AD| During June I spent time exploring South Yorkshire with Welcome to Yorkshire. Despite living in Leeds for four years this is a part of Yorkshire I’d only visited on a couple of occasions and so it was great to set out over three weekends and discover more of what South Yorkshire has to offer! There’s plenty packed into this area and I set out to uncover more about the heritage of South Yorkshire’s past as well as its creative culture side as well. Get stuck into your South Yorkshire with these 6 amazing places to visit! Which would be top of your list?
1. Elsecar Heritage Centre, Barnsley
Situated within the lovely village of Elsecar near Barnsley, the Elsecar Heritage Centre is housed in the industrial workshops and forge buildings. In the visitor centre you can learn more about the site and then visit the heritage railway and impressive Newcomen Beam Engine.
Today, the workshops have been converted into craft shops, cafes, antique shops and artists’ studios and I loved wondering in and out and of course picked up a bag of sweets from the traditional sweet shop to take home.
2. Wentworth Castle Gardens, Barnsley
I love a good National Trust property and Wentworth Castle Gardens does not disappoint! Whilst the house is not open to the public, there are plenty of landscaped gardens and acres of parkland to discover. The house was built to rival nearby Wentworth Woodhouse as Thomas Wentworth didn’t receive it as the inheritance he expected. The elaborate gardens really show you the extent of the wealth the Wentworth family had and so their influence on South Yorkshire’s history.
The gardens were in full bloom when I visited which made for a wonderful display of colours to enjoy!
3. Kelham Island, Sheffield
I had a lot of fun exploring the Kelham Island quarter in Sheffield on a sunday morning! It’s a great way to pack both art and history into one small area. I started off with some excellent brunch at The Grind Cafe (as I’ve heard Sheffield has some pretty good food spots!) and then went on the hunt for street art!
Sheffield has recently become a leader in street art and at nearly every corner you can find something to admire. Kelham Island has its fair share and it’s a lot of fun wondering the area to see which you can spot. Keep an eye open for Jarvis Cocker, The Fat Cat & more to find your favourite!
After, head to the Kelham Island Museum to learn about Sheffield’s industrial past and how the Steel City changed through the Industrial Revolution. It provides a great insight into how life would have been like in South Yorkshire’s biggest town / city and how it made its wealth. Look out for the mighty River Don Engine which featured in the 1997 film Titanic!
4. Brodsworth Hall, Doncaster
I was very excited to visit Brodsworth Hall as I’d seen quite a few photos on Instagram before visiting – especially of the wonderful yellow laburnum arch! Although this was past its blooming best this was still a great spot for a photo! The Hall was built in 1860 for the Thellusson family and is one of the best examples of Italianate architecture in the UK. It’s a great place to learn about the history of (rich!) Victorian living as you stroll through the grounds.
The hall wasn’t open when I visited so I’ll have to return but the gardens were lovely and we were there during their Blooming Gardens weekend so could make our own head garlands with plants from the garden!
5. Conisbrough Castle, Doncaster
Sitting atop a hill in the town of Conisbrough is the mighty Conisbrough Castle. The medieval stone ruins overlook the area below with views across the town and to the Viaduct beyond! If, like me, growing up involved lots of ruined castle adventures and games of Hide & Seek it’s a wonderful spot as a reminder of family weekends.
For those interested in South Yorkshire’s medieval history it’s a great place to learn about the area’s importance to rulers, lords, ladies and kings of England over the centuries. There are of course plenty of secrets to uncover and interactive exhibits in the keep to learn the stories of Conisbrough. Make your way up, up to the top of the keep to get a bird’s eye view and stop in the various rooms in the way up to learn more of medieval South Yorkshire.
6. Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham
Did you know South Yorkshire is home to one of the biggest stately homes facades in Europe? You can find it at Wentworth Woodhouse, the family home of the Fitzwilliam family who had a lot of influence over this area. I first visited the house at the back end of 2020 when the gardens were open but not the interior so this time it was great to be able to wander through the state rooms as well. Wentworth Woodhouse has been used in a number of film and tv productions so you might recognise it from Darkest Hour, Gentleman Jack, Victoria, The Thirteenth Tale or the Downton Abbey movie!
After admiring the majestic interiors, head out into the gardens to find the herbaceous border, Ionic temple and to take a picnic in the grounds. Or, if you’ve planned ahead, you can might have booked in for afternoon tea in the stunning setting of the Long Gallery – this will be on my agenda next time!
Are you ready to discover your South Yorkshire story?! Head to Welcome to Yorkshire for even more places to visit in the area!