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Things to do in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire is a county of contrasts - from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities such as Barnsley and Sheffield to the peaceful tranquility of the Peak District and its rivers and lakes.

Sheffield Skyline
Sheffield Skyline

The County comprises four administrative districts - Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.


Sheffield is the fourth largest city in England, famous for the production of steel and cutlery.

Aerial view of Manvers Lake, Rotherham
Aerial view of Manvers Lake, Rotherham

It's a great place to visit with a vast choice of shops, restaurants, leisure and sporting facilities, museums, art galleries and attractions.

Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve, Doncaster
Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve, Doncaster

Sheffield is known as England's greenest city and boasts such facilities as the Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Additionally, it has over 50 public parks so you're never far from a pleasant place to relax.

Winnats Pass in the Peak District
Winnats Pass in the Peak District

The Peak District National Park lies to the west of the city approximately five miles from the centre.

The Rivers Sheaf (from which Sheffield takes its name), Don and Rother flow through the surrounding countryside and provide opportunities for recreation.

The river valleys lead to countryside of hills, lakes and moor land that lies to the north, south and west. There's lovely scenery here for walking, cycling or horse riding.



Rotherham is a busy industrial town sitting at the confluence of the Rivers Don and Rother. The Chapel of Our Lady - on the bridge spanning the River Don - dates to the 15th century and is one of the few remaining in Britain.

Rotherham Minster, previously known as All Saints Church dates back to the 15th century. It's one of the finest and largest in the county, and is well worth visiting.

Conisbrough Viaduct
Conisbrough Viaduct

Further information about Rotherham and its history can be found at Clifton Park Museum.

The Rotherham district is over 70% rural, with over 200 miles of footpaths, cycle trails and bridleways.

There are three country parks to explore, pretty villages, woodlands and nature reserves.


Roche Abbey, Maltby, Rotherham
Roche Abbey, Maltby, Rotherham

As with Rotherham, South Yorkshire Tourist Information can be found in Doncaster's central Library.

Doncaster is a bustling market town with good shopping and some fine Georgian buildings, notably the Mansion House which has graced the High Street for over two centuries.

The woodlands at Wentworth Castle
The woodlands at Wentworth Castle

The Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery is a complete contrast. Purpose-built and opened in 1964, it displays collections of local history, natural history and fine and decorative art.

You'll find The Regimental Museum for the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in the same building.

Cusworth Hall and Lake
Cusworth Hall and Lake

The Museum of South Yorkshire Life is housed in Cusworth Hall. This is an imposing 18th century country house set in landscaped parklands.

Doncaster is home of the famous 'St Ledger' - reputedly the oldest classic horse race in the world.

Conisbrough Castle
Conisbrough Castle

Anglers have the opportunity to catch salmon in the River Don, while Hayfield Fisheries continues the piscine theme, being home to the popular 'Fishomania'.

St Georges Minster, Doncaster
St Georges Minster, Doncaster

Hatfield Water Park offers facilities for canoeing, dinghy sailing, windsurfing and coarse fishing.

Many cycling and walking routes cover scenic paths throughout the Doncaster district.


Damflask Reservoir, Sheffield
Damflask Reservoir, Sheffield

Barnsley, the county's principle market town, was once at the heart of the south Yorkshire coalfield.

Since the closure of the coal mines Barnsley has been undergoing extensive regeneration efforts.

The 700 year old market still exists alongside modern shopping facilities.

Elsecar, Barnsley
Elsecar, Barnsley

Interesting attractions to visit here include:

Elsecar Heritage Centre - illustrating industrial heritage - and an interactive world of science and history.

Cannon Hall Museum, set in acres of historic parkland, which is home to the Regimental Museum of the 13th/18th Hussars (Queen Mary's Own). It's a must for anyone interested in military history.

Cawthorne, Barnsley
Cawthorne, Barnsley

Cawthorne Museum is the only survivor of John Ruskin's dream of a network of village museums set up throughout Britain.

Wentworth Castle Gardens will be interesting to garden lovers, the gardens cover 40 acres with national plant collections.

