Originally mentioned in the Domesday Book, Barnsley’s historic roots are easily spotted with castles and heritage centres cataloguing the South Yorkshire town’s place in history.
Surrounded by ancient villages and historic parkland, Barnsley has grown into a lively shopping and social hub with a range of independent shops a museum based in the iconic town hall, and of course the famous markets.
The area borders onto the Peak District National Park which is ideal for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of big city living.
The town’s museums, theatres, ruins and stately homes allow visitors the chance to learn more about the town and enjoy some of its cultural offering too. The Barnsley Town Hall, a magnificent example of 1930s architecture, now houses the Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre, where visitors can delve into the town’s rich history. For art lovers, the Cooper Gallery is a must-visit, showcasing a wide range of contemporary and classic art.
Barnsley is a proud South Yorkshire town which is well worth a visit.
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Hotels In Barnsley
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Events in Barnsley
Looking for things to do around the Barnsley region now or in the future? Browse a few events happening in Barnsley below.
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Things to Do in Barnsley
Expect the Unexpected in Barnsley
Michael Parkinson CBE
Born in Cudworth and educated at Barnsley Grammar School, Parky, or the ‘King of Chat’ as he became amicably known went on to become one of the greatest talk show hosts the UK has ever seen. The keen cricketer also once kept cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott out of the Barnsley cricket team by scoring a century and 50 in successive matches.
Dickie Bird OBE
Harold Dennis Bird, or ‘Dickie’ as he is better known, is another of Barnsley’s famous sons. This former international cricket umpire set records after officiating the most test matches in a single nation (54 in England). Bird, who has previously served as Yorkshire Cricket Club’s President, used to open the batting at Barnsley cricket club with the aforementioned Michael Parkinson.
In 2013, thanks to his services to cricket and his hometown, Bird had a statue erected in his honour near the place of his birth.
Ed Clancy OBE
Ed Clancy, the professional track and road cyclist is Yorkshire’s most decorated Olympian with three Olympic Gold medals and an Olympic Bronze medal. Clancy is no stranger to the Tour de Yorkshire either having ridden for JLT Condor – Britain’s longest standing UCI cycling team – in the inaugural edition back in 2015.
This England Athletics Hall of Fame Sprinter was born in Cudworth in 1941 and went on to become arguably Britain’s best ever female sprinter. Hyman has Olympic Bronze medals as well as Gold and Silver medals from the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. The winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1963 is still very highly regarded with a sport centre named after her in Cudworth and even carried the Olympic flame through Barnsley in 2012.
ICONIC LANDMARKS OF PAST AND PRESENT
Once Britain’s largest railway bridge, the Oaks Viaduct spanned the Dearne Valley, serving as an alternative line for trains between Leeds and Sheffield on the Midland Railway’s main line. The local ‘Cudworth Flyer’ was a mainstay here although this service was withdrawn in 1958; with the bridge itself being deemed no longer fit for purpose in 1965 and being demolished shortly afterwards.
Situated in Penistone, Hartcliff Folly was built in 1856 by a successful linen merchant named Henry Richardson; who became the first Mayor of Barnsley.
Barnsley Town Hall
This impressive Grade A listed building is clad in Portland stone and is the Council’s main civic building. The historic building is as fascinating as it is imposing and plays host to the Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre; housing a treasure trove of interesting information and artefacts.
In 1924 an advert appeared in Cyclingmagazine, asking for people interested in forming a cycling club in Barnsley to meet at the Manor Castle Inn on Pontefract Road. Twenty people were keen but the sponsor did not attend, another meeting was arranged in an old shed at the back of Caffrey’s on Doncaster Road.
On 20th March 1924, the Barnsley Road Club was formed and the first club run organised; which was to Goole. The first President, and incidentally the first life member, was G.W. Miles and in 93 years of operation the club can feel immensely proud of their achievements, boasting a 120 strong membership and competing in most form of cycling sport, achieving great results.
