With an industrial past, South Yorkshire has been transformed into a 21st-century playground for arts and culture seekers. With a passion for music, sport and art, you’ll discover museums, galleries and some of the finest architecture in the UK. Weston Park Museum is home to a wealth of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, ideal for curious children and enthusiastic grown-ups alike. There’s quizzes and activities to do inside, themed around the galleries to make learning easier, and more fun. Plus, there are plenty of toys and story books to stimulate the mind further.
Outside, discover four differing family trails to enjoy, which are named Material World, Hide And Seek, It’s All About Sheffield and Long Long Ago. Nearby Kelham Island Museum opened in 1982 to house the objects, pictures and archive material representing Sheffield’s industrial story. Situated in one of the city’s oldest industrial districts, the Museum stands on a man-made island that dates back more than 900 years.
Explore the sights and sounds of industrial Sheffield, take a tour through the interactive galleries that share stories from light trades and skilled workmanship to mass production. And see the River Don Engine steam in every Monday to Thursday and Sunday from noon. Discover nature at its best at Sheffield Botanical Gardens; a green haven sitting in the middle of the city. Listed by English Heritage as a Grade II site, the attraction also features a selection of listed buildings including the beautiful glass pavilions – get your camera ready for some scenic shots!
Take a casual stroll through the Four Seasons garden that provides a changing display throughout the year, Birch Hill, a traditional Rose Garden and a Rock and Water Garden. The Asia Garden has shrubs and trees from the Himalayas and Far East, Osborn’s Field has new tender plants and the Evolution Garden shows how plants developed from primitive life forms.
Weston Park Museum is home to a wealth of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, ideal for curious children and enthusiastic grown-ups alike
Cusworth Hall and Park
Look out for the fossilised stump of a 300 million year old tree – yes, you heard us right! There is also a Woodland area and a Prairie Garden full of meadow plants. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own garden, visit the Marnock Garden to spark your creativity. For a fun and free day out, head over to Cusworth Hall and Park at Barnsley. The Museum showcases a collection of items ranging from costumes and accessories, to agricultural and mining hand tools. There are also toys and games, household equipment, plus more than 10,000 photographs to look through.
Discover what life was like in the Great Kitchen, Still Room Bakehouse, and Laundry Room. Be sure to stop-by at The Chapel too to admire the hanging paintings and the striking ceiling. Outside, wander the historic 18th-century landscape, which includes the restored ‘ye greate river’, plus lakes home to wildlife, including kingfishers, water voles and orchids.
There is also an adventure playground for the little ones and a tearoom serving home-cooked food to give the adults a well-needed break. Built in the 1740s, the Grade 1-listed country house features stunning architecture created by talented craftsmen and artists of the day. For entertainment, the place to go is Cast. The Doncaster venue opened its doors in 2013 and has since played host to internationally acclaimed touring companies starring the very best in local talent.
Funded by Arts Council England and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, the state-of-the-art 620-seat theatre presents a thriving programme of entertainment all year round – from music and dance to children’s shows, comedy and theatre. Plus, a professional in-house produced pantomime, which grows in popularity year on year. One of the region’s longest standing entertainment venues is Rotherham Civic Theatre; which opened to the public in 1960. The first night’s production, Pride and Prejudice, was performed by Rotherham Rep, and the venue has since welcomed some four million visitors and served 750,000 cups of tea and coffee.
At the Evolution Garden, look out for the fossilised stump of a 300 million year old tree – yes, you heard us right!
Vast amounts of professional theatre companies have performed at the venue over the past 50 years. Famous faces who have appeared on the Civic stage include Honor Blackman, Suranne Jones, Brian Blessed, Joe Pasquale and more. A leading UK theatre consisting of the world-renowned Crucible, Lyceum and multi-format studio, Sheffield Theatres produce a diverse programme of stage performances including large scale musicals. It’s the biggest theatre complex outside of London and some of the best UK shows perform here with artists recognised both locally and nationally.
Aside from the big national cinema chains which you’ll find scattered throughout the region; The Showroom is one of Europe’s largest independent cinemas and for Sheffielder’s it’s somewhat of an institution. One of the first sights you see as you step out of Sheffield train station, the Art Deco building was once home to Kennings car showroom.
Inside, its a creative realm. The Showroom opened its first two screens in 1995, with the other two opening in 1998, just as Sheffield’s Cultural Industries Quarter was beginning to take shape. Get lost in a classical masterpiece, a voguish foreign film or even the latest sci-fi offering from Hollywood. With an eclectic assortment of films on offer, their world is your oyster.
Famous faces who have appeared on the Civic stage include Honor Blackman, Suranne Jones, The Chuckle Brothers, Brian Blessed, Joe Pasquale and more
Arts and culture for everyone
Being an independent is something The Showroom is extremely proud of. Every week you can expect something different – they don’t follow the same rules as most big cinema chains. There’s a cafe/bar too,and its owners work closely with local farmers to source their supplies. And the menu continually changes with the seasons.
Throughout the year the venue also hosts a unique series of events, providing opportunities to gather different people from all walks of life for a common and yet memorable journey. From the much-loved Doc Fest to the characterful Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, there is something on offer for everyone.
Everything you need to know about South Yorkshire
Where to eat in South Yorkshire
The best things to do in South Yorkshire
The best shopping in South Yorkshire
The best nightlife in South Yorkshire