South Yorkshire

A rolling landscape of hills, moorland and valleys contrasts with the industrial heritage of South Yorkshire’s past to provide visitors with a great choice of attractions. Stately homes, gardens and a collection of annual festivals and events deliver a fun filled experience for tourists.

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South Yorkshire Overview

Welcome to South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire in the north of England is a landlocked county surrounded by the counties of Derbyshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

South Yorkshire has a population of around 1,400,000 people. The county town is Barnsley with other large populations at the steel city of Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham.

The landscape of South Yorkshire is a rolling landscape of hills, moorland and valleys filled with flowing streams bearing the fading scars of the mining and steel industries against a backdrop of the Pennines and Peak District National Park.


South Yorkshire wasn’t officially created until 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act of 1972, though the history of the area dates back to at least 8000 BC.

Industry has a left a heavy footprint on the history of South Yorkshire with coal mining, iron ore extraction and the steel industry benefitting from the county’s rivers the main powerhouse of the area. The county’s industrial past remains visible today and helps to support a tourist industry with a number of heritage attractions.

Places to Visit in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire has a wide choice of great of days out for all the family. Military and history buffs can visit Robin Hood airport, formerly RAF Finningley, to see the world’s last operational Vulcan Bomber, sadly no longer flying. The Millennium Gallery in Sheffield showcases all sorts of metalwork including exhibits made in the city and around the world. The Winter Gardens in Sheffield city centre house over 2,500 types of plants in an amazing display. Aspiring scientists will enjoy the Magna Science Adventure Centre with a number of fascinating exhibits providing an educational experience for visitors. The Yorkshire sculpture park near Wakefield is filled with Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth statues.

There are a number of historic buildings, fortifications and castles in South Yorkshire. Conisbrough Castle is a 12th century partially restored castle which inspired Sir Walter Scott’s book, Ivanhoe. Roche Abbey is a ruined abbey set against the backdrop of a valley landscape designed by Capability Brown.
If you are looking to escape to the great outdoors then head for the hills – walkers will enjoy the views from the hills, vales and moors of the countryside.

South Yorkshire has a number of stately homes and glorious gardens open to the public. Renishaw Hall houses a collection of art and furniture, whilst outside the spectacular gardens comprise ponds, secret “rooms”, statues and fountains. Brodsworth Hall & Gardens near Doncaster is a Victorian country house where you can tour the rooms before enjoying the colourful gardens. Garden lovers will enjoy the Sheffield Botanical Garden, a 19 acre garden that dates back to 1836 with sweeping lawns, colourful borders and glass pavilions. Cannon Hall Park & Gardens are fascinating – over 70 acres of parkland, walled gardens and a 200 year old Cannon Vine – grown from a seed brought back from Australia. Cusworth Hall Museum & Gardens, Clumber Park and Wentworth

Woodhouse Gardens are amongst other gardens in the county.
There is plenty to do from a sporting perspective with football teams including Barnsley, Rotherham United, Doncaster Rovers and the two Sheffield clubs – Sheffield United, the Blades and Sheffield Wednesday, the Owls. The St. Leger horse race is run at Doncaster racecourse as part of the St. Leger Festival. And Sheffield’s The Crucible is synonymous with snooker.

Looking for some retail therapy? Then take a visit to shopping centres of Crystal Peaks, Frenchgate Shopping Centre or Fox Valley Sheffield or the Lakeside Village at Doncaster.

South Yorkshire’s famous names include journalist and TV presenter Michael Parkinson, former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, actor writer and presenter Michael Palin, TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, actor Sean Bean and Olympic star Jessica Ennis.

South Yorkshire has a large range of annual events including the Dragon Boat Festival, Rotherham Heritage Festival, South Yorkshire Festival, Sheffield Food Festival, Tramlines Festival and a number of agricultural shows and food festivals.

South Yorkshire’s famous food includes jelly babies and Liquorice Allsorts from Bassetts in Sheffield, Henderson’s Relish and lamb from the county’s hills – delicious with a Yorkshire pudding!

Getting There

South Yorkshire is readily accessible by road – the M1 and A1(M) run through the county from north to south, whilst the A623 crosses the Peak District National Park to Manchester.

The county is well served by train with both East Midlands Trains and Virgin operating services from London St. Pancras and Kings Cross respectively to Sheffield.

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