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At the heart of Doncaster is an historic market town where Norman castles, Regency buildings and a rich railway and horse racing heritage thrive. But Doncaster has also evolved. Now a modern metropolis, it offers an exciting mix of green open spaces and nature reserves with spectacular shopping and nightlife too.
Cusworth Park Lakes Cusworth Hall, Museum & Park is described as the jewel in Doncaster’s crown
Conisborough Castle Built on the site of a timber motte-and-bailey castle, this 12th-century castle is a spectacular structure.
Doncaster Races St Leger Stakes takes place every September and is the oldest classic horse race in the world.
Brodsworth Hall A beautiful country house sitting in fabulous period gardens. It remains virtually unchanged since 1860.
North Bridge Sunset Catch a beautiful sunset over the river Don
Rossington Hall Set in 250 acres of parkland Rossington Hall is a grade II listed building.
Doncaster was famous for breeding super-fast horses for the stagecoach trade.
Doncaster Minster boasts a clock by Dent, the designer of Big Ben.
In 1776 Anthony St Leger, an officer in the British Army, suggested a race of horses over a distance of two miles originally. This was the start of the now world famous St Leger at Doncaster races. These days St Leger is one of the biggest fixtures in the racing calendar with tens of thousands usually in attendance.
Doncaster has always prided itself on being at the centre of the action dating back to the 18th Century with stage coaches arriving in town, stopping for rest on their way north or south. There are some great original coaching inns which still survive such as the Salutation Inn, the original inn on the old Great North Road and in nearby Bawtry.
It's not just the old coaching inns where history is still alive and well. Museums, castles, churches, ancient villages and country houses offer the opportunity to step back in time and get a taste of what life would have been like in Norman, Georgian and Victorian Doncaster. The town's market also offers a chance to experience one of the finest traditional markets in England.
When you're in need of a few modern comforts and distractions, Doncaster is also happy to oblige. Contemporary guest houses and country hotels will indulge you with all the mod-cons, setting you on your way for a delightful day's shopping or a night on the tiles. But wherever you choose to spend your time, you'll find a friendly Doncastrian welcome that never changes.
With a wide variety of museums and wonderful green open spaces, there is something to cater for every taste and every age range. Enjoy the best of both worlds at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens with the chance to learn about the wealthy family and servants who lived there before exploring the 15 acre Victorian gardens with their enchanting summerhouse and fountain. And while a garden centre and a steam museum seem an unlikely combination, this is exactly what you will find at Markham Grange Steam Museum.
The going's always good on a day out at Doncaster Racecourse. The historic Town Moor course has been drawing appreciative crowds for centuries, so it would be positively rude not to have a punt. They also hold an eclectic mix of antique fairs and murder mystery evenings too! And to really get into the spirit of events, pop into the nearby Salutation Arms - this well-known real ale watering hole used to stable horses in the grounds.
With so much history, the city's Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to discover Doncaster's heritage. As well as housing collections of natural history, archaeology, local history, fine and decorative art there's also a large and varied exhibition programme throughout the year, as well as special activities for all ages.
Doncaster's favourite family business is blooming. Walker's Nurseries celebrated its diamond anniversary last year - sixty years of green fingered success. In 1951 Lawrence and Vera Walker purchased a plot of land just outside Blaxton, Doncaster. This land had never before been ploughed, but with two years hard work they had enough crops to sell. Today, they are very proud of their stimulating and inventive displays of plants which will prompt you to browse, and to foster an interest in gardening, whether as an amateur or at advanced level. And remember - advice is free and readily available. On top of this, they're only too happy to chat to you about their future plants, your gardening problems, or anything else you wish to discuss. Growing gorgeous gardens is their business!
With a lively cosmopolitan vibe that ripples throughout its centre, Doncaster has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best night time venues in the north. With new eateries and drinking holes opening all the time, theatregoers and party revellers are in their element with a colourful combination of Italians, veggie restaurants and trendy cocktail bars to suit every taste.
Through out the day, bakeries and delis tempt visitors with fresh breads and delicious pies, while an abundance of cafés, restaurants and bars entice weary shoppers. Priory Walk with its pavement cafés, restaurants and bars attracts stylish lunchtime diners, with a variety of cosmopolitan venues offering a range of cuisines from around the world for an evening meal.
