Revamped Pontefract Castle cafe is 'jewel in the town's crown'

The cafe at Pontefract Castle has been revamped and reopened at part of ongoing regeneration of historic site.
The cafe at Pontefract Castle has been revamped and reopened at part of ongoing regeneration of historic site.

The cafe at Pontefract Castle has been revamped and reopened at part of ongoing regeneration of historic site.

On August 1 the castle was removed from Historic England’s “at risk” list after 16 years and £15 million investment.

The reopened Liquorice Cafe offer has a new menu of healthy and fresh food, with children’s options, sweet treats and hot and cold drinks.

Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “The summer holidays are a great time to visit the castle and see all the renovation work that’s been taking place in recent years.

“The castle attracts thousands of visitors each year and I’m sure people will take a break, enjoy a meal, snack or a drink in this fantastic setting, which offers great views of the historic landmark from both the indoor and outdoor seating areas.”

Work to improve the castle included opening up previously inaccessible areas, such as the Sally Port, new paths, steps and a viewing platform were created above the Swillington Tower, and a new visitor centre was built.

Funding came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity EpaC.

The work even led to Harrogate Council sending a delegation down from North Yorkshire to have a look at what similar steps they might take to improve Knaresborough Castle.

The cafe was officially opened on Monday by Pontefract’s town crier.

Daily specials will be available, and food and drinks will be available to take away.

The cafe’s summer opening days and times are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm from April 1 until September 30.

In the winter it will open from Wednesday to Sunday from October 1 until March 31, from 10am to 4pm.

The castle is nearly one thousand years old, has survived through battles and sieges, and could be the place that Richard II died.

It was placed on Heritage England’s “at risk” register in 2003.

The revamp took longer than expected but was completed late last month.