South Yorkshire

There has always been an air of down-to-earth Yorkshire-ness about Barnsley, a large town reknowned across the region for its market and the centre of a wider metropolitan borough within the county of South Yorkshire, for which it was once the administrative centre.

The town is 9 miles south of Wakefield, 10 miles north-west of Rotherham, 12 miles north of Sheffield, 14 miles south-east of Huddersfield, 15 miles west-north-west of Doncaster and 32 miles south-east of York.

While it is still a straightforward sort of place where the Yorkshire accent is reputed to be at its strongest, gone is some of the grittiness which existed when it was a major centre of the coal mining industry. The major industry of Barnsley's surrounding villages, which sees the headquarters of the National Union of Mineworkers based in Huddersfield Road in Barnsley, has now all gone, to be replaced by cleaner businesses and a pleasantly green landscape.

Some surprising changes have been made to the centre of Barnsley in recent years as it develops into a much more modern town centre. A "Better Barnsley" is being created with at least £100m of investment going into the centre of the town which has already seen a transformation brought about by new college buildings near to its impressive centrepiece Town Hall of 1933, an impressive Portland stone clad-building with tall square clock tower.

What is Yorkshire's biggest and best market remains at the heart of the town and work has been continuing over the last few years to create a new retail and leisure centre The Glass Works, including a new public square, a revamped indoor market, new library and shops. Market stalls also add to the character of the pedestrianised town centre streets.

Away from the pit villages, agriculture has always been a big part of the economy of the area around the town, with a farming landscape extending for several miles west of Barnsley into the edges of the Peak District National Park. It was the local fresh meat, which can still be found in the town's meat and fish market, that was to give rise to the Barnsley Chop, usually a double loin lamb chop.

Town features

Barnsley is famous for its markets where you can find anything and everything, a tradition which has gone on in the town since it gained its first royal charter for markets in 1249. Indoor, meat and fish, semi-open and outdoor markets provide around 300 stalls. Market traders have something to offer every day except Thursday and Sunday. On Sundays there is a car boot sale every week. The shopping experience spreads from the market stalls, streets and Victorian Arcade into the modern Alhambra Shopping Centre, at Cheapside, where bargain stores mix with the usual high street retailers. A huge number of traders are packed into the compact town centre, which is close to the travel interchange, making it easy to hop off a train or bus to shop. While the market continues to be the main attraction in Barnsley, there are also supermarkets not far from the town centre.

Barnsley has a Post Office in Pitt Street and sub-post offices in its districts.

The town has bank and building society branches.

Barnsley has pharmacies in the town centre and many of its districts.

A range of cafes and coffee shops add to the Barnsley town centre experience with some pubs open during the day and serving food.

Barnsley has a varied range of places to drink. There are pubs and bars in the town centre, while in surrounding areas there are often social clubs as well as pubs in former pit villages. Head out into the countryside and there are still local inns to be found in some rural villages.

For theatres and museums in Barnsley see below.

Barnsley Central Library is at The Glass Works. There are also branch libraries in several districts and villages around the Barnsley area.

The Metrodome Leisure Complex at Queens Ground, Queens Road, offers a wide range of fitness and leisure activities, a waterpark and swimming pools.

Barnsley College operates from a number of campuses around the town centre and there are a wide range of schools throughout the Barnsley area. For higher education see below.

Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed, Muslim, other.

The parish church of Barnsley is St Mary in Church Street, a 19th century church with a tower dating from the 15th century. Following the merger of the Diocese of Wakefield in 2014 it became part of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales which two years later is formally restyled Diocese of Leeds.

The River Dearne flows about 1 mile to the north-east of Barnsley town centre, which is high on the hill above the Dearne Valley.


The Lamproom Theatre

Volunteers have been behind the conversion of what was a derelict Methodist Chapel into an exciting location for community theatre, music and stand-up comedy.

The Civic

Hanson Street
Offers a varied programme of theatre, comedy, music, dance, exhibitions and family shows. The original Civic dated back to 1877. The revamped building was opened by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in 2009, supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund.


Barnsley FC

The Tykes play at Oakwell Stadium.
 Barnsley FC official website.

Barnsley Cricket Club

Established in 1862, the club has produced many Yorkshire and international stars. It plays at Shaw Lane.

Barnsley Rugby Union Football Club

play at Shaw Lane.
 Barnsley Rugby Union Football Club official website.

Higher education

University Campus Barnsley

Church Street
Located in a building just across the road from the Town Hall, University Campus Barnsley is part of Barnsley College. It offers Higher National, foundation courses and studies leading to BSc and BA degrees accredited by universities including the University of Huddersfield, University of Hull, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Derby.
Website:  University Campus Barnsley.