No visit to Doncaster is complete without a cheeky half at its original coaching inn, The Salutation Arms, known for the delicious real ales behind the bar. Doncaster's amazing nightlife attracts visitors from far and wide with a huge choice of bars creating a vibrant atmosphere. The centre offers everything from well known chain pubs such as Wetherspoons to more intimate watering holes including the jazz club on Priory Walk and family owned traditional pubs around the marketplace.
Take a walk on the wild side at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. With a real emphasis on conserving endangered species, this 70 acre park invites you to discover the inhabitants of Lemur Woods, Wallaby Walkabout and the African Plains. Visit Adel, Cezar and the other rescued lions in Lion Country and you can even adopt a furry friend for your child - don't worry, you don't have to take them home!
Doncaster has a positive treasure trove of attractions and distractions to keep the whole family entertained. And if you think little ones won't be thrilled by a museum, think again! Aeroventure, on the former site of WWII RAF Doncaster, is an air museum buzzing with jet fighters, helicopters and piston engine collections. Plus the Sheffield Blitz exhibition gives an eye-opening insight into local war history.
For big and little kids that are full of beans, sometimes only a trip to The Dome Leisure Centre will do. Now one of the UK's top 5 sports and leisure attractions, there are over 50 different activities to try out, including ice skating, swimming and table tennis. Or make a beeline for Astrabound - its 13,500 square footage makes it the biggest indoor play centre in South Yorkshire. Let the games begin!
Boston Park Farm is a fun day out in the countryside. Come and get lost in the maize maze, meet the adorable animals and enjoy the fresh home baked cakes in our large picnic area. Try your luck in the Maize Maze, climb the bale pyramid and see if you can find Maizie Maize!
When it comes to rich heritage, Doncaster has a lot to offer. It's no surprise that many of the town's historic buildings have been the source of inspiration for writers. Indeed the 12th Century Conisborough Castle inspired Sir Walter Scott's classic novel 'Ivanhoe'. Built of magnesian limestone, it's the only one of its kind in England and is considered to be one of the finest examples of mediaeval architecture in Europe.
Dominating the Doncaster skyline is another architectural showcase that impressed a literary great. Doncaster Minster was described by Sir John Betjeman as 'Victorian Gothic at its best' and was designed by the same architect as St Pancras Station in London. Don't miss this opportunity to gaze upon its many treasures - the magnificent Dent clock, spectacular organ and stunning Victorian stained glass are sights to behold.
It's almost impossible not to be distracted by the architecture as you approach Doncaster's 18th Century Mansion House and Cusworth Hall and there are real slices of history worth discovering inside. Mansion house is one of only three Civic Mansion Houses in Britain today, and remains a focus of civic pride for the city. Tours of Mansion House can be arranged, with fascinating memorabilia on show, and Cusworth Hall is now a site of special interest as it preserves all the elements of a Georgian house.
Whether you're a High Street enthusiast, a bargain hunter or a specialist collector, shopping in Doncaster offers up the perfect blend of old and new. Add to that the fact that it's the only South Yorkshire town to be awarded the 'Safer Shopping Award', then you really do have all the ingredients for a day of retail therapy.
Experience the warmth and charm of Doncaster Market, whose charter dates all the way back to 1248. There are over 600 stalls that gather every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday selling the freshest meats, fish and vegetables. The Corn Exchange is great for gifts while the Wool Exchange is a haven of textiles and haberdashery, and look out for the twice monthly Farmer's Market.
Complementing the traditional market is the flagship Frenchgate development. Easily accessible in the centre of town, this modern shopping centre puts 90 of your favourite stores under one roof. So you can shop for the latest fashions, pick up a new mobile and stock up the bathroom cabinet without wearing out your shoe leather.
Discover what makes Doncaster Racecourse one of the finest courses in Europe.
History and heritage
Step back into a world of gothic arches, coaching inns and traditional markets.
The Corn Exchange
Hit the market hosted in and around the maginficent Corn Exchange, built in the 1870's, it is one of the largest in the county.
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