The town plays host to the annual Barnsley Town Centre Races and in 2017 saw U12, U14, U16, Regional B and Elite men’s and women’s races; over the same course as the 2015 National Circuit Race championships that were won by Ian Bibby and Nicola Juniper; both of whom have taken part in the Tour de Yorkshire.
The prize fund for the famed Barnsley Crit was £6,500 with equal prize funding for both the men and women.
Since 1858, Barnsley’s local weekly newspaper the Brnsley Chronicle has been informing and entertaining residents. It is famed for its ‘Owd Sam’ or ‘Sam Barn’ column written in Barnsley dialect, which was not only delightfully ridiculous but nigh on undecipherable.
There is a village in the metropolitan borough of Barnsley named Jump. According to local legend, the name was based on the local coal miners having to ‘jump’ over the stream to gain access.
Formed in 1917, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band has become a British institution winning National and British Open Championships on numerous occasions. In 1995 after the film Brassed Off! Starring Ewan McGregor was released, they saw international fame, having provided the soundtrack, music and extras for the on-screen band.
Barnsley is twinned with two communities in Europe, the German town of Schwäbisch Gmünd and the Ukrainian city of Horlivka (also known by its German name Gorlovka).
Residents and visitors to Barnsley may be familiar with Schwäbisch Gmünd Way which was renamed in honour of the town’s German twin and Barnsley has been to space courtesy of their Ukrainian twin. Cosmonaut Alexander Volkov took the aforementioned Sam Barn out of earth’s atmosphere to be the then mascot for the Mir Space Station.
The twins have a rich cycling heritage too, Schwäbisch Gmünd native Uwe Messerschmidt won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in the men’s cycling points race and the 2016 women’s cross-country eliminator champion was none other than Iryna Popova of Horlivka.
Barnsley on the map
10 Facts about Barnsley
- Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England, located halfway between Leeds and Sheffield.
- Historically, Barnsley was known for its coal mining and glassmaking industries.
- The town is home to the Barnsley Football Club, which was founded in 1887 and has a rich history in English football.
- Barnsley’s town centre is home to a large open-air market that has been in operation since the 13th century.
- The town is surrounded by ancient villages, historic parks, and beautiful landscapes, making it a great destination for nature lovers.
- Barnsley has a number of museums and galleries, including the Cooper Gallery, a vibrant creative art-space in the heart of the town.
- One of the town’s most notable landmarks is the Barnsley Town Hall, which now houses the Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre.
- The town is home to the Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens, a stunning Georgian country house museum set in 70 acres of historic parkland.
- Barnsley has a rich history of music and has produced several well-known bands and musicians, including the Arctic Monkeys and The Human League.
- The town is also known for its local delicacy, the Barnsley Chop, which is a double loin lamb chop.
FAQs about Barnsley
What are some popular attractions in Barnsley, South Yorkshire?
Popular attractions in Barnsley include the Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens, the Cooper Gallery, Elsecar Heritage Centre, and the Barnsley Metrodome Waterpark.
What is the best time to visit Barnsley, South Yorkshire?
The best time to visit Barnsley is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and there are many outdoor events and festivals.
How can I get around in Barnsley, South Yorkshire?
Barnsley has a good public transportation system including buses and trains. You can also rent a car or use taxis for convenience.
What local dishes should I try in Barnsley, South Yorkshire?
When in Barnsley, you should try the local delicacy known as the Barnsley Chop, a double lamb chop. Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips are also popular dishes in the area.
Are there any special events or festivals in Barnsley, South Yorkshire?
Yes, Barnsley hosts several events throughout the year, including the Barnsley Live music festival, the Mayors Parade, and the Christmas Lights Switch On.
Where to visit next?
After exploring Barnsley, a visitor might like to head to the historic city of York, located in North Yorkshire. York is renowned for its rich history and stunning architecture, including the iconic York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. Visitors can walk along the well-preserved medieval city walls, visit the Jorvik Viking Centre to learn about the city’s Viking history, or explore the National Railway Museum. For those interested in shopping and dining, the Shambles, an old street in York with overhanging timber-framed buildings, offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Alternatively, nature lovers might enjoy a trip to the Peak District National Park, full of natural wonder and beauty.