As befits one of the largest towns in the UK, there’s a lot to do in Doncaster. From the biggest paintball centre in Europe to polar bears and big cats at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, modern-day escape rooms and a wall-to-wall trampoline park, there’s something to keep everyone active in Doncaster.
Boasting the UK’s only polar bears, alongside big cats, rhinos, baboons, otters, camels and more, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park also offers up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the animals, thanks to its walk-through enclosures. Rangers are on hand to answer any questions on the inhabitants, including nearly 400 animals across 70 species. Make sure you book online to get cheaper tickets. The park is found just a 12-minute drive from our Doncaster (Lakeside) hotel and opens from 10am to 6pm, with last entry at 5pm.
At 5,000 feet high and with views across South Yorkshire and beyond, there’s genuinely nothing like a hot air balloon ride. Operating from March to October and with morning or evening flights available via Virgin Balloon Flights, the hour-long tour takes you over Cusworth Hall and other Doncaster landmarks, giving you bird’s eye views over the River Don, Conisbrough Castle and Doncaster Racecourse.
Europe’s largest paintball and outdoor laser combat centre, Bawtry Paintball and Laser Fields in Bawtry Forest is a sprawling complex that hosts 12 combat games for adults, as well as low-impact paintball aimed at children seven and older. Don’t get too freaked out if you spot The Predator during the game – the dressed-up member of staff stalks the battlefields looking for prey, but will only shoot at moving targets!
Putt your way through waters teeming with ‘crocodiles’ and underneath the sleeping pirate and you could be crowned champion at the Pirate Cove Adventure Golf Course. Spread over 12 holes, this crazy pirate-themed course is perfect family fun and is to be found at the Kingswood Golf Course, which is a 20-minute drive from our Doncaster Central East hotel.
For more fun with the family, head to Boston Park Farm Maize Maze at Hatfield House, a tongue-twisting corn-filled jungle that opens from July to the end of October each year. Entry to the maze is included with the farm ticket, which also has a large kids’ play area, tea room and dozens of animal enclosures housing llamas, pigs, lambs, goats and guinea pigs, amongst others.
The trend for escape rooms has well and truly reached Doncaster, with Enigma Rooms on Hall Gate its most popular exponents. With challenges for 2–6 people and for adults or families, you’re tasked with escaping ten different scenarios, including a bank heist, a zombie outbreak and starting your own detective agency. The venue is open from 9am to 8pm daily and is located on Hall Gate, a five-minute walk from Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.
Another rising phenomenon in the UK, trampoline parks have also hit Doncaster, with Air Kings located on the edge of the town, in Kirk Sandall. From solo bounce sessions to dodgeball leagues and three-point swishes on the basketball hoops, Air Kings is perfect for a rainy day and good for kids over four years old.
Are you an expert bowler looking for the next challenge? Then try Cosmic Bowling at Ten Pin in Doncaster, where the lights are turned down, the music is turned up and the pins glow in the dark. The 24-lane bowling alley also has an impressive games arcade, table tennis, pool tables and a licensed bar and restaurant and is located near The Dome.
There are more than five bike groups in Doncaster, including Doncaster Wheelers and Cycle Supreme who all have favoured routes. Rovers: Ride It! is a free cycle hire scheme based at Keepmoat Stadium offering bike and safety equipment. With over 1,725 routes mapped via MapMyRide, you’ll find no shortage of ways to get on your bike.
Conisbrough, six miles from Doncaster, is the perfect place to explore on foot. Its 11th century castle is ideal for a picnic, with stunning views from the keep. And it’s also a great setting for a walk, with several options starting and finishing at the visitor centre. Ranging from a couple of miles to full-day treks, the walks also take in Conisbrough viaduct, an amazing railway line that stretches for 1,500 feet and contains 21 arches and 15 million bricks. The bridge is now a popular cycle path, having been converted in 2010.
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