Hidden guides: Doncaster

What do you know about Doncaster? Maybe you’re familiar with the town’s rich association with horse racing, or maybe you don’t know anything more than it’s somewhere vaguely in the north of England. Well if that’s the case then our blog post is definitely for you.

We’re going to take a look at some of the things that make Doncaster so interesting – and some of the features that make a holiday in Doncaster such an enticing prospect. Read on for the inside story on a trip to the town.

Getting to know Doncaster

Doncaster is a big town with an even bigger story to tell. If you take some time to learn this tale you might be surprised to discover the important history of the town, and how it has grown from humble beginnings to its thriving modern state. But where to start?

The town has loads of things going for it and you’d not be wanting for entertainment on a trip to Doncaster, whatever your interests. To make things a little simpler we’ll start at the beginning, giving you some examples of places you could include on a trip to the town.

A brief history of an ancient town

If history is your thing then Doncaster has nearly two thousand years of it to keep you happy. The site of the modern day town was once home to a Roman Fort, established in AD 41. It had an important strategic location for the Roman invaders who set up camp there, and the fort was a vital staging post on several roads which the settlers built during their occupation.

Fast forward over a thousand years to medieval times and the town had matured into a busy local centre of trade. In the 12th century Doncaster was granted a town charter, not long after the stunning Conisbrough Castle was built. The iconic structure is one of the best medieval buildings you can find around Doncaster, although it is currently closed for a major refurbishment project.

Moving forward again to the 17th and 18th century and we get to the period of prosperity that helped shape the Doncaster that stands today. The sumptuous Georgian architecture that characterises the older buildings in Doncaster’s centre are the legacy of the stagecoach trade which brought wealth to the town.

During this time, fantastic buildings like the imposing Cutsworth Hall were built. Now the mansion is open to visitors, acting as a rich reminder of the money and trade which was flowing through the town. And it was stagecoaches and the horses that pulled them which gave rise to another great aspect of Doncaster’s history, which still lives on to this day.

A buoyant horse breeding scene, driven by the stagecoach industry, led to the establishment of a racecourse in Doncaster and the town is still pulling in crowds to this very day. In fact, many people make a trip to the races the focus of a weekend break in Doncaster and it’s easy to see why. The thunder of hooves and the thrill of speed seen live is an exciting experience.

Modern attractions in Doncaster

The races are just one example of a way in which this historic town attracts visitors looking for contemporary attractions. There are plenty other attractions in Doncaster that do exactly the same thing. We’ve picked out five of the best:

  • Making a splash: Our first choice is for sporty types who like to get active when they get away from it all. The Dome Leisure Centre boasts an impressive seven pool waterworld complete with two massive flumes as well as a climbing wall.
  • Go wild: If you’re an animal lover then you could check out the incredible sights at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Kids in particular love this great attraction as it allows them to get up close and personal with some of the most interesting creatures in the animal kingdom.
  • A history of taking to the skies: If you see yourself as more of a high flier and have an interest in aviation then the great sights at Aeroventure – the South Yourkshire Aircraft Museum is for you. Examples from throughout the history of aircrafts are available and many of them allow visitors to climb on board and imagine what it’d be like to take to the skies in one of the impressive machines.
  • Go with the flow: For a more leisurely experience on your trip to Doncaster why not try a riverboat cruise on the historic Don? Nothing is as relaxing as sitting back and watching the world go by as you drift lazily down the river.
  • Shop and row: Finally an opportunity to hit the shops at the Doncaster Lakeside shopping centre – a place which offers great retail opportunities in an interesting location. How many other shopping centres are there which give you the opportunity to take a break from the shops to grab a pedalo and do a few laps of the lake?

Make the most of your stay

You’ll see by now that when it comes to tourist attractions, Doncaster can hold its head up high. In fact, earlier in the year it was reported that in 2012 the town proved a real draw for tourists.

If you are tempted to join the crowds coming in to discover the many hidden delights of Doncaster then we can help. Our Park Inn by Radisson Doncaster Hotel is a great base to explore the town and it’s attractive surrounding area. You could get exhausted exploring the town’s attractions but our comfortable rooms will help you recharge your batteries.