Clarence Park, Wakefield Review For Families

Nestled in the heart of Wakefield, United Kingdom, Clarence Park is a hidden gem. Covering over 28 acres, it boasts lush green landscapes, towering trees, meticulously maintained lawns, and vibrant flower gardens—a picturesque sanctuary offering respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

This cherished park has captivated the hearts of generations of visitors, revealing the region’s rich cultural and historical heritage through its Victorian-inspired landscaping and architectural grandeur.

As a family, we relish the great outdoors, and Clarence Park provided us with an idyllic setting to indulge in our love for nature. Having visited the park multiple times as Wakefield residents, we appreciate the unique arrangement of Clarence Park within Thornes Park, and it’s important to clarify this distinction.

While the park is a part of Thornes Park, its specific features like the play area and miniature railway are technically under the purview of Thornes Park. This article will focus on Clarence Park while acknowledging its connection to Thornes Park.

Where is Clarence Park located?

One of the great advantages of Clarence Park is its convenient location within Wakefield Park, which encompasses Thornes Park and Holmfield Park. Situated along Denby Dale Road, it’s easily accessible by car, public transport, or even on foot for those who live nearby. Ample parking spaces are available nearby, making it hassle-free for families to visit. The park is well-connected, making it a feasible day trip destination for those coming from surrounding areas.

The History of Clarence Park

Beyond its natural beauty and family-friendly amenities, Clarence Park boasts a touch of history. The idea of creating a public park in Wakefield to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee was first proposed in 1887. It wasn’t until 1890 that Mr. Charles Milne-Gaskell JP, a resident of Thornes House, generously offered the land for this noble cause. The park, funded by public subscription and guided by a group of trustees, began to take shape, and on July 6, 1893, it was officially opened to the public.

The park boasts a fascinating history, with the Duke of Clarence planting a white horse chestnut tree on the site. Various features were added over the years, including a bandstand on Lowe Hill, wrought iron gates at the entrance on Denby Dale Road, and a decorative drinking fountain erected in 1893 in memory of Major Joseph Barker. These historical remnants add a touch of nostalgia to your visit, making Clarence Park more than just a recreational area.

What is There to Do for Families?

Oh, where do we start? Thornes park is a treasure trove of family-friendly fun. It offers a multitude of activities for everyone to enjoy. 

We began our adventure by strolling along the paths that meandered through the park’s lush greenery. The kids were ecstatic to see ducks, swans, and geese swimming in the nearby pond.

Let’s dive into some of the park’s most exciting features.

The Play Area

Located within Thornes Park, a short stroll from Clarence Park, the play area offers endless fun for children of all ages. The playground has undergone several changes over the years, and it currently features a small fenced area designed specifically for little ones. With soft flooring to ensure safety, it boasts swings, slides, and bouncy areas. 

Additionally, there is a larger playground area that includes a unique rope climbing area, swings, a thrilling slide, and various rocks to climb on. The ground surface has been carefully treated to minimise the risk of injuries. 

We spent a good hour here playing with Matilda and Barney, pushing them on the swings and letting them burn energy exploring the play equipment. With ample seating for parents to relax and observe, the kids’ play area is the perfect spot for your kids to exert and explore.

Miniature Railway

Right behind the playground, there’s a ride-on railway that both adults and children can enjoy. It’s a delightful little treasure that adds to the park’s charm. Matilda couldn’t get enough of the mini-train rides, and Barney insisted on multiple rounds.

Bike-Friendly Paths

For families who enjoy cycling, Clarence Park has bike-friendly paths that are worth exploring. We had a great time here by exploring the park with our bicycles. Matilda loved cycling here. The paths are safe and well-maintained, allowing you to pedal through the park’s beauty and take in the serene atmosphere on two wheels. Just remember to be considerate of pedestrians and follow park rules.

Sports Galore

Are your kids sports enthusiasts? Clarence Park offers numerous opportunities for sports and physical activities. You’ll find tennis courts, basketball courts, and football pitches, ensuring that your energetic little ones can burn off some steam while having fun. Whether you’re a budding sports star or just looking for a friendly game, the park’s got you covered.

Live Performances at the Bandstand

At certain times of the year, Clarence Park comes alive with live performances at the bandstand. While you’ll need to bring your own seats, it’s a fantastic way to spend an evening with family, enjoying music in a picturesque setting. Matilda was mesmerised by the live music, and Barney even attempted a little dance!

Additional Attractions

Clarence Park is part of Wakefield Park, which includes Thornes Park and Holmfield Park. Nearby, you’ll find Thornes Park, home to an aviary and the secret garden, and Holmfield Park, which includes The Holmfield Arms.

Facilities At Clarence Park

Now that we’ve covered the exciting activities, let’s talk about the essential facilities that make a day at Clarence Park comfortable and enjoyable:

Accessibility: Most of the park is mobility scooter-friendly, ensuring that everyone, including those with mobility challenges, can enjoy the beauty of the park. There’s even seating available when bands perform at the bandstand.

Parking: You can drive into the park up to the campus area, where you’ll find ample parking. This convenience makes it hassle-free to transport your family and all your gear.
Cafe and Ice Cream: For those craving refreshments, there’s a little cafe near the duck pond, although we recommend checking the opening times. Plus, there’s an ice cream van in the car park next to the playground, perfect for treating the kids (and yourselves) to a sweet treat.

Areas of improvement

While our experience at Clarence Park was overwhelmingly positive, we believe in providing a balanced perspective. Here are a few areas where the park could potentially improve:

1. Signage: While the park is relatively easy to navigate, we did find that some additional signage could help visitors find specific attractions or facilities more easily, especially if it’s their first visit.

2. Cafe Hours: It would be great if the cafe near the duck pond had more consistent opening hours. This way, visitors can plan their trips around snack breaks with confidence.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely, without a doubt, we wholeheartedly recommend Clarence Park for families. It’s a beautiful, historic park that offers a fantastic blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and educational opportunities. We had a great time here. Matilda and Barney really enjoyed the park, and there’s plenty to do for families. We spent time exploring the playground, taking leisurely walks, and even learning a bit about the park’s history. It’s a nice couple of hours of entertainment and outdoor fun.

Frequently Asked Questions

As parents who’ve explored Clarence Park with our kids, we understand that you may have some questions. Here are answers to some common queries:

Is there a cafe?:

Yes, there is a cafe near the duck pond. However, we recommend checking the opening times, as they may vary.

What is your favourite part?:

Our favourite part has to be the playground. It kept Matilda and Barney entertained for hours, and the safety measures in place made us feel confident about their playtime.

Are dogs allowed?

Yes, you can bring your own bikes. The park offers a great space for cycling, and it’s an excellent activity for families.

Can we bring our own bikes?

Yes, you can bring your own bikes. The park offers a great space for cycling, and it’s an excellent activity for families.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there’s ample parking available at the park. You can drive up to the campus area and find a spot with ease.

Are there any entrance fees for visiting the park?

No, there are no entrance fees to visit Clarence Park. It’s a public park, making it an accessible and affordable destination for families.

Pros & Cons


  • Free parking available
  • Playpark is excellent.
  • Plenty of open green space.
  • Sporting activities are available throughout.


  • Facilities could be slightly better.
  • Car park can be a little hectic.
  • PlayPark can get very busy.

Park enjoyment rating

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Ryan

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