Barnsley

South Yorkshire



There has always been an air of down-to-earth Yorkshire-ness about Barnsley, a large town reknowned across the region for its market and the centre of a wider metropolitan borough within the county of South Yorkshire, for which it was once the administrative centre.

The town is 9 miles south of Wakefield, 10 miles north-west of Rotherham, 12 miles north of Sheffield, 14 miles south-east of Huddersfield, 15 miles west-north-west of Doncaster and 32 miles south-east of York.

While it is still a straightforward sort of place where the Yorkshire accent is reputed to be at its strongest, gone is some of the grittiness which existed when it was a major centre of the coal mining industry. The major industry of Barnsley's surrounding villages, which sees the headquarters of the National Union of Mineworkers based in Huddersfield Road in Barnsley, has now all gone, to be replaced by cleaner businesses and a pleasantly green landscape.

Some surprising changes have been made to the centre of Barnsley in recent years as it develops into a much more modern town centre. A "Better Barnsley" is being created with at least £100m of investment going into the centre of the town which has already seen a transformation brought about by new college buildings near to its impressive centrepiece Town Hall of 1933, an impressive Portland stone clad-building with tall square clock tower.

What is Yorkshire's biggest and best market remains at the heart of the town and work is ongoing to create a new Market Square and revamp of its indoor markets, together with new library and shops. In the meantime trade continues as usual with market stalls adding to the character of the pedestrianised town centre streets.

Away from the pit villages, agriculture has always been a big part of the economy of the area around the town, with a farming landscape extending for several miles west of Barnsley into the edges of the Peak District National Park. It was the local fresh meat, which can still be found in the town's meat and fish market, that was to give rise to the Barnsley Chop, usually a double loin lamb chop.

Town features


Barnsley is famous for its markets where you can find anything and everything, a tradition which has gone on in the town since it gained its first royal charter for markets in 1249. Indoor, meat and fish, semi-open and outdoor markets provide around 300 stalls. Market traders have something to offer every day except Thursday and Sunday. On Sundays there is a car boot sale every week. The shopping experience spreads from the market stalls, streets and Victorian Arcade into the modern Alhambra Shopping Centre, at Cheapside, where bargain stores mix with the usual high street retailers. A huge number of traders are packed into the compact town centre, which is close to the travel interchange, making it easy to hop off a train or bus to shop. While the market continues to be the main attraction in Barnsley, there are also supermarkets not far from the town centre.

Barnsley has a Post Office in Pitt Street and sub-post offices in its districts.

The town has bank and building society branches.

Barnsley has pharmacies in the town centre and many of its districts.

A range of cafes and coffee shops add to the Barnsley town centre experience with some pubs open during the day and serving food.

Barnsley has a varied range of places to drink. There are pubs and bars in the town centre, while in surrounding areas there are often social clubs as well as pubs in former pit villages. Head out into the countryside and there are still local inns to be found in some rural villages.

For theatres and museums in Barnsley see below.

Barnsley Central Library is at Wellington House, Wellington Street. There are also branch libraries in several districts and villages around the Barnsley area.

The Metrodome Leisure Complex at Queens Ground, Queens Road, offers a wide range of fitness and leisure activities, a waterpark and swimming pools.

Barnsley College operates from a number of campuses around the town centre and there are a wide range of schools throughout the Barnsley area. For higher education see below.

Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed, Muslim, other.

The parish church of Barnsley is St Mary in Church Street, a 19th century church with a tower dating from the 15th century. Following the merger of the Diocese of Wakefield in 2014 it became part of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales which two years later is formally restyled Diocese of Leeds.

The River Dearne flows about 1 mile to the north-east of Barnsley town centre, which is high on the hill above the Dearne Valley.

The Barnsley Canal, opened between 1799 and 1802, linked the Aire and Calder Canal near Wakefield with Barnby Basin. It closed in 1953 following problems of disuse and mining subsidence. It linked to the Dearne and Dove Canal, completed in 1804, which connected Barnsley to the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation at Swinton. It was formally closed in 1961 after decades of decline during which only short sections of the canal had remained in use. Traffic at the Barnsley end had ended in 1942.

Entertainment

The Lamproom Theatre

Westgate
Volunteers have been behind the conversion of what was a derelict Methodist Chapel into an exciting location for community theatre, music and stand-up comedy.

The Civic

Hanson Street
Offers a varied programme of theatre, comedy, music, dance, exhibitions and family shows. The original Civic dated back to 1877. The revamped building was opened by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in 2009, supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund.


Sport

Barnsley FC

The Tykes play at Oakwell Stadium.
 Barnsley FC official website.

Barnsley Cricket Club

Established in 1862, the club has produced many Yorkshire and international stars. It plays at Shaw Lane.


Barnsley Rugby Union Football Club

play at Shaw Lane.
 Barnsley Rugby Union Football Club official website.

