots of independent shops and cafés to explore. St Mary's church was built in 15th century and is open from 10am – 4pm daily. There are several blue plaques to locate and fine buildings, including the Georgian Thirsk Hall.

Leaving Thirsk at 11.00am, we will then continue to Hartlepool marina Navigation Point. Here we can watch the boats and yachts in the marina development and see Seaton Lighthouse. We will have time to choose lunch from the good selection of cafés and restaurants.

After lunch we will return to the coach for a very short drive to the National Museum of the Royal Navy Museum at Jackson Dock. The Museum (entry cost £6) gives the visitor a faithful representation of an 18th century seaport, portraying the story of life at sea in the time of Nelson, Napoleon and the battle of Trafalgar. We will begin our visit with a private guided tour (cost £3) of the grand centrepiece HMS Trincomalee. Built in 1817, during the great "Age of Sail," she is one of the last of Nelson's powerful frigates and Europe's oldest floating warship. The tour lasts for one and a half hours, after which you will be at leisure to explore the many converted buildings of the quayside, which have audio visual displays on the press gang and fighting ships. The Museum of Hartlepool is also on the quayside and has a major new display on the WW1 Bombardment of the Hartlepools and includes 130 ceramic poppies from the Tower of London sculpture. Step aboard the restored paddle steamer PSS Wingfield Castle, which was built in 1934 and started life as the Humber ferry. It provides good views over the quayside and harbour and also houses a unique café and exhibition. We will leave the quayside at 4.30pm.

We drive back via the small seaside town of Seaton Carew and if weather permits will stop for a short break. There is a long golden beach and a few shops. Time for ice cream and short stroll before we set off for home!

Cost: coach £16, entry to Museum £6, guided tour of HMS Trincomalee £3. Total cost payable on booking: £25.00
This excursion is organised by Sue Farman. You can contact Sue by email on and by phone on 01226 791587 or mobile 07891 990 593.


We leave Wakefield at 9.00am to drive across into Lancashire to spend the morning exploring the Burnley Weavers Triangle. Operated by a charitable trust, the centre has won many local and national awards. It is an area on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal which tells the story of the canal, cotton and the rich history of its historic textile industry. The site is being opened for us as a private group. We have arranged tea/coffee and biscuits on arrival in the Victorian Parlour (cost £1.00) followed by a one and a half hour guided tour (cost £4.00). We will see the towpath walk and many buildings from the days when the town led the world in the production of cotton cloth. These include toll office, weaving sheds, spinning mills, engine house, foundries and houses. Of particular interest is Slater Terrace - an unusual row of eleven houses above a canal-side warehouse. The tour is designed for all abilities and ages and with our group in mind.

We will leave around 12.30pm for a short drive to Towneley Hall and Park (a member of the Historic Houses Association – HHA), where we will be dropped outside the Hall. The magnificent Hall dates from the 14th century and houses historic rooms, with £65 million of paintings and sculpture, along with the medieval embroidered vestments from Whalley Abbey. Owned and run by Burnley Council, it has landscaped gardens and 400 acres of beautiful parkland with a wayside arts trail, one mile sculpture trail, riverside and garden centre. On arrival, we will have free time to explore and enjoy lunch. The Old Stables Restaurant is very close to the Hall and offers a reasonably priced, wide selection of meals and drinks. There is outdoor seating and plenty of space for picnics.

At 2.15pm, we have a guided tour of the house (cost £8 for admission and tour, £3 for HHA members) which lasts one and a half hours. (Each non-HHA member visiting is given an admission pass, which lasts for one year and can also be loaned or transferred to another person for their use.) Following the tour, you are at leisure to further explore this beautiful property, art gallery, museum and park. The house closes at 5.00pm when we shall leave and make our way home. Journey time is expected to be around one and a half hours.

Cost: Coach £16; tour and refreshments at Weavers Triangle £5; house entry and tour of Towneley Hall £8 (£3 HHA members). Total cost payable on booking: £29.00 (£24.00 HHA members).
This excursion is organised by Sue Farman. You can contact Sue by email on and by phone on 01226 791587 or mobile 07891 990 5932.