Experience Barnsley

Barnsley Town Hall, Church Street
The Experience Barnsley museum and discovery centre is based in Barnsley Town Hall, telling the story of Barnsley's rich heritage through archeological finds, historic documents and artefacts and old films. The museum is run by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Experience Barnsley web pages.

Places to visit

Worsbrough Mill

Worsbrough Bridge
This working 17th century flour mill uses water power from the River Dove at Worsbrough Bridge, 2.5 miles south of Barnsley town centre. Visitors can learn about the milling process and explore the surrounding country park, set around Worsbrough Reservoir. Admission is free, but there are charges in the car park. The mill is off the A61 at Worsbrough Bridge. Buses from Barnsley, including 66 and 265, stop nearby. The mill is run by Barnsley Metropolitan District Council.
More information at these  Barnsley Council - Worsbrough Mill web pages.

Monk Bretton Priory

Abbey Lane, Cundy Cross
The ruins of Monk Bretton Priory, a monastery originating in 1154, can be found at Abbey Lane, Cundy Cross, two miles east of Barnsley town centre, hidden behind housing just off the A628 Pontefract Road. The priory was of the order of Cluny, originally established in La Charite-sur-Loire in France. The Cluniac monks had originally established a priory at Pontefract in the 1090s and Monk Bretton was set up as a daughter of that priory. As well as the ruins of the stone-plundered monastery there is a gatehouse dating from a rebuild in the 15th century which is almost intact and an administrative building, originating from the 13th century with a 17th century upper storey, recently renewed and reroofed. The site has free admission, is open most days from 10am to 3pm and is managed by English Heritage. Several bus services operate from Barnsley along the road to Cundy Cross, from where it is a short walk.

More information at the  English Heritage - Monk Bretton Priory website.
 Find Monk Bretton Priory on map

Cannon Hall

Bark House Lane, Cawthorne
Visitors can explore the Georgian country house museum and gardens and parkland, extending across 28 hectares (70 acres). The hall also stages a wide range of events from art exhibitions to baking days and re-enactment events. Cannon Hall is 6 miles by road west-north-west of Barnsley town centre just off the A635 road near the village of Cawthorne. It has a large pay and display car park. Bus 92 connects Barnsley to Cawthorne village with a walk of about a mile to Cannon Hall. On Sundays three 92A services run to Cannon Hall.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Cannon Hall web pages.

Cannon Hall Farm

Bark House Lane, Cawthorne
Cannon Hall Farm is an award-winning open farm attraction just up the road from the hall itself. The farm has grown to become one of the largest such attractions in the country, now including adventure playgrounds, a gift shop, farm shop and restaurants. The animals themselves are the main appeal though, with a rare breeds barn and milking demonstrations. There are car parking and admission charges, though parking is free and admission reduced after 3.30pm, follow the link to the farm website for details. The farm is also host to the Underneath The Stars Festival of art, music, food and drink in July. Bus 92 connects Barnsley to Cawthorne village, a walk of about a mile to Cannon Hall Farm. On Sundays three 92A services run to Cannon Hall.
More information at the  Cannon Hall Farm website.

Elsecar Heritage Centre

Wath Road, Elsecar
The heritage centre is located in a former ironworks and colliery workshops and houses an antique centre, craft workshops and exhibitions of the past history of the conservation village of Elsecar. Key attractions are the 1795 Newcomen Beam Engine, the only one of its kind to have been preserved in its original location, and the Elsecar Heritage Railway, which operates mainly at weekends along a restored part of a branch line which served collieries and iron works. The centre stages a series of events, including children's activities, car shows and auctions. The Heritage Centre is 6 miles south-south-east of Barnsley. It can be reached from Barnsley by bus on route 66 or by train to Elsecar station, from where it is a walk of about half a mile.
Find out more at the  Barnsley Council - Elsecar Heritage Centre web pages.

Wentworth Castle Gardens

Wentworth Castle Stainborough
The Grade I listed gardens and parkland of Wentworth Castle, a country house at Stainborough, near Barnsley, were reopened in 2019 by the National Trust in partnership with Barnsley Council and Northern College, which occupies the house, which is closed to visitors.

The gardens, like the house itself, are largely the result of family rivalry in the 18th century with the inheriters of Wentworth Woodhouse, a spectacular country house around six miles away. Miles of parkland include various monuments and also Stainborough Castle, a folly ruined castle of medieval appearance which continues the name of an earlier house at Wentworth Castle. A Union Jack Garden commemorates the union of England and Scotland in 1707 and there is also a Victorian conservatory.

For more information see the  National Trust - Wentworth Castle Gardens web pages.
Locate on map:  Wentworth Castle Gardens

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK's leading open-air sculpture gallery, situated at West Bretton, between Barnsley, Huddersfield and Wakefield. Set in around 500 acres of beautiful parkland within the Bretton Estate adjoining Bretton Hall, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park offers what is probably the finest outdoor exhibition space in the country for modern and contemporary sculpture, attracting regional, national and international exhibits. The museum also has indoor exhibition spaces, cafes and shops. The museum car parks are accessed off the A637 Huddersfield Road between West Bretton and junction 38 of the M1. From 2020, the Yorkshire Sculpture Pak has introduced an admission charge with advance booking required. Parking is included in the admission fee.

