Doncaster

South Yorkshire



Doncaster is an industrious large market town and centre of a wider metropolitan borough within South Yorkshire.

Doncaster has always been a proud gateway to Yorkshire from London and the South and more recently from European destinations through its Robin Hood Airport, which opened in 2005 at the former RAF Finningley air base.

The town is 12 miles north-east of Rotherham, 15 miles east-south-east of Barnsley and 30 miles south of York.

Although the area may have been settled in even earlier, the town initially grew around a Roman fort and Roman road, the route of which evolved over time into the Great North Road or A1. The A1(M), one of Britain's early motorway openings in 1961, now skirts around the town as a western bypass, while at the eastern side is the M18.

Doncaster is also an important station on the East Coast Main Line, which links London to York, North East England and Scotland. Some trains from London branch from the main route at Doncaster to head towards Leeds.

The industrial revolution saw Doncaster playing a massive role in rail engineering in the north. The town was the main workshops of the London North Eastern Railway with thousands of steam locomotives built at its works, some of the famous names being The Flying Scotsman and the speed record-breaking Mallard.

Doncaster also played a role in aviation history. The Racecourse staged Britain's first air show in 1909 and was a base for the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. A municipal airport was opened nearby in 1934. With the outbreak of the Second World War it became a Royal Air Force base and aircraft production and repair facility. Civilian flying returned to the airfield in the 1960s through a gliding club and flying club, but it eventually closed in 1992. The airfield now forms Doncaster's attractive Lakeside area. An aircraft museum at the site reveals Doncaster's aviation past.

More recently, Doncaster had been a centre of tractor production for 58 years. A succession of international takeovers ultimately saw the closure in 2007 of what was initially the International Harvester plant.

Today warehousing and distribution, including that of some large retail groups, plays an important role in the Doncaster economy.

The town has one of Yorkshire's best-known racecourses and its St Leger Festival in September is one of the most prestigious events of the British horse racing calendar, including the world's oldest classic race, the St Leger Stakes, established in 1776.

Town features

The Frenchgate Shopping Centre is now a centrepiece of town centre shopping in Doncaster with many major high street brands based there, but there are plenty of more traditional shops in the surrounding streets and more shops to choose from at The Colonades Shopping Centre and Waterdale Shopping Centre, which is close to Doncaster's Civic and Cultural Quarter. Doncaster also offers out-of-town shopping at its Lakeside Village outlet, near to the Keepmoat Stadium, about 1.5 miles south east of the town centre.

Doncaster Post Office is at West Mall at The Frenchgate Centre. There are also several branches in districts around Doncaster.

There are many pharmacies in Doncaster and its districts.

The town has a range of bank and building society branches.

While Doncaster has seen a high number of pub closures in recent years, there are still more than 150 to choose from in the town and its nearby districts and villages.

The town has a wide range of restaurants, cafes and takeaways catering in virtually every type of cuisine.

Doncaster Central Library is at Waterdale. There are also many branch libraries in districts and villages around Doncaster.

For museums and entertainment venues around Doncaster see below.

There are colleges and many schools in Doncaster and its districts.

Doncaster is on the River Don.

The town is on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, which provides canal links towards the Humber estuary and the River Trent.

Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed, Islamic, Sikh, other

The impressive Doncaster Minster, occupying the site of the Roman fort of Danum, is a grade one listed building which was built as the Church of St George in 1858 after the previous medieval church was destroyed by fire in 1853. The church was granted its Minster status in 2004.  Minster website

Entertainment

Cast
Waterdale
Opened in 2013, the £22m modern venue created by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, offers comedy, jazz, plays, gigs, family shows, brass bands and more.

Doncaster Little Theatre
King Street
The Doncaster Little Theatre is the venue of a community theatre group run by volunteers producing regular shows in the heart of Doncaster. It also hosts fortnightly Friday afternoon cabaret, youth theatre workshops, films and visiting artists.

Sport

Doncaster Rovers play at the Keepmoat Stadium.  Official website

Doncaster Rugby League Club 'The Dons' play at the Keepmoat Stadium.  Official website

Doncaster Knights play rugby union at Castle Park.  Official website

Doncaster Racecourse is at Leger Way, Doncaster

Higher education

University Centre Doncaster
High Melton
Operated in conjunction with Doncaster College, the University Centre is based at a campus at the village of High Melton, about 4 miles west of Doncaster. Most of its degrees are accredited by the University of Hull, but there are also other course-dependent accreditation bodies.  Website

Museums

Cusworth Hall
Cusworth Lane, Doncaster
Situated two miles north of Doncaster, off the A638 Doncaster to Wakefield Road, this grade I listed building, built in the early 1740s, can be explored together with its impressive parkland with lakes. Features of the house and gardens have been restored to various periods of its life and include ceiling paintings in an Italianate chapel, an Edwardian rose garden and 'below-stairs' features such as its great kitchen, bake house and laundry. The Hall is managed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council with the support of The Friends of Cusworth Park.  Web pages

Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery
Chequer Road, Doncaster
The museum has exhibits of local history, archaeology, natural history, a programme of temporary exhibitions and various artwork. The regimental gallery of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry is in the same building. The museum is managed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.  Web pages

South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum
Dakota Way, Airbourne Road
The museum has a collection of aircraft from the first air show to be held in Britain, held at Doncaster Racecourse in 1909, together with more modern preserved light aircraft and jets. It is located about a mile to the south east of the town centre. For opening times see the museum's website  Website

Places to visit

Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough
The castle is situated in the small town of  Conisbrough, about five miles south west of Doncaster. Its tall circular cylindrical keep has had its walls and roofs restored to create a feeling of how the castle would have been in the late 12th century when it was built. In 1201, the castle had a royal visit, when King John stayed there. The castle became famous through fiction as the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe'. The historic site is managed by English Heritage.
Further details at the  English Heritage - Conisbrough Castle website.

