Welcome to Barnsley

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History of Barnsley

Barnsley boasts a rich heritage borne from its industrial past of glassmaking, linen production and coal mining. Perfectly situated between larger neighbouring towns and cities such as Leeds and Sheffield, Barnsley became a popular stop-off point for travellers in the 17th century, and the increased traffic fuelled the rise of service industries such as hotels and restaurants. This later provided a boost to linen production, and thus Barnsley became an important epicentre for Yorkshire’s linen industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. The linen industry that was so incremental to the growth of Barnsley that the town erected a sculpture of a loom on Sheffield Road to honour its industrial past.

Barnsley is perhaps most historically known for its coal production in the twentieth century, hitting its peak production in 1960 with 70 mines operating in and around the town. Although the last mine closed in 1994, the heavy legacy of the Industrial Revolution can still be felt in the heritage village of Elsecar and nearby suburbs.

Geography of Barnsley

Situated within a green-belt region half-way between Leeds and Sheffield and, Barnsley is the perfect location for those seeking a countryside home with easy access to vibrant urban towns and cities.

The borough of Barnsley forms part of both the Sheffield City Region and the Leeds City Region and is bisected by the M1 motorway, which is perfectly contrasted with the town’s wealth of national park land and stunning countryside. Barnsley’s suburbs showcase a stunning array of rolling hills, nature reserves and reservoirs, perfect for hiking, bike rides and family days out.

Demographics of Barnsley

According to recent estimations, Barnsley is home to 240,000 residents across the borough. Its ideal location has made it the settlement of choice for families and retired couples alike.

Economy of Barnsley

Evolving from its legacy of coal mining, glassworks and linen production, Barnsley has seen large economic growth over the past few years and is attracting almost three times more business to the area than was expected in 2016.

Since undergoing significant investment in business parks and infrastructure, Barnsley has attracted big-name businesses such as cross-media marketing company Rethink CMYK and specialist machinery supplier MOBA, and is expected to grow its digital industry in future.

Transport in Barnsley

Whether you commute by car, bus or train, Barnsley is well connected to its suburbs and nearby towns and cities. Sheffield and Leeds are both a half hour drive on the M1, and Barnsley Interchange offers trains to nearby commutable locations such as Huddersfield, Chesterfield and Nottingham. 

Frequent bus services connect commuters to the whole of South Yorkshire and beyond, including Doncaster and Rotherham, and Barnsley is also close to Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport for those seeking a destination further afield.

Schools and Education in Barnsley

Offering over 100 primary and secondary schools to local children across the borough, Barnsley is a prime location for families with children. Those with an interest in higher education and apprenticeships may wish to consider Barnsley College, which recently ranked second place in the NICDEX league table and has produced the likes of Arctic Monkeys vocalist Alex Turner and professional hairdresser Andrew Barton.

Its prime location makes universities in local towns and cities such as Leeds, Sheffield and Huddersfield very accessible to students wishing to commute from home.

Arts and Culture in Barnsley

With a past as rich as Barnsley’s, visitors would do well to visit historical hotspots such as Elsecar Heritage Centre, Cannon Hall and Pot House Hamlet for a fascinating day learning about Barnsley’s glassworks and coal industries, taking part in workshops and visiting the petting farms. Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre is ideal for those seeking a more in-depth knowledge of the town’s past, and offers interactive components for families with children.

The Cooper Gallery is home to both local and world-famous art, featuring work from the likes of Picasso, and those with a preference for live art will feel right at home at The Civic. Built in 1877 as a public hall, it was repurposed into Barnsley Civic Theatre in 1962. Nowadays the theatre showcases the best of local and national theatre productions, comedy acts, live music, dance performances and exhibitions.

Things to do in Barnsley

Barnsley is awash with fun things to do for every occasion. Shopaholics can find solace at the Alhambra Centre, a fantastic retail complex situated next to the ever-popular Barnsley Markets. If you’re looking to buy local produce and gorgeous fabrics, pay the stalls a visit – there’s a reason Barnsley is South Yorkshire’s favourite market town! The high street is brimming with a number of independent and big-name restaurants and bars, including Old School House, premium pub and live music venue, and the Alexander Cocktail Bar.

Outside of the town centre, Barnsley is home to spectacular attractions perfect for the whole family. Visitors at Wentworth Woodhouse can peruse the corridors and gardens of this magnificent Grade I listed building and stop by the ever-popular Wentworth Garden Centre, arguably the largest and most inspiring centre in Yorkshire. Worsbrough Mill, a 17th century working mill in the outskirts of Barnsley, is a unique attraction surrounded by 240 acres of stunning parkland and reservoir waters and invites its visitors to explore the gardens with well-maintained footpaths and cycle paths.