We have over the years visited most of the holiday resorts on the Yorkshire coast; Filey is the exception which will be remedied today. We shall leave Wakefield at 9.00 am and should be in Filey before 11.00.

Our first stop will be the ancient parish church of St. Oswald where we shall have tea/coffee and biscuits (toilets available here) before a short talk about the history of the church and a guided tour provided by a volunteer guide. We shall then walk the short distance across the Ravine to Filey Museum.
The Museum consists of two ancient former fishermen's cottages which were saved from demolition by a group of enthusiastic concerned citizens. They developed it as a local museum run entirely by volunteers. It has a wide collection of exhibits relating to the fishing industry and local life. You are then free to explore the town on your own, have lunch in your own time (and at your own expense!), enjoy the views of Filey Brigg, take the sea air and visit the Lifeboat Station.

We shall leave Filey at 3.30 pm for the near-by village of Cayton where we shall visit The Stained Glass Centre. Here there is plenty of scope to look around the shop, watch a short video about the stained glass-making process and enjoy afternoon tea before leaving at 5 pm.

Cost: Coach £16, morning refreshments £2.50, museum entry £2.50. Total cost payable on booking: £21.00
This excursion is being organised by Geoff Wood. Geoff can be contacted on 01924 371207/ mobile 07984 818473.


Rochdale rose to prominence in the 19th century as a mill town and centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and has one of the country's finest examples of Victorian Gothic revival architecture in the form of the 1871 Grade 1 listed Town Hall. Separately in the town there is the well-known Pioneers Museum and also Touchstones building holding the Town's Museum and Art Gallery.

Leaving Wakefield at 8.45 am (note the earlier start), our time in Rochdale will begin with tea or coffee (included) at the Town Hall before starting an hour long guided private tour of the building scheduled to start at 10.15am. Toilet facilities are available pre and post tour.

On leaving the Town Hall it is intended to individually walk along part of the Town Centre Trail (copies to be handed out on the day) the half mile up to the Pioneers Museum. This free museum is housed in the building where the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society started trading on 21 December 1844 and is
regarded as the birthplace of the modern co-operative movement. A self-guided tour can then be undertaken allowing for individual preferences within the permanent and temporary exhibitions. Independently leaving the museum will then allow for free time in the town centre for lunch (not included) and shops.

Regrouping at the Town Hall entrance at 2.30 pm it is intended to complete the balance of the Town Trail (a further half mile) walking via Broadfield Park onto Touchstones (for those not wishing to participate in this second walk, a much shorter 5-minute walk can equally take you directly to this excellent free museum and art gallery). Housed in the former library building you will also find a small café for any light refreshments (not included) before boarding the coach back to Wakefield at 4.30 pm.

Please note all 3 venues are fully accessible with lifts.
Cost: coach £16.00; private guided tour of the Town Hall including tea or coffee £5.75. Total cost payable on booking: £21.75

This excursion is organised by Shirley Levon and John Clarke. To contact Shirley, please email her on John can be contacted by phone on 07779 830733.


Leaving Wakefield at 9.00 am, our last coach excursion this year is to the traditional market town of Bedale and after lunch, on to Teesdale, to see the beautiful house and natural grounds of Rokeby Park.

Our first stop in Bedale is for tea/coffee (at your own expense), followed by a short private visit to the nearby museum. Our guide, from the local Archaeology and History Society, will then take us on a short walking tour to see some of the fascinating historical places in the town. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, and with a beautiful 12th century church, it has the only listed Leech House in the country and a harbour 70 miles from the sea! Its Georgian heyday is reflected the Palladian Bedale Hall and in the elegant buildings which line the market square. Following the tour, we will have free time to see more of the town, market and to have lunch. There are several places to eat at a range of pubs and prices.