Higher education

University Campus Barnsley

Church Street
Located in a building just across the road from the Town Hall, University Campus Barnsley is part of Barnsley College. It offers Higher National, foundation courses and studies leading to BSc and BA degrees accredited by universities including the University of Huddersfield, University of Hull, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Derby.
Website:  University Campus Barnsley.

Museums

Experience Barnsley

Barnsley Town Hall, Church Street
The Experience Barnsley museum and discovery centre is based in Barnsley Town Hall, telling the story of Barnsley's rich heritage through archeological finds, historic documents and artefacts and old films. The museum is run by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Experience Barnsley web pages.

Places to visit

Worsbrough Mill

Worsbrough Bridge
This working 17th century flour mill uses water power from the River Dove at Worsbrough Bridge, 2.5 miles south of Barnsley town centre. Visitors can learn about the milling process and explore the surrounding country park, set around Worsbrough Reservoir. Admission is free, but there are charges in the car park. The mill is off the A61 at Worsbrough Bridge. Buses from Barnsley, including 66 and 265, stop nearby. The mill is run by Barnsley Metropolitan District Council.
More information at these  Barnsley Council - Worsbrough Mill web pages.

Monk Bretton Priory

Abbey Lane, Cundy Cross
The ruins of Monk Bretton Priory, a monastery originating in 1154, can be found at Abbey Lane, Cundy Cross, two miles east of Barnsley town centre, hidden behind housing just off the A628 Pontefract Road. The priory was of the order of Cluny, originally established in La Charite-sur-Loire in France. The Cluniac monks had originally established a priory at Pontefract in the 1090s and Monk Bretton was set up as a daughter of that priory. As well as the ruins of the stone-plundered monastery there is a gatehouse dating from a rebuild in the 15th century which is almost intact and an administrative building, originating from the 13th century with a 17th century upper storey, recently renewed and reroofed. The site has free admission, is open most days from 10am to 3pm and is managed by English Heritage. Several bus services operate from Barnsley along the road to Cundy Cross, from where it is a short walk.

More information at the  English Heritage - Monk Bretton Priory website.
 Find Monk Bretton Priory on map

Cannon Hall

Bark House Lane, Cawthorne
Visitors can explore the Georgian country house museum and gardens and parkland, extending across 28 hectares (70 acres). The hall also stages a wide range of events from art exhibitions to baking days and re-enactment events. Cannon Hall is 6 miles by road west-north-west of Barnsley town centre just off the A635 road near the village of Cawthorne. It has a large pay and display car park. Bus 92 connects Barnsley to Cawthorne village with a walk of about a mile to Cannon Hall. On Sundays three 92A services run to Cannon Hall.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Cannon Hall web pages.

Cannon Hall Farm

Bark House Lane, Cawthorne
Cannon Hall Farm is an award-winning open farm attraction just up the road from the hall itself. The farm has grown to become one of the largest such attractions in the country, now including adventure playgrounds, a gift shop, farm shop and restaurants. The animals themselves are the main appeal though, with a rare breeds barn and milking demonstrations. There are car parking and admission charges, though parking is free and admission reduced after 3.30pm, follow the link to the farm website for details. The farm is also host to the Underneath The Stars Festival of art, music, food and drink in July. Bus 92 connects Barnsley to Cawthorne village, a walk of about a mile to Cannon Hall Farm. On Sundays three 92A services run to Cannon Hall.
More information at the  Cannon Hall Farm website.

Elsecar Heritage Centre

Wath Road, Elsecar
The heritage centre is located in a former ironworks and colliery workshops and houses an antique centre, craft workshops and exhibitions of the past history of the conservation village of Elsecar. Key attractions are the 1795 Newcomen Beam Engine, the only one of its kind to have been preserved in its original location, and the Elsecar Heritage Railway, which operates mainly at weekends along a restored part of a branch line which served collieries and iron works. The centre stages a series of events, including children's activities, car shows and auctions. The Heritage Centre is 6 miles south-south-east of Barnsley. It can be reached from Barnsley by bus on route 66 or by train to Elsecar station, from where it is a walk of about half a mile.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Elsecar Heritage Centre web pages.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK's leading open-air sculpture gallery, situated at West Bretton, between Barnsley and Huddersfield, about 6 miles north-west of Barnsley town centre. For more details see our Sculpture Park page.

National Coal Mining Museum for England

Wakefield Road, Overton
The National Coal Mining Museum for England is mid-way between Wakefield and Huddersfield, about 6 miles from each, on the main A642 road at Overton. It is also around 10 miles from Barnsley and just under 5 miles from Dewsbury. The former Caphouse Colliery has exhibits showing the history of mining in the Yorkshire coalfield and beyond. The museum also offers the chance to don a miner's helmet to take an underground tour down the mine. The tour takes about an hour and shows the changes in mining and conditions in the pit through its history. There's also chance to meet pit ponies, to take a trip on a colliery railway, to walk its nature trail or relax with food or a drink in its cafe.
More details at the  National Coal Mining Museum website.

Peak District National Park

The vast area of the Peak District National Park starts around 10 miles to the west of Barnsley town centre, stretching from Yorkshire into Derbyshire and beyond. For more details see our Peak District page.