Brodsworth Hall and Gardens

Brodsworth
The Victorian country house at Brodsworth, about 5 miles north-west of Doncaster, was built in 1860, surrounded by beautiful gardens. It remained largely unchanged through its lifetime and is now being conserved by English Heritage. Yorkshire bands perform at the hall most Sundays during the summer. A car park for the hall can be accessed from Church Lane, between the villages of Marr and Brodsworth.
More information at the  English Heritage - Brodsworth Hall website.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Warning Tongue Lane, Branton, Doncaster
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park, about 4 miles south-east of Doncaster, was created at a former farm and riding school in 2009. It now houses some 400 animals of 70 different species, including polar bears, lions, tigers and leopards and a whole range of other animals native to Africa, South America and other parts of the world.
Find  Yorkshire Wildlife Park on map.

The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft

Belton Road, Sandtoft, North Lincolnshire
Although just beyond the Yorkshire border at the former RAF Sandtoft airfield in North Lincolnshire, the museum is only a 12-mile drive from Doncaster. It lays claim to having the world's largest collection of preserved trolleybuses and includes many examples of trolleybuses used in Yorkshire, including those from the fleets of Bradford, Huddersfield, Rotherham, and Doncaster, which have been beautifully restored by volunteers. The museum runs a free bus service connecting with scheduled buses at Epworth on Saturdays and a direct link from Doncaster Interchange on some Sundays and bank holidays. Details are on the museum's website.
More information at  The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft website.

Travel

Doncaster

Station Court
Doncaster station is a hub on the East Coast Main Line which connects to London to York, North East England and Scotland. It is also the station beyond which some trains from London branch from the main route to head towards West Yorkshire destinations and Hull. Transpennine Express services from Manchester airport and Manchester Piccadilly via north Derbyshire and Sheffield call at Doncaster on their route to North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Northern operate services to several destinations, including stations to Adwick-le-Street, Sheffield, Hull and Bridlington, and to Lincoln. East Midlands trains operate services through Lincolnshire to Peterborough. A Cross Country route from Newcastle operates via Doncaster to Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Oxford and Reading.
Station managed by: LNER.
Operators: LNER - Transpennine Express - Northern - Hull Trains - Grand Central - East Midlands Trains - Cross Country -


 Northern - Doncaster Station and departure information at Northern website.

Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange

off Trafford Way
The Frenchgate Interchange is the central bus station used by all bus operators running into Doncaster. It is at the town's Frenchgate Shopping Centre and next to the railway station. Services X19 and 91 provide links to Robin Hood Airport. In the opposite direction bus X19 is the most direct public transport route to Barnsley.

Road travel

Although in a southern location in Yorkshire, Doncaster is well-connected by road to the rest of the region by the A1(M) and by the M18 which links to the M1 and M62 motorways.
Doncaster has nine park and ride sites some distance from the town centre at villages and other locations within the Doncaster metropolitan district. These offer free parking and convenient public transport by bus at 10 or 15 minute frequency from some of the car parks or by train from stations at Adwick, Bentley, Conisbrough, Hatfield and Stainforth and Thorne North.


Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Robin Hood Airport)

Finningley
Robin Hood Airport is at Finningley, around six miles south east of Doncaster, which is considerably closer than Sheffield, 20 miles away. The airport offers flights mostly to Europe and to Mediterranan holiday destinations with some flights to the USA and Canada. The railway next to the airport does not have a station, but bus services X19 and 91 operate to or from Doncaster. The airport has premium, short and long stay car parks with a range of prices which can be found on the airport website. The short stay car park offers free parking for up to 15 minutes.

Further details on our Air travel page.

More information at the  Doncaster Sheffield Airport website.

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.

Doncaster

While HS2 will now be routed through the Doncaster metropolitan district, no station or link between HS2 and East Coast Main Line is planned there. Even after HS2 is built through the area, the existing East Coast Main Line will continue to offer the fastest route from Doncaster to London.

Emergency services

South Yorkshire Police  South Yorkshire Police website.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue  South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Metropolitan district council


(Cross-) County strategic authority

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority

While having been repeatedly branded as Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, its statutory title of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority came to the fore when a mayoral election was held in May 2018.

Many residents across the four metropolitan districts had been comfortable with the creation of the county of South Yorkshire, what amounted to the missing 'Yorkshire Riding' when it was created in 1974 after Boundary Commission review, but metropolitan counties were abolished as county-wide strategic authorities in 1986. However, legislation in 2009 paved the way to the creation of new strategic authorities.

There has been confusion, however, in the variation of the title of the combined authority covering South Yorkshire with emphasis placed on just one of its four metropolitan areas in its branding. The lashing on of 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 has also proved controversial and confusing.

The Combined Authority provides the local government decision-making on economic development and transport. The authority works with the Local Enterprise Partnership on which the 9 Combined Authority board members elected in their districts as councillors, or in Doncaster's case mayor, are outnumbered by private sector members.

There is now also a mayor elected by the general public for the Combined Authority whose role is to act as an ambassador for the area, be chairman of authority meetings and who will have powers over how public transport will operate in the future.

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

Police and Crime Commissioner

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
 South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 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.
 South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority web pages.

Ceremonial county

South Yorkshire

Historic

County Borough within the West Riding of Yorkshire


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