Things you only know if you’re from Wakefield (and the Five Cities).

Wakefield itself is “a city, but we call it a city,” said Ryan Noble, who works at Appletree Community Garden.

But “don’t forget the five cities,” said another local. The borough actually consists of Wakefield and the five towns (Pontefract, Castleford, Knottingley, Featherstone and Normanton).

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Here’s why you might want to stay in Shakey Wakey and the Five Toons instead of traveling through.

Wakefield city center

“The story goes that there was a chappa named Waka, and that’s where Wakefield got its name from,” said 88-year-old Peter Shipstone, a former history teacher.

“It’s a cathedral city and has great views,” added a local.

Wakefield Cathedral is one of the three cathedrals in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds and one of the 42 Anglican cathedrals in England.

The cathedral is a must-see, both inside and out, and hosts a whole host of events and services.

For some locals, one of the hidden gems is the stall opposite the cathedral “with that guy selling hot chestnuts, which I used to devour as a kid,” said Matthew Gordon, who works in Wakefield while living in Leeds.

But he insists Wakefield is unique in itself and not just “close to Leeds”, added Mr Gordon, who grew up in the borough.

But just past the cathedral and the chestnut stand, which still pops up but now sells sweets and cotton candy instead, is the famous (or infamous) Westgate Run.

The Westgate Run is a pub crawl along Westgate made up of pubs, bars and clubs, added Kath Lindley, CEO of WDHCS Charity.

But anyone spending a night in downtown Wakefield must climb the “deadly” stairs of the famous Pie Shop before staggering home.

“A night isn’t over until you walk into the cake shop,” said Claire Jaques, 44, of Wakefield.

Ms. Jacques also recommended Wakefield’s music scene with The Cribs and the indie scene, which is booming in the city thanks to the Long Division Festival.

She added, “You can’t be from Wakefield and not love The Cribs.”

Daneile Moore recalls paying 20p to get into the Maestro Club in ‘Cas’ (Castleford).

“I never went upstairs either until it closed,” said Ms Moore, who made it to The Pie Shop in Wakefield.

“We had to leave after one night, and I always knew who was there because they had peas on their shoes.”

The Pie Shop isn’t the only dining experience Wakefield is known for, but it’s actually part of the Rhubarb Triangle.

A nine square mile area between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell known for growing forced rhubarb, with forcing season celebrated with the Wakefield Festival of Food and Drink.

The festival hosts a number of stalls and showcases businesses in the city centre.

Bridget Gill, Charity Manager at Spectrum People, added that Pontefract is also the place to be for Liquorice and of course Haribo. Pontefract also has its own liquorice festival.

“Only if you were from Wakey would you know what a vibrant and supportive business community we have. We support each other and do everything we can to ensure our businesses and the people within them thrive,” added Claire Sutherley, Managing Director of We Sind Wakefield.

“It has a lot of culture and diverse roots,” said another local.

Other locals recommended Wakefield for its famous attractions such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the National Coal Mining Museum and The Hepworth Wakefield, as well as the lesser-known Production Park in South Kirkby.

“One of the Wakefield Borough’s best kept secrets has to be the Production Park,” said Place Manager Lucy McDonald of Wakefield Council.

“An internationally renowned campus for live events, TV, film and virtual production. They’ve welcomed the likes of Little Mix, The Killers and Cirque du Soleil through their doors (and only recently).

“I love the idea that some of the biggest names in music and live events have spent time in Wakefield. I would like to know what you think of our house.”

Wakefield also has an interesting history, which is said to be the source of nursery rhymes like The Grand Old Duke of York and Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush.

The Mulberry Bush nursery rhyme has also been thought to derive from the mulberry bush formerly housed on the grounds of Wakefield Prison.

The Duke of York is said to have marched up from the ruins of Sandal Castle (the Normans are said to have completed the building of Motte and Baley Castle around 1130).

The castle is known for its role in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 during the Wars of the Roses in which Richard, Duke of York was killed.

Near the castle is a snicket that leads to Wakefield’s first common estate, Portobello, built in 1921.

“Portobello is home to Manygates Park, which has ruts from the Battle of Wakefield era,” said Sarah Cutts, manager of the Portobello Community Centre.

“The area was laid out 100 years ago as a garden-estate model with desirable council housing, complete with long gardens to accommodate this allotment way of life.”

Portobello’s Duke of York Avenue and the Duke of York Monument commemorate this “often forgotten legacy,” according to the Portobello Community Forum and Edgelands Arts, who have teamed up to host a centennial celebration with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore, document, and share some of Portobello’s rich history.

Many people also recommended local legend “Jane McDonald”.

What would you only know as a local from your area? Let us know @YorkshirePost

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