Summer’s here – give or take the odd bit of rain – and every parent and grandparent is familiar with the annual challenge of trying to keep the children entertained!
Fortunately Barnsley and the surrounding area offer lots of attractive days out and activities for the whole family.
At the Civic in our town centre you can see the fantastic children’s book illustrations of Nick Sharratt – who worked on the Tracy Beaker books. It’s an inter-active exhibition running all summer, where you can try your hand at different drawing techniques and create your own digital ‘Sharracter’!
Adults might be more interested in the ‘Yorkshire Made Me’ exhibition at the Cooper Gallery, which I am really impressed with. It features leading entertainers, eminent writers, politicians, academics, journalists and Olympic gold-medal heroes – all of whom are proud to be Yorkshire ‘born and bred’. Not only are they also running activities for children and adults alike, but it also gives you the opportunity to eat in their excellent café.
Experience Barnsley, our very own museum based in the town hall, is running activities every day, from ‘Pirate Fun!’ and ‘Rally Racing Cars’ to ‘Claytime Playtime’ and ‘Superfun Sundays’. And there’s a new café which is open whenever the museum is.
The Metrodome Leisure Complex in Barnsley is home to the Calypso Cove Waterpark, ten pin bowling and many other sports. And, if you’re able to travel out of town, then Cannon Hall is always worth a visit. They’re currently hosting an exhibition of costumes from ITV’s popular Downton Abbey series. And you could also pop into the farm where there are loads of activities for children – from the pipe maze, ferret and sheep racing to one of the best playgrounds for miles around.
I particularly enjoy taking my family to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, not least because the children can run around freely in its beautiful, extensive grounds. I’m pleased to see that the famous poppy sculptures, which originally appeared at the Tower of London, are going to be on display there in September.
Of course there’s also the Elsecar Heritage Centre, RSPC Old Moor nature reserve, Wigfield Farm and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, as well as the National Coal Mining Museum.
Or, if you just fancy staying at home, let’s not forget our great outdoors – parks and bike rides are still firm favourites of mine, especially with a picnic. We’re certainly not short of beautiful countryside to explore.
Whatever you do, I wish you a happy summer holiday and hope that you and your family make the most of our great town and get the opportunity to create some happy memories here together.
This article was first published in the Barnsley Chronicle on Friday 7th August 2015.