We will leave Bedale at 1.15 pm and travel to Rokeby Park. A member of Historic Houses Association (HHA), this lovely country house is in the Palladian style and was designed and built by its owner, Sir Thomas Robinson between 1725 and 1730. It has a wonderful collection of paintings, furniture and ceramics. The house is situated on a flat plateau and the grounds slope down, leading to the riverside. Rokeby has never had a formal or man-made garden, but enjoys a natural beauty provided by the courses of the Rivers Greta and Tees. We have a private guided tour of the house at 2.15pm (cost of entry and tour £7 – no charge for HHA members) and afterwards we can explore the grounds. We will leave at 4.30pm and head to nearby Mainsgill Farmshop for refreshments (at your own expense) before heading home at 5.00pm.

Cost: Coach £16, House entry and tour £7 (HHA members are free – please indicate if you are a member and remember to bring your membership cards on the day!). Total payable on booking: £23 (HHA members £16.)
This excursion is organised by Sue Farman. You can contact Sue by email on and by phone on 01226 791587 or mobile 07891 990 593


Decorated ceiling at Rochdale Town Hall


For these outings, we ask you to make your own way to the venue. There are no booking charges. If you don't have transport of your own and would like a lift, please indicate this on the booking form. We will then pass your contact details on to people offering lifts so that they know to expect you to make contact over the arrangements.


This visit has been arranged to take place in Mental Health Awareness Week. It is also in the bicentennial year of the opening of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1818, known to us as Stanley Royd.

In 1995 when the hospital was decommissioned, the museum at Stanley Royd moved to its current location at Fieldhead Hospital, now one of only three museums in the country devoted to Mental Health. Today the museum not only showcases the Stanley Royd collection, but it is also a leading resource in the history of mental health, aiming to foster debate around past and contemporary mental health care and treatments.

We will meet at the Museum at 10.00 am and be given a guided tour for up to an hour. After this there will be opportunity to spend more time there and to visit the on-site cafe opposite, the Oasis, for refreshments.

At about 11.30 am we will take a short walk to the original site of Stanley Royd. Some of the hospital buildings still survive there, either redeveloped or renovated, and there will be members of the group who can recall the site when it was a hospital and will be able to point out what changes have been made.

A visit to the former Stanley Royd Theatre building, now renovated and serving as a church, has been arranged. There should be some free short-term parking at this site for those who do not wish to walk.

For those travelling by bus: A number of bus services pass or run to Pinderfields Hospital from where Fieldhead is a short walk (eg, service 444, 111). Alternatively service 174 runs past the entrance to Fieldhead Hospital.

For those travelling by car: there is free car parking available at the hospital. Anyone travelling by car who is not able to walk down to Stanley Royd can drive their cars to Stanley Royd (now Parklands residential development) where a limited amount of free parking should be available around the site.

The visit will end around 12.30 when people can return to Fieldhead to collect their cars or return to Wakefield on foot or by bus.

This is a free visit.
The visit is organised by Lesley Taylor. Lesley can be contacted by email on If you need to contact her on the day of the visit for any reason, you can do so by phone on 07896 249884.

Wednesday, 27th June: Tadcaster

Most of us know about the famous breweries, but Tadcaster had a long history before these were established. Settled first by the Romans at the crossing of the River Wharfe, it was named in the Domesday Book as 'Tatecaster'.

We shall meet our guides from Tadcaster Historical Society at 10.30am at the south-west (Leeds) end of the historic bridge, which was badly damaged in the floods on Boxing Day 2015; they also engulfed part of the town and the church. The River Wharfe was navigable up to Tadcaster and our guides will tell us about the weir where the mill was sited and the viaduct designed by George Hudson, 'The Railway King'.
The history of the 11th century motte and bailey castle will be revealed; this was the site of an archaeological dig by Tadcaster Historical Society in 2015. We hope to be able to visit the church, services permitting. Problems with regular flooding led the building to be taken down stone by stone in 1875-77 and re-erected five feet higher. Returning through the town we shall see the Sunday School erected in 1788, only the second in the country and the first purpose-built one. Our guides will tell us about the 15th century building known as 'The Ark', now used as offices for the Council.

There are many other buildings of interest, and tales to tell: - the Workhouse, the Riley Smith Hall built following WW1 as a memorial and the many inns on this main route to York.

