Doncaster is a large town in South Yorkshire in the north of England. It's often referred to as "Donny" and to the Romans it was Danum. Their main highway Ermine Street ran from London through Lincoln to the Humber then to York, but crossing the Humber was sometimes impractical. So they created an alternative route through Danum that in modern times became the Great North Road then A1. Doncaster remained a small market town until the 19th century, when it industrialised through coal-mining, and the East Coast railway line arrived. Much of the industry has gone; in 1961 the A1 was re-routed to the west as a motorway.
The TIC is in the Mansion House in town centre, corner of High Street and Priory Place.
1 Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Robin Hood Airport DSA IATA) (Near Finningley, 8 miles east of Doncaster). Flights from DSA are 1) to Poland, Lithuania and Romania by Wizzair, and 2) Med holiday destinations by the major package operators. The airport terminal is modern, and spacious given its limited traffic.
Eastern Airways continues flying.
First South Yorkshire Bus X4 runs between the airport and Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange, the railway and bus station, taking 25 mins. Buses run to the airport every 30 mins Mon-Sat from 05:30 to 23:30, hourly on Sundays, with the last bus back to town at midnight. (Bus X19, which used to ply this route, now goes somewhere else.)
Stagecoach Bus X737 runs direct between the airport and Sheffield Interchange, taking 45 mins. It stops en route only at Bramley and Wickersley, both on the outskirts of Rotherham, and doesn't call at Doncaster. It runs daily, roughly hourly, but only in the evenings, which fits well with most flights to East Europe. Buses to the airport depart Sheffield 16:30-21:50, and return from the airport 17:20-22:40.
A cab from the airport to anywhere central in Doncaster should cost around £10-15.
Manchester Airport has global connections, competitive fares, and can be reached in under two hours by direct hourly train from Doncaster.
- Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.
Other direct trains are from York, Newcastle and Edinburgh; cross-country from Bristol and Birmingham; and transpennine from Manchester Airport and Piccadilly. Frequent local trains ply to Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Hull.
2 Doncaster station is within Frenchgate Interchange, next to the bus station and across the road from the shopping centre.
National Express buses take 4 hr 30 min from London Victoria to Doncaster. The afternoon bus NX567 continues to Hull, Bridlington and Scarborough; the overnight bus NX436 continues to York, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and South Shields.
Bus NX327 runs once a day from Birmingham via Leicester and Nottingham to Doncaster, continuing to Scunthorpe and Hull.
First Bus X78 runs every 15 min from Sheffield via Meadowhall, Rotherham and Conisbrough to Doncaster.
Bus X19 plies between Doncaster and Barnsley taking 45 min. It runs M-Sa every 30 min, hourly on Sundays.
Local buses meander through the lanes, burbs and industrial estates from Wakefield (Bus 496), Pontefract (Bus 408 / 409) and Gainsborough (Bus 98).
The bus station is within Frenchgate Interchange, separated from the railway station by a service alley. The airport bus is usually from Stand A1 immediately you enter. But make sure to look at the platform indicator here, because these are lacking down the long corridor of the station.
A1(M) bypasses town to the west; it's only two lanes and often congested. M18 passes to the south, connecting Lincolnshire to the M1 near Sheffield; this is three lanes and usually flows freely. There are Park & Ride facilities at:
- - White Rose Way, off junction 3 of M18, wih Bus 70 to town centre.
- - Doncaster South / Parrots Corner on A638, with Bus 55 - it lacks direct access to the motorway.
- - Doncaster North / Woodlands on A638, with Bus 50.
- - Doncaster Racecourse, multiple buses.
The main car park within town is in the Frenchgate Centre.
For Cusworth Hall take Bus 41 towards Scawby; it runs every 20 min.
For Conisbrough Castle take Bus X78 towards Sheffield and get off when you see the castle.
For Brodsworth Hall and Hooton Pagnell, take Bus 203 which runs M-Sa every 2 hours; no Sunday service.
For the Wildlife Park, take Bus 57 / 58 as far as Branton. It's usually going to Finningley but sometimes wanders as far as Epworth in Lincolnshire.
