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Known as a historic market town, Doncaster sits at the edge of Yorkshire. It is renowned for its horse racing, prominent railway heritage, as well as its vibrant Georgian and Regency architecture on the Great North Road. The town of Doncaster is located at the very and has more than enough to satisfyingly surprise the visitor, especially if you have never been in this place before. History is all around, and the architecture in Doncaster proudly showcases the different ages it has gone through. Doncaster has all the remains of the original Roman wall; Saxon church architecture; Norman castles at Conisbrough and Tickhill; and a wealth of Georgian and Regency architecture reflecting the glory days of Doncaster when it was considered the most crucial town in this small part of England.
Conisbrough, an English Heritage site, has picturesque views over Conisbrough and inspired Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. The original 12th-century building provides visitors the chance to delve into a medieval world as they step inside the crumbling castle walls and are amazed by the unusually well-preserved castle that has been dramatically re-presented in recent years to show this magnificent piece of history to the public.
Brodsworth Hall Another stunning historical piece, the Brodsworth country house was built in the 1860s in the Italianate style that was also favored for Queen Victoria’s Osborne House; and much of the original scheme survives today. One of England’s most unaltered Victorian country houses, the gardens, a collection of ‘grand gardens in miniature,’ has also been restored to their original splendor and the gardens and vistas are truly enchanting.
Doncaster Market and Corn Exchange
Doncaster market is described as the ‘biggest and best’ traditional market in the North with some 400 shops, stalls and stands and has been the heart of the town for hundreds of years. The jewel in the crown is The Corn Exchange, and this exceptional Victorian listed gem houses a wide range of quality retailers that has fashion and furnishing galore.
The Minster stands right in the heart of town and is thought to have been there since the 11th Century. Even before the church was established, the site had continuous activity dating back to at least AD71 making the site a rich repository of the human history of local and even national importance. The Minster is a Grade 1 listed building, and the surrounding grounds house archaeological remains of great significance.
St Leger, the world’s oldest classic horse race was held in Doncaster; dating back to 1776 and runs every year in September. Doncaster is also technically part of Scotland. This is because the town was signed over to King David I in the 12th Century in the Treaty of Durham, and was never officially given back. Furthermore, the only polar bears living in the UK are from Doncaster. The wildlife park has become one of Yorkshire’s most famous tourist attractions, welcoming over 750,000 guests every year.
Doncaster is proud to be the birthplace of the toilet. This accolade is due to Thomas Crapper, the man who popularised the modern flushing toilet, being a son of Thorne, Doncaster. Clapper went on to make a splash in the plumbing industry. The town is also home to Britain’s favorite corner shop. First run by that legend of comedy, Ronnie Barker as Arkwright, and more recently by his nephew Granville, a tiny hairdresser’s shop in Balby is transformed into “Arkwrights” from Open All Hours when filming starts. The shop has been used since the very first series in the 1970s and continues today.