26 fun things to do in Doncaster

Doncaster sits in the heart of South Yorkshire, awaiting you with a warm Yorkshire welcome – famous for its horse racing and railway heritage, there’s plenty to do and see in this charming city that’ll make for a great staycation or day trip.

If you want to learn more about Doncaster’s history, head to these fascinating historical sites and museums, such as this spectacular medieval castle and the stunning Cusworth Hall, often described as a jewel in Doncaster’s crown, a Grade I listed building set in acres of historic parkland, dating back to the 18th century.

There are loads to keep the kids amused for the day with these family-friendly experiences – get up close and personal with some incredible animals at Doncaster Wildlife Park, or stroll the beautiful Victorian-style gardens at Brodsworth Hall & Gardens.

Cycling in Doncaster is increasingly more popular with an increasing number of cycle lanes and pathways allowing for safer cycling. Its situation on the Trans Pennine Trail means it is connected to other surrounding towns.

Stretch your legs with these exciting outdoor activities, from thrilling experiences at this outdoor activity centre to this tranquil nature reserve.

The Silver Street, Cleveland Street and High Street areas have over 40 bars and clubs within a 2–3 minute walk of each other and other bars can be found on Priory Walk, Lazarus Court, Bradford Row and around the Market Place.

Fun facts about Doncaster

  • The Flying Scotsman – the first locomotive to reach 100mph was built in Doncaster in 1922-23 at the Doncaster Railway Works.
  • The first horse racing track in Doncaster was established in 1614. The Doncaster Cup was run for the first time in 1766, making it the oldest regulated horse race in the world. The St Leger, the world’s oldest classic horse race is held in Doncaster; dating back to 1776 and runs every year in September.
  • Shirley and Eddie Clarkson manufactured and licensed the first stuffed toy of Paddington Bear in Doncaster. The first prototype bears were given to their children, Grand Tour presenter and former Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson and his sister Joanna for Christmas in 1972.
  • British actress Dame Diana Rigg was born on July 20, 1938, in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in “Medea”, both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
  • Doncaster is the birthplace of the toilet thanks to Thorne born Thomas Crapper. He popularised the modern flushing toilet.

Here are some suggestions for things not to miss in Doncaster

  • Visit the Doncaster Racecourse: This is a great destination for horse racing enthusiasts. The racecourse hosts several high-profile events throughout the year, including the prestigious St Leger Stakes. Even if you’re not into horse racing, it’s worth a visit to see the impressive grandstands and soak up the atmosphere.
  • Explore Cusworth Hall and Park: This beautiful country house and its surrounding park offer a fascinating insight into the history of Doncaster. You can explore the grand interiors of the house, stroll around the landscaped gardens, and learn about life in the area over the past few centuries.
  • Have a fun day out at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park: This park is home to over 400 animals from around the world, including tigers, lions, and polar bears. You can get up close to the animals and learn about conservation efforts to protect these amazing creatures.
  • Experience the thrill of skydiving at the iFLY Indoor Skydiving Centre: This indoor skydiving centre offers a safe and exciting way to experience the sensation of freefall. You’ll be guided by experienced instructors, so even if you’re a beginner, you can still have a great time.
  • Visit the Doncaster Dome: This entertainment complex has a range of activities for all ages, including an ice rink, a swimming pool, and a fitness centre. There’s also a range of dining options, so you can refuel after a fun day out.
  • Explore the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum: This museum is located at the former site of the RAF Doncaster airfield and features a range of historic aircraft and aviation artefacts. You can learn about the history of aviation in South Yorkshire and even sit in the cockpit of a plane.
  • See a show at the Cast theatre: This modern theatre hosts a range of performances throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and comedy shows. Check the schedule to see what’s on during your visit.
  • Shop at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre: This large shopping centre has over 100 stores, including high-street brands and independent retailers. There’s also a cinema and a range of dining options, so you can make a day of it.

These are just some of the fun things to do in Doncaster. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adrenaline-pumping activities, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant town.

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