South Yorkshire tends to be overlooked as a tourist venue, but this is a region of great age and antiquity and, in many places, real beauty, both natural and man-made. Sheffield claims to be England’s greenest city, and the wild open spaces of the Pennine moorlands of the Peak District National Park roll right up to its western boundaries.
Sheffield’s prosperity is founded on steel and, in particular, cutlery, and though there are few ancient buildings in England’s fourth-largest city to explore, there is a wealth of museums and galleries on offer to the visitor. To the north of Sheffield is Barnsley, whose prosperity comes from the rich seams of coal that have been exploited in the local area. Meanwhile, to the east lies Rotherham, where iron ore has been mined and smelted since the12th century. While its wealth is certainly based upon metal, Rotherham is also the home of Rockingham Pottery, which was once favoured by royalty.
Further east again is the busy riverside town of Doncaster, which was established by the Romans and today has the air of a pleasant South Yorkshire market town. However, this was once one of the country’s most important centres of steam locomotive manufacture and it is famous for having built Mallard, which still holds the record for the top speed attained by a steam train. Today, though, Doncaster is best known as the home of the St Leger, Britain’s oldest classic horse race, first run in 1776.
Elsewhere in the county visitors can discover the delights of Roche Abbey, a12th-century Cistercian house, Conisbrough Castle, which boasts the oldest stone keep in England, and the faded Victorian grandeur of Brodsworth Hall.
For more free guides in this series, visit the Travel & Holidays pages.