Days Out in South Yorkshire
Thanks to its size and diversity, the whole of Yorkshire is a popular destination for tourists – and South Yorkshire really does have plenty to offer for everyone. With a modern, dynamic city in Sheffield and larger, thriving towns like Barnsley, Rotherham, and Doncaster, the county has a great range of attractions, days out, and things to do for all ages.
Sheffield has culture and entertainment at its heart but features plenty of history and heritage too. Home to three major museums, Weston Park Museum gives you a comprehensive insight into Sheffield’s people and its history, while the city’s Millenium Gallery and Graves Gallery provide modern and contemporary and classic fine art collections. The city’s oldest building, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, has over 1,000 years of history to discover and a fine mix of architectural styles.
The acclaimed Winter Garden is an award-winning temperate greenhouse in the heart of the city featuring an impressive display of over 2,500 plants from around the world. The National Videogame Museum features plenty of interactive displays and exhibitions and gives a brilliant look at how games are made and who makes them. For kids of all ages, Air Haus is an inflatable theme park with a range of hi-energy activities, obstacle courses, and slides to tackle.
In Doncaster, The Vulcan Experience at Doncaster Sheffield Airport lets you get up close and personal with an icon of British aircraft design, the Avro Vulcan XH558, to learn more about its history and restoration. In a similar vein, the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum near the town centre is a family-friendly museum featuring a range of aircraft on display, indoors and outdoors.
Over in Rotherham, the Magna Science Adventure Centre is a must for kids of all ages. With interactive exhibits across four zones, plus displays on the area’s rich steel history, this is an immersive fun day out. Clifton Park and Museum has a wealth of collections and displays inside a magnificent Palladian house, while the park has a range of family things to do.
Alongside its thriving town centre, nearby Barnsley is packed with boutique and independent shops.
A visit to the Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre is the ideal place to learn more about this proud town and its residents.
South Yorkshire also has some stunning scenery to enjoy. Together with a slice of the Peak District National Park on its western edge, the Trans Pennine Trail, running from North Derbyshire up to the Scottish border, provides plenty of routes for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders to enjoy some amazing landscapes and moorland.
Wentworth Castle has early formal pleasure grounds and a landscape park. The site received some publicity from the BBC2 programme 'Restoration', and funding has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the house and grounds. This work is currently ongoing. The main house is currently (2008) the site for the Northern College for Resident Adult Education. It is envisaged that tours of the house will be available once the renovation work is complete.
Brodsworth Hall has a landscape park and woodland. A series of gardens near the house include a quarry garden, a rose garden and a flower garden.
Topography, Geology, and Climate
Though largely urbanised, South Yorkshire features plenty of different land qualities, giving the county diverse soil types and fertility levels.
Along the western border, areas of blanket bog peat soils are common across the open moorland of the Peak District. These turn to a mix of low fertility, free-draining, mild acid loam soils, and seasonally wet, acid loam and clay. Through the centre of the county, lime-rich loam soil is common before a mix of sand, loam, and clay spreads into the east.
Temperatures in South Yorkshire average at around 2ºC (35ºF) during the winter while reaching an average of around 20ºC (68ºF) in the summer months. There is significant rainfall across the county - the annual average for South Yorkshire is around 850mm (34”).
South Yorkshire’s Parks and Gardens
Though South Yorkshire has plenty to see and do, there are only a handful of traditional gardens to explore across the county, but they’re all beautiful and certainly well worth visiting. Providing colour and interest throughout the year, gardeners and horticulturalists can’t fail to be inspired, while families can enjoy a relaxing day out in some stunning surroundings.
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In fairly close to proximity to Barnsley – and each other – are two wonderful gardens, each with beautiful surroundings.
Cannon Hall Park and Gardens has plenty to discover in this Georgian country house-cum-museum, but it’s the 70-acres of parkland and gardens that are something special. With hundreds of varieties of plants, flowers, and specimen trees on display in the historic walled garden, alongside a 200-year-old vine grown from seed in one of the greenhouses, there’s no shortage of colour and interest across the seasons. And the surrounding parkland makes for a perfect place to explore.
Nearby Wentworth Castle Gardens are another fine example and feature 563-acres of historic RHS Partner gardens and surrounding woodland and parkland. Together, they create South Yorkshire’s only Grade I Registered landscape. Though hilly in places, the gardens have plenty of must-see areas, including the Union Jack garden, the circular Victorian flower garden with stunning views over the surrounding landscape, and the Victorian Conservatory filled with exotic and unusual plants.
Just north of Doncaster, the English Heritage-owned Brodsworth Hall provide some 15-acres of beautiful Victorian gardens to explore. With plenty to pique the interest of everyone, these restored, formal gardens have grand displays on show across every season. From an array of spring bedding plants like tulips, viola, polyanthus, and hyacinths, to salvias, verbena, and vibrant herbaceous borders in the summer, as well as a stunning rose garden with over 100 varieties. Even autumn and winter provide rich tonal and evergreen colours.
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Just outside its city centre, the Sheffield Botanical Gardens are a Grade II Listed, 19-acre plot with exceptionally restored gardens. Featuring beautiful lawns with a central boardwalk, flanked by vivid herbaceous borders, mature trees, and a Grade II Listed glasshouse, home to an array of tropical plants, there’s plenty of specialist plantings across different areas. Highlights include the formal Rose garden, Evolution garden, and the RHS Award of Garden Merit border.
A few miles southeast of Sheffield, Renishaw Hall Gardens features a series of 19th-century garden ‘rooms’ in formal Italianate style. Set in surrounding parkland with lakes, the 8-acre, award-winning gardens, separated by clipped Yew hedges, are beautifully kept with a range of colourful plantings, herbaceous borders, mature trees and specialist shrubs. A wonderfully tranquil RHS Partner garden to lose yourself in.
Alongside the Grade I Listed stately home of Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham, the stunning, 50-acre gardens are a real treat. Set within the Wentworth Garden Centre next door, the restored walled gardens include well-stocked herbaceous borders, colourful bursts of pink and blue Hydrangeas, excellent Italianate terraces with early wisteria and tulips alongside later flowerings of roses and buddleia, and a wonderful White garden with white astilbe and dahlias on display.