Azalea Garden at Wentworth Castle
Azalea Garden at Wentworth Castle

Days out in South Yorkshire

  • Brodsworth Hall
    Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire is one of the most authentic Victorian country houses in England.
    Brodsworth Hall
  • Cannon Hall Museum
    Cannon Hall was designed by John Carr of York and is set in over 70 acres of historic parkland which includes beautiful formal gardens providing a perfect setting for picnics or relaxing strolls.
    Cannon Hall Museum
  • Cawthorne Victoria Jubilee Museum

    In 1884, the Rev. Charles Tiplady Pratt, the parish vicar, founded the Cawthorne Museum Society.  He wanted to encourage local youngsters to become interested in Natural History and start a museum collection.

    Cawthorne Victoria Jubilee Museum
  • Conisbrough Castle
    Those who have read Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe will immediately recognize Conisbrough Castle which was featured in the famous story, set in Medieval England.
    Conisbrough Castle
  • Cusworth Hall, Museum and Park
    Cusworth Hall, Museum and Park has now re-opened to the public after several years of extensive restoration work.The Hall and its surrounding parkland have been transformed
    Cusworth Hall, Museum and Park
  • Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery
    Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery is full of exciting collections depicting various aspects of natural history, archaeology, local history and fine and decorative art.
    Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery
  • Hatfield Water Park
    The Water Park Lake is used for canoeing, dinghy sailing, windsurfing and sub-aqua. Structured RYA and BCU Courses are run at the Water Park for both adults and juniors.
    Hatfield Water Park
  • Millennium Gallery Museum Sheffield
    The Millennium Gallery Museum Sheffield is an award winning modern building, situated in the city centre of Sheffield. It was created at the time of Sheffield's Heart of the City regeneration project.
    Millennium Gallery Museum Sheffield
  • Sheffield Botanical Garden
    Sheffield Botanical Gardens were designed in 1834 by Robert Marnock, a leading horticulturalist and landscape designer. The Gardens are listed by English Heritage as a Grade II site of special historic and architectural interest.
    Sheffield Botanical Garden
  • The Traditional Heritage Museum
    This Sheffield museum comprises a fascinating collection of artefacts, housed in small reconstructed workshops representing typical local trades.
    The Traditional Heritage Museum
  • Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre
    Discover a wild family day out, catch a glimpse into a faraway world and make friends with creatures great and small.
    Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre
  • Wentworth Castle Gardens
    One of the most important historic gardens in the North of England, this hidden gem celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2009.
    Wentworth Castle Gardens

Places to Visit in South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley
    The town of Barnsley is in the former mining area of South Yorkshire, about 12 miles north of Sheffield.
  • Bawtry
    The village of Bawtry lies on the border between South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, with Lincolnshire just down the road.
  • Brodsworth
    Brodsworth Hall was built between 1861 and 1863 for Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson who inherited the estate in 1859 from his Great Grandfather Peter.
  • Doncaster
    Doncaster is in South Yorkshire, close to the M1, the A1 and the M62 cross-Pennines route.
  • Great Houghton
    Great Houghton is a little village situated near Thurnscoe and Darfield in Barnsley.
  • Little Houghton
    Little Houghton is a quiet backwater. It wasn't always like this. In the eighteenth century it was a stopping place for traders on well established pack horse trails trading cloth and other goods across the country.
    Little Houghton
  • Mexborough
    Mexborough is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, it featuring bustling little areas of activity set against a backdrop of historic features and interest.
  • Oughtibridge
    Oughtibridge is a medium sized residential village on the outskirts of Sheffield. Just a stones throw from the peak district. Oughtibridge is surrounded by beautiful countryside and brilliant sights.
  • Penistone
    Penistone is a small South Yorkshire town of around 10,000 inhabitants, just outside Barnsley.
  • Rotherham
    The Borough of Rotherham has a population of about 250,000, and lies on the rivers Rother and Don. The town was founded in the early Middle Ages, though there were Iron Age and Roman settlements here.
  • Sheffield
    Sheffield is situated in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with the Peak National Park on the doorstep. There are abbeys, castles, priories and stately homes nearby to visit, and many interesting attractions within the city.
  • Tinsley
    Tinsley is a small town located within walking distance of a large shopping centre. Tinsley prides itself on its close community, therefore it is a relatively safe area to be in.

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