The walk will take between 45 minutes and an hour and is mostly fairly level on good surfaces. Participants, however, undertake it at their own risk. There is a free car park on the right just after you have to turn left on the main road (A659) for the one-way system; the green bays are short stay only. There are usually spaces, but if necessary there is another car park over the bridge behind the bus station. There are public toilets near the bus station, but participants may wish to arrive early to enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes and use their facilities prior to the walk.

This is a free visit.
This visit is organised by Shirley Levon. If you have any questions about the arrangements, please contact Shirley by email on .

2. Monday, 9th July: Half-day or full day visit to Rotherham

The morning visit is a guided tour.
Meeting at the Chantry Chapel (Chapel of our Lady on The Bridge), Rotherham at 10.00 am.

Getting there:
The chapel in a few minutes' walk from the railway station.
There are two car parks more or less opposite the Chapel. You can find details of the various car parks on the Rotherham Council website.

There is a train from Wakefield Westgate at 09.04 – but please check nearer the time of travel; at the time of writing, the on-line fares are £10.70 return by any train, or £9.70 on selected trains. Senior Railcard holders would pay £ 7.05 for any train or £6.40 for selected trains and Senior Metro card holders receive 50% off, but can only use this in West Yorkshire on the return journey. You can also consider purchasing a 'two for one' ticket if travelling with someone else.

The Chapel, one of only 4 in the country which are an integral part of the bridge construction, has had a chequered history and being a religious centre has been only a small part of its history. Inside is a modern stained glass window reflecting the seasons and Rotherham's history.

After leaving the Chapel, we will have a short walk to the Minster (the tower should be open to those who wish to climb) followed by a tour of the Town Hall. The visits ends at The 3 Cranes, a timber framed 15th century house.

There are cafés in Rotherham for lunch.

This will be the end of the guided tour. However, for those of you wanting to spend more time in the town, there is the option of travelling to the Clifton Park Museum, around half a mile from the centre. It has a car park (£1) and a café. This part of the visit is unguided.

Cost: The cost is £5 per person, payable on booking. This covers a donation of £3 to Rotherham Civic Society and a donation to the Chapel of £2.

This visit is organised by Christina Sherborne in conjunction with Peter Hawkridge, the President of Rotherham Civic Society. You can contact Christina by email on or by telephone on 01924 892681.

Details of our 'make your own way' visits for June, August and September will follow as soon as we have them.


Our August "Make Your Own Way" visit will be to Leeds Discovery Centre. This is the depository of the Leeds Museum Service and contains a huge collection of items which space does not permit to be on show permanently. "It has one million intriguing objects from dress and textile, social history, natural science, geology and archaeology - everything from toucans to telephones, meteorites to masks" and much more.

We meet at the Centre at 11 am when we shall have tea/coffee and biscuits followed by a talk on the history of the Leeds Museums Service and a tour of the exhibits which are stored in a huge hangar-like building with humidity control and a "freezing area" to kill off any "bugs".
The total cost is £7, payable on booking.

The centre is easily accessible from Wakefield on the 110 (Leeds) bus which runs every 10 minutes at this time of day. Alight at Chadwick Street stop, cross the main road, walk back a short distance to Sayner Road. Turn left here and Sayner Road becomes Carlisle Road, the Discovery Centre will soon become visible on the right hand side. Walking time from the bus stop is about 10 minutes.
Bus number 28 runs between Leeds bus station and Liberty Dock, a short walk from Leeds Discovery Centre.
The Discovery Centre is a one-mile walk from Leeds station.
A large free car park is accessible from Sayner Lane. This includes disabled parking.
Bike racks are available outside Leeds Discovery Centre.

This visit is being organised by Geoff Wood. Geoff can be contacted on 01924 371207/ mobile 07984 818473.

Save the date! We are hoping to arrange a visit to Stank New Hall Barn (near the White Rose Centre outside Leeds) on Saturday morning, 15th September. If you are interested in this visit, please save the date in your diary. More information will be provided nearer the time.