Travel

Barnsley

Schwabish Gmund Way
Barnsley station offers local services stopping at stations to Huddersfield via Penistone, to Sheffield and to Leeds via Wakefield Kirkgate. It is also a stop on Northern regional express services to Leeds via Wakefield Kirkgate and to Meadowhall, Sheffield and stations to Nottingham.

Station managed by: Northern.
Operator: Northern -


 Northern - Barnsley Station and departure information at Northern website.

Barnsley Interchange

Barnsley Interchange is close to the railway station Eldon Street North
Buses run from Barnsley Interchange adjoining the railway station with additional street stops for some routes. Buses serve most of Barnsley's nearby towns and villages with inter-town links including services to Penistone, Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster. Service X19 is the most direct public transport route to Doncaster and continues to Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Robin Hood Airport.)

Road travel

Barnsley is just 2 miles from the M1 motorway via the A628 giving the town good north-south connectivity across Yorkshire. The A628 continues westward to wind through the Peak District to provide South Yorkshire's only direct route to Greater Manchester.

The HS2 effect

Our new Yorkshire.guide study has assessed cities and major towns throughout the Yorkshire region for the benefits HS2 will bring in travelling from Yorkshire to London when the proposed section between the Midlands and Leeds is complete in 2033. The line is also planned to link to existing lines to Sheffield and York. Each city or town has been given one of three simple ratings based on convenience and time saved over existing services.
White elephant: Takes the same time or longer than an existing service* or saves less than 10 minutes while now causing a change of trains. (* or HS2 completed to Manchester).
Coffee break: Saves 10 to 45 minutes. Time for a cup of coffee at your destination rather than on the train?
City slicker: Saves 45 minutes or more on existing service getting you to that all-important London meeting in good time.

We've been fairly generous to HS2 in making the assessment. Where a change of trains is now needed, we have assumed that you are on the fastest train to the station where you change to HS2, that it arrives on time, you have 10 minutes to change to the HS2 platform and an HS2 train is waiting to depart at that time. No assessment is made of additional journey costs possible in connecting to or travelling on HS2. The assessment is made on journeys from Yorkshire to London with again no account taken of any convenience or inconvenience in arrival at London Euston rather than London King's Cross station. Further details about our study can be found on The HS2 Effect page.

Barnsley

Although offering less of a time saving than the originally planned HS2 station at Meadowhall, changing to HS2 at Sheffield will shave around 42 minutes off the fastest feasible time to London at present.

Emergency services

South Yorkshire Police  Website

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  Website

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Website

Local government

Barnsley Town Hall Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Barnsley is one of four metropolitan district authorities within the county of South Yorkshire.

It covers Barnsley and dozens of other towns, villages and hamlets, stretching for around 20 miles east to west and around 10 miles north to south. The western part of the borough includes an area of the Peak District National Park.

Barnsley council's 63 councillors serve three per ward across 13 wards for a four-year term. An election of one councillor per ward takes place each year with no election in the fourth year.

Link to  Barnsley MBC website.


The political composition after the May 2018 election was:
5642 Ind1
The political composition after the May 2019 election is:
497 43 Con
63 members

(Cross-) County strategic authority

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority

Regularly branded the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, its more inclusive statutory title of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority came to the fore when a mayoral election was held in May 2018.
The authority is the product of repeated national Government tweaking of the county strategic authority role in this part of Yorkshire ever since the major change of 1974 which, after Boundary Commission review, created a metropolitan county of South Yorkshire from part of the somewhat unwieldy and fragmented West Riding. That was reasonably well respected locally as it filled the gap of the missing South of the historic Ridings structure. Within South Yorkshire were large metropolitan district authorities centred on Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
In 1986, however, the trend was to get rid of metropolitan county councils, moving their role to the district authorities with district councillors delegated to joint authorities to run county-wide activities such as the fire service and overseeing public transport. Legislation in 2009 paved the way to the creation of new strategic authorities and more recently the Government initiative has been to release a funding package tied to a democracy of electing just one person as a mayor for this entire region.
The new structure and its branding is confusing to many people in South Yorkshire, most of whom do not live and do not consider themselves to live in the city in its south-west corner by any stretch of the imagination. Adding to the confusion is a partly artificial centralisation of Sheffield as most important partner by bolting-on Sheffield neighbours Bassetlaw, a shire district of Nottinghamshire, and Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire, shire districts of Derbyshire as "non-constituent" members of the authority.
The authority provides local government decision-making on economic development and transport. The mayor elected for the Combined Authority acts as an ambassador for the area, chairs meetings and will have powers over how public transport will operate.

Link to authority website:  Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority

Police and Crime Commissioner

The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire
 Website

Fire Authority

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the four metropolitan district councils of South Yorkshire - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.  Website

Ceremonial county

South Yorkshire

Historic

1869-1913 Municipal borough
1913-1974 County Borough (within the West Riding of Yorkshire)

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