- St George's Minster, 200 yards from the Interchange, is a stonking great Gothic affair by George Gilbert Scott - who else? Note the clock by Dent (designer of Big Ben clock) and the 5 manual organ by Schulze. This Minster was never a monastery but replaced the Norman church that burnt down in 1853; it's now the Anglican parish church.
- Doncaster Museum and Gallery on Chequer Road has closed, but is expected to re-open on Waterdale some time in summer 2020.
- 1 Potteric Carr was a large wetland at the north edge of Sherwood Forest, lost in early modern times to drainage and the railways, but then flooded in the 1950s when coal mining caused its subsidence. So the small remaining area has reverted to being a wetland, managed as a nature reserve.
- 2 Conisbrough Castle, Castle Hill, Conisbrough DN12 3BU (8 miles SW of town, take Bus X78), ☏ . Apr-Sept daily 10:00-18:00, Oct to 17:00, Nov-Mar Sa Su 10:00-16:00. Built in its present form in the 12th century and paradoxically preserved by being ruined: by the 16th C it was tumbling down and of no military value, and thus spared the assaults and castle demolitions of the Civil War. It was the setting for Scott's novel Ivanhoe, which launched modern interest in medieval times, especially the legend of Robin Hood. The castle has an inner and outer bailey and sturdy keep. Adult £7.60, child £4.60, conc £7.
- 3 Cusworth Hall, Cusworth Lane DN5 7TU (2 miles NE of town, take Bus 41), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa-W 10:30-16:30. Georgian mansion built 1740-45 hosting the museum of South Yorkshire life, and restored in 2007. It's set in picturesque landscaped gardens in the style of "Capability" Brown. Free.
- 4 South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, Dakota Way, Airbourne Road DN4 7NW, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-16:00. A small museum on the former airfield, packed with interesting exhibits. Adult £6.50, child £3, senior £5.50.
- 5 Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Warning Tongue Lane, Old Cantley DN4 6TB (Bus 57 / 58 to Branton), ☏ . Daily 10:00-18:00. Beasts, mostly in open enclosures, include lions, lemurs, tiger, savannah creatures such as giraffe, leopard, baboon, polar bears, and South American. Adult £19, child £16.
- 6 Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, Brodsworth DN5 7XJ (4 miles west of town, take bus 203), ☏ . Apr-Oct daily 13:00-17:00, Nov-Mar Sa Su 10:00-16:00. This is one of the best examples of a Victorian Italianate mansion and contents. The beneficiary of an eccentric and long-contested Will cleared away the previous Georgian mansion and built this one 1861-63, and also acquired a flotilla of big private yachts. The upkeep was enormous, not helped by selling off the mineral rights, so that collieries undermined the place. It passed to English Heritage who opted to preserve "as found". The Hall contains a large collection of paintings and sculpture. The gardens are open from 10:00. Adult £14, child £8.40, conc £12.50.
- 7 Hooton Pagnell is a tiny but bijou hamlet on B6422, a mile northeast of Brodsworth Hall. Strolling round it will take barely 10 min but you can splurge and stay at the Hall, often used for wedding parties.
- 8 Trolleybus Museum, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Epworth DN8 5SX. May-Oct alternate weekends 10:30-17:00. This is the world's largest collection of trolleybuses, plus other historic vehicles including buses. See the website for opening days, which are usually alternate weekends in summer. You can ride several of the trolleybuses and even have a go at driving one. Adult £9, child £6.50.
- East just across the boundary with Lincolnshire is Epworth, home of the Wesley family, founders of the Methodist church. It's on the mysterious Isle of Axeholme, meaning it's surrounded by turnip fields.
- Southwest just across the boundary with Rotherham is the ruin of 9 Roche Abbey.
- Cast, Waterdale DN1 3BU, ☏ . Eclectic, creative theatre, you'll seldom find trad rep playing here.
- Go to the races at 1 Doncaster Racecourse, Leger Way DN4 5DYB (east edge of town off A18), ☏ . This has regular flat-racing April-Oct and jumps racing in winter. The signature event is the St Leger in September.