More information at the  Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
Find on map:  Yorkshire Sculpture Park

National Coal Mining Museum for England

National Coal Mining Museum for England Wakefield Road, Overton
The National Coal Mining Museum for England is mid-way between Wakefield and Huddersfield, about 6 miles from each, on the main A642 road at Overton. It is also around 10 miles from Barnsley and just under 5 miles from Dewsbury. The former Caphouse Colliery has exhibits showing the history of mining in the Yorkshire coalfield and beyond. The museum also offers the chance to don a miner's helmet to take an underground tour down the mine. The tour takes about an hour and shows the changes in mining and conditions in the pit through its history. There's also chance to meet pit ponies, to take a trip on a colliery railway, to walk its nature trail or relax with food or a drink in its cafe.
More details at the  National Coal Mining Museum website.

Peak District National Park

The vast area of the Peak District National Park starts around 10 miles to the west of Barnsley town centre, stretching from Yorkshire into Derbyshire and beyond. For more details see our Peak District page.



Barnsley station adjoins the bus station Schwabish Gmund Way
Barnsley station, adjoining Barnsley Interchange bus station, offers local services stopping at stations to Huddersfield via Penistone, to Sheffield and to Leeds via Wakefield Kirkgate. It is also a stop on Northern regional express services to Leeds via Wakefield Kirkgate and to Meadowhall, Sheffield and stations to Nottingham.

Station managed by: Northern.
Operator: Northern -

 Northern - Barnsley Station and departure information at Northern website.

Barnsley Interchange

Eldon Street North
Buses run from Barnsley Interchange adjoining the railway station with additional street stops for some routes. Buses serve most of Barnsley's nearby towns and villages with inter-town links including services to Penistone, Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster. Service X19 is the most direct public transport route to Doncaster and continues to Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Robin Hood Airport.)

Road travel

Barnsley is just 2 miles from the M1 motorway via the A628 giving the town good north-south connectivity across Yorkshire. The A628 continues westward to wind through the Peak District to provide South Yorkshire's only direct route to Greater Manchester.

The HS2 effect

Our new study has assessed cities and major towns throughout the Yorkshire region for the benefits HS2 will bring in travelling from Yorkshire to London when the proposed section between the Midlands and Leeds is complete in 2033. The line is also planned to link to existing lines to Sheffield and York. Each city or town has been given one of three simple ratings based on convenience and time saved over existing services.
White elephant: Takes the same time or longer than an existing service* or saves less than 10 minutes while now causing a change of trains. (* or HS2 completed to Manchester).
Coffee break: Saves 10 to 45 minutes. Time for a cup of coffee at your destination rather than on the train?
City slicker: Saves 45 minutes or more on existing service getting you to that all-important London meeting in good time.

We've been fairly generous to HS2 in making the assessment. Where a change of trains is now needed, we have assumed that you are on the fastest train to the station where you change to HS2, that it arrives on time, you have 10 minutes to change to the HS2 platform and an HS2 train is waiting to depart at that time. No assessment is made of additional journey costs possible in connecting to or travelling on HS2. The assessment is made on journeys from Yorkshire to London with again no account taken of any convenience or inconvenience in arrival at London Euston rather than London King's Cross station. Further details about our study can be found on The HS2 Effect page.


Although offering less of a time saving than the originally planned HS2 station at Meadowhall, changing to HS2 at Sheffield will shave around 40 minutes off the fastest feasible time to London at present.

Emergency services

South Yorkshire Police  South Yorkshire Police website.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue  South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Barnsley Town Hall Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Barnsley is one of four metropolitan district authorities within the county of South Yorkshire.

It covers Barnsley and dozens of other towns, villages and hamlets, stretching for around 20 miles east to west and around 10 miles north to south. The western part of the borough includes an area of the Peak District National Park.

Barnsley council's 63 councillors serve three per ward across 13 wards for a four-year term. An election of one councillor per ward takes place each year with no election in the fourth year. An election of one-third of the council due to be held in 2020 has been postponed to 2021.

Link to  Barnsley MBC website.

Political composition after the May 2021 election:

63 members ( 1 = Barnsley Independent Group )

County strategic authority

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority
Covers South Yorkshire. A mayoral election for this authority was held in May 2018.
 Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority website.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
 South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner website.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the four metropolitan district councils of South Yorkshire - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
 South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority web pages.

Ceremonial county

South Yorkshire


1869-1913 Municipal borough
1913-1974 County Borough (within the West Riding of Yorkshire)

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