The name “Doncaster” actually comes from the fort called Danum (Don) located at the foot of the town and the Roman word for fort (caster). The inherent charm of the historical hotspots of this beautiful land fuses magnificently with the calm of its scenic attractions which seems to give this place the popularity that it has as a tourist destination. Let us look at some of the best things to do during your stay in Doncaster.
Stand where history happened at Brodsworth Hall
This hall with its stunning 15 acres of award winning formal gardens is a beautiful reflection of the bygone Victorian era. This was once owned by the Thellusson family and is now open to the public. The hall also provides Guided Taster Tours which take you through the hall’s restored interiors and narrate to you the story of the fortunes of the people who lived here. Find the ‘grand rooms’ on the ground floor designed in the unique 1860s Italianate style, the Billiard room and the impressive Victorian kitchen. Enjoy your time with your family at the play area and explore the game larder. Also make sure to stop by at the tearoom to sip on some delicious tea.
Be a part of The Vulcan Experience
Avail yourself of the rare opportunity to experience what it is like to fly extraordinary aircrafts at this excellent piece of heritage. An information pack is provided to you right at the beginning which guides you through the experience. You may tour this place either on a one to one basis or as a part of a small group. At this open air museum, see the Vulcan XH558 in all her beauty and enjoy a good time getting yourself photographed next to or even inside the cockpit of this magnificent piece of engineering! Take your time to talk to people associated with the Vulcan experience- from engineers to volunteers and make sure you don’t miss the air shows.
Explore Cusworth Hall
Set in the scenic parklands of Cusworth Park, this Palladium Hall has been turned into a social history museum now and is a beautiful example of a Georgian country house. This museum, surprisingly, is free to enter, but you can donate voluntarily. In each room, there is display material supported by information and interpretation boards that point towards the function associated with the room. You will also find interesting local stories along with evidence on the local people, clothes, mining and so on. There is a green flag park with lakes and a play area with an ice-cream van for the kids. At the famous Cusworth Hall Easter Egg Roll, you can even bring your own decorated egg and participate in the decorated egg competition. There is also a small cafe and a micro brewery in the old courtyard.
Stroll around the Cusworth Park Tree Trail
Surrounding the Cusworth Hall, this nature trail is sure to provide you with a nice experience of learning combined with leisure. Look out for the mysterious strawberry tree which grows some other edible red fruits instead of strawberry, or take up the hidden word challenge, where you will have to find all of the different trees on the Cusworth Park Tree Trail. Children’s play areas are also located here.
Witness the magic of Conisbrough Castle
This magnificent castle was built by the Earl of Surrey in the 11th century. Made of fine magnesian limestone is one of the most beautiful examples of medieval architecture in all of Europe and is known to have inspired the ‘Coningsburgh Castle’ from Sir Walter Scott's classic Ivanhoe. Check out the Visitor Centre with its informative museum and the grassy areas around the castle walls to spend time with the family enjoying games and picnics.
Treat yourself at Doncaster Market
One of the biggest and finest traditional markets in all of England, this market has received praise from customers and even celebrities from all over the world. Find all sorts of stands, stalls and shops at different market areas in this market. Find the Goose Hill Market, the Fish Market, the Antique Market and the Outdoor Market. At the Wool Market, you will find a new, brightly coloured magical well with a glass top. You can actually see straight down the well! Apart from this, you will even find the International Food Hall with all sorts of award-winning delicacies.
Shop at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre
Named after a medieval gate and originally known as the Arndale Centre, this shopping centre has over 120 stores to interest you. Here, you will find everything you’re looking for from chic clothes and fragrances to gifts to food and more. There is even a Flip Out trampoline and adventure park located inside!
Discover Roman ruins at the Doncaster Minster grounds
The Doncaster Minster grounds are located on the same side as the fort of Danum after which the town of Yorkshire was named. The 18-metre stretch of the ruins give the visitors interesting insights on the history of Doncaster.
Explore the Doncaster Museum
Abundant of evidence on history and information on archaeology, natural and social history and fine arts, this museum tells you everything that you need to know about the story of one of England’s oldest towns- Doncaster- right from the Ice Age to the 21st century. You will also get the chance to visit the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and see the war medals earned by soldiers who served in the regiment in the past. The museum also hosts events on themes of local and family history and even conducts workshops.
Make it to Tickhill Castle on its annual open day
Interestingly enough, this 11th century castle located on the Nottingham/Yorkshire West Riding border, opens for the public for just one day in June every year. Inside this castle are hidden extensive grounds and a 70 feet high motte. If you’re lucky, you may have the privilege of being a part of the festival-like day and getting a rare peek inside this secret castle and across the surrounding area.
Spend some time outdoors at the Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
This nature reserve has fabulous views in store for the explorer in you. Witness breathtaking murmurations of starlings, the view over the lake and many different habitats with their vantage points. You may have a close look at birds like woodpeckers and kingfishers and meet mammals like deers and hedgehogs. During summer, a variety of butterflies make the surroundings even more scenic. The globally threatened animals one may get to see here are certainly an unmissable highlight. It might be a good idea to enjoy a burning campfire here or to spend your time making crafts in the woodlands. There is even a tempting little gift shop and a pleasant cafe which lets you choose between eating indoors and outdoors.
Have a great family day out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is the best walk-through Wildlife Parks in all of UK, and is home to over 300 different specifies of animals. You will get to see and interact with over 70 different species of animals up close, including polar bears, lions, tigers, giraffes and rhinoceroses. If you’re seeking a fun rush of adrenaline to spice up your day, the ‘zoom’ slide at this place has you covered. Along with play areas for children scattered all around the place, the park also has nice cafes, stalls and street food sellers for you to enjoy some snacks.
Enjoy the countryside at Sandall Beat Wood
Enjoy a nice walk, go fossil hunting or learn some amazing bushcraft skills at this wooded retreat. In addition to offering hiking and biking paths, Sandall Beat Wood can be a peaceful picnic spot and a great place for kids to play in.
Visit the Sandall Park
Once you’re at the Sandall Beat Wood, especially if you have kids along, you may want to head down to the children’s park at Sandall Park which has all sorts of swings, slides and its thrilling zip wire.
Trip-trap across the Sprotbrough Falls
This majestic trail is the perfect place for sightseeing and hiking. With its woodland trails, locks, weirs and wildlife, this place is especially suitable for a relaxing walk on a fine autumn morning. During summers, you will be able to spot a wide range of pretty wildflowers. You may want to take your camera along to capture some beautiful shots of the scenery!
Spend a memorable night out at the Doncaster Little Theatre
The Doncaster Little Theatre puts on 12 theatrical acts, including musicals, comedy, youth workshops and a pantomime. Make sure not to judge this theatre by its rather smallish size, for the professional energy and the spectacular performance by its talented actors and dancers will ensure you spend a memorable time here.
Encounter friendly animals at Boston Park Farm Maize Maze
At this traditional working farm, spend some quality time with your family with animal handling sessions, farming activities and craft activities for children to enjoy. Visit the cafe for some good food!
Visit the art gallery at The Point
The contemporary art gallery is a cultural hotspot and home to a wide range of exhibitions of ethereal and beautiful art and photographs and holds several creative workshops. Here, you will also find a cafe that serves appetizing homemade snacks and drinks.