- Watch football (ie soccer) at Doncaster Rovers, who play in League One, the third tier of English football. They play at Keepmoat Stadium DN4 5JW, 2 miles south of town centre.
- 2 The Dome Leisure Centre, Doncaster Lakeside, Bawtry Rd, DN4 7PD. Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:30pm, Sun: 7:00am-7:00pm. Visit the largest leisure centre in South Yorkshire, offering ice skating in the UK's first split level ice rink and swimming in 'The Lagoons'.
- Vue (close to Dome). Large cinema and bowling alley.
- 3 Bawtry Golf Club, Cross Lane, Austerfield DN10 6RF, ☏ . The course is 6605 yards, par 73.
- Doncaster has lots of cheap and cheerful eating places but not much in the way of fine dining. The main strips are High St into Hall Gate, and Silver St into Market Rd and Nether Hall Rd.
- Turkuaz at 8B Nether Hall Road has good Turkish meze, with belly-dancing at weekends.
- Relish on East Laith Gate is a diner with booths, serving pizza, burgers and grills.
- Cooplands, Frenchgate Centre. M-Sa 09:00-17:30, Su 10:00-16:00. Delicious home-baked goods. Sausage rolls and a cracking chicken pastie.
- The Mansion House is the grand civic building on High St, often used for weddings and the like. A good way to see it is to take afternoon tea there, usually served alternate weeks on a Tuesday or Friday.
- Red Lion, Market Place: a JD Wetherspoon, a nice quiet little place where you can enjoy a low-priced pint and real ale.
- Masons Arms, Market Place: a Tetleys real ale house that dates back to the 1700s.
- Black Bull, Market Place: large pub where you can sit inside or in the large beer garden.
- The Courtyard, Market Place: large open plan bar with a heated beer garden and a great atmosphere. Serving a wide range of real ale and other drinks.
- Gate House, Priory Walk is another JD Wetherspoon.
- Others are Angel & Royal on Cleveland St, Relish Bar & Grill on East Laith Gate, and Corner Pin on St Sepulchre Gate.
Most clubs in Doncaster town center are free to enter. They're mostly around Silver Street.
- La Barracca, 56-60 Silver St. Cocktail bar
- Hogans, 24-28 Silver St. Sports bar and club
- Mambos, 14 Silver St. Downstairs club
- Others are Reflex and Rock-a-hula - Tiki bar.
- Mercure Danum Hotel, High Street DN1 1DN, ☏ . Now part of Accor group, good mid-range hotel. B&B double £140.
- Regent Hotel, Regent Square DN1 2DS, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Decent mid-range place. B&B double £150.
- Grand St Leger Hotel (Crab & Moo), Bennetthorpe, Doncaster DN2 6AX (jcn A18 / A638), ☏ . Budget place, tatty exterior but rooms and service get good reviews. Next to racecourse, one mile to town centre. B&B double £130.
- Premier Inn, Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express have hotels in the Doncaster area, all within easy reach of the town centre.
- Hilton Garden Inn is next to the racecourse. The Campanile is half a mile east on A638 Bawtry Road.
- Lakeside is a lagoon near the football stadium. Hotels here are Premier Inn, Travelodge, and Doncaster International.
As of Jan 2021, some parts of Doncaster have 5G from EE and Three; the whole town has 4G from all UK carriers.
- Sheffield, just 20 min away, has fascinating industrial history and a lively atmosphere.
- York has kept its medieval walls and has many attractions.
- Lincoln is equally historic, a short drive or train ride.
- Sherwood Forest used to stretch all the way to Doncaster but its remnant is now 30 miles south: see the ancient oaks clustered around the forest village of Edwinstowe.
|Routes through Doncaster|
|Leeds ← Pontefract ←||N S||→ merges with → London|
|Sheffield ← Rotherham ←||SW NE||→ merges with → Kingston-upon-Hull|
|merges with ←||W E||→ Scunthorpe → Grimsby|
|END ←||W E||→ Scunthorpe|
|York ← Selby ←||N S||→ END|
|END ←||N S||→ Worksop → Mansfield|