Report by: Matthew Inglis
Barnsley is a town that can easily be misconceived. Without exploring you wouldn’t realise how much is on offer, and how much is going on in the town to make this a real gem of a tourist destination.
Nestled in South Yorkshire between the major cities of Sheffield and Leeds, the town is easily reached from the nearby M1 motorway. Barnsley is probably best known for its industrial past, including the linen and coal mining industries, however over the years this has changed and today Barnsley has transformed itself to include a brilliant tourism offering, with so many great venues and events for groups heading into and around the town centre. The town and local attractions have a comprehensive events programme running throughout the year so there is always something going on for groups to visit, and top of the list is a visit to the town centre, which is bustling with shops, a busy outdoor market, and a transformed, vibrant indoor market, all within easy walking distance from the coach drop-off point. Add to this museums and other visitor attractions, as well as nearby historic properties, and you find that there is so much going on, so I went along to find out more, and discover why our readers should be adding Barnsley to their touring schedules.
Barnsley Indoor Market
Barnsley indoor market has recently gone through a huge refurbishment programme, opening its doors again in 2018. Today the market offers a fantastic shopping experience, which is always popular with groups of all ages. Named as the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) Best Large Indoor Market In 2018, the market is located in the former Metropolitan Centre, and spreads over two levels with around 100 stalls on offer. Accessibility is good in the market, with lifts available between floors. The market really does have something for everyone, with a number of fresh food stalls, selling some of the best local produce, as well a wide range of stalls including household textiles, fashion, and books and cards to name a few. Visitors can also relax and enjoy a wide range of refreshments in the on-site restaurant, located on the top floor. The market offers a meet and greet service for coach visits, and coach parking is available on site between 10.00am and 4.00pm (pre-booking required).
NEED TO KNOW… Location: S70 2JL Coach Parking: On Site (pre booking required) Driver Incentives: Free refreshment voucher to use in the market
Barnsley Outdoor Market
Barnsley is also proud to hold its traditional outdoor market, which runs six days a week, with a different offering available each day, meaning there is always something new to see for returning group visits. Nestled in amongst the high street shops, Barnsley’s busy outdoor market has a vast variety of stalls for keen shoppers throughout the town centre, which is currently undertaking a massive regeneration. On Mondays, visitors can browse a real variety of stalls, with general everyday stalls mixed in with secondhand sellers. On Tuesdays, bargain hunters are out and about as the day is reserved for secondhand sellers, before the traditional outdoor sellers return on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays are also hugely popular and busy with a traditional car boot taking place. Opening times: 8am to 4.30pm (closed on Thursdays) Postcode: S70 1SX Tel: 01226 772239
Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre
While in Barnsley be sure to take in the brilliant Museum and Discovery Centre, dedicated to the people and history of Barnsley. Located in the stunning Town Hall, visitors can expect to spend anywhere from two to three hours absorbed in the rich history of the town, and can see many exhibits donated by the people of Barnsley.
Locke Park stretches over 47 acres, and is a relaxing area of large green space, ideal for walks, ball games and picnics. The park has a busy events schedule throughout the year hosting charity events and the Locke Park Summer Gala on August 11.
Calypso Cove Water Park
Fun for all the family, and ideal for any spare time for groups, the water park is home to some exhilarating flumes and slides, as well as a wave machine which is regularly activated during leisure swims.
Now open, new Library at The Lightbox
As part of Barnsley’s major renovation and improvements to the town centre, a brand-new library opened on July 13 at the Lightbox, which is a state-of-theart venue. The library’s events space will be used throughout the year as a multi-purpose venue, hosting a range of events for people of the town and visitors to enjoy. Lounges Cafe Bar, which is adjacent to the library, will provide a new food and drink offering in the town centre.
For more information on visiting Barnsley please visit www.experience-barnsley.com