The Doncaster Diaries: Where To Eat & Stay

We all love to indulge every now and again in some good food. I've been exploring Doncaster this month and next on the list is where to eat and stay. Doncaster makes for a perfect weekend getaway with the girls or with your mum and tasting some of the best cuisine that the city has to offer is a must! Let's take a peek at where is good to eat and drink and where to stay whilst you're in town!



Food

You'd be surprised just how many different types of cuisine Doncaster has to offer. Of course the good old fashioned English pubs and cuisine is prevalent, but there are a lot of another countries tastes to try. Take a trip to Mexico with Cactus Jacks [18 Hall Gate, Doncaster 4****], for a cosy evening with drinks and good Mexican food, a taste of the south right on the hughstreet! Take a trip to Italy to La Rustica Restaurant [5 Nether Hall Road, Doncaster 4****] or Zammuto Steak House & Grill [11 Nether Hall Road, Doncaster 4****] for pizzas, good wine! Next is a traditional restaurant serving authentic Turkish food, Lalezar [78-80 Laith Street, Doncaster 4****] with their signature meze dishes! For some Spanish food, you can drink Sangria to your heart's content at El Torero [Fraser House, Nether Hall Road 4****], this place is a brilliant spot for a few evening drinks, with plush interiors and stylish lighting, this spot is brilliant for Friday evenings.

Cafe Bar Concerto 
For a more traditional taste of true Yorkshire, then it just has to be fish and chips at Whitby's Fish & Chip Restaurant [The Old Fire Station, Leicester Avenue 4****] for some British cuisine, copious amounts of tartar sauce and crispy battered fish, the way the Yorkshire folk love it! There is also Miller & Carter Steakhouse [329 Bawtry Road 4****] a renowned steakhouse that is well priced incredible food, brilliant for families. For a little taste of elegance, then the Cafe Bar Concerto Restaurant [Bennetthorpe, Doncaster 5*****] is a beautiful classy eatery, for fine dining, chandeliers, classic mahogany furniture and a perfect spot for a glass of merlot. If you're feeling fancy, then its a definite must that you go check out the afternoon tea at Mansion House Doncaster [45 High Street 4****] for that ultra regal feel in the city; the Mansion House boasts beautiful interiors that you won't want to miss!

Mansion House (Country Life)
Bars/Clubs 

Doncaster certainly has some nightlife to offer. Head down to Doncaster with the girls on a Saturday and make the most of great bars at competitive prices, the town centre is easily accessible from the train station making it a great place for an evening. The Doncaster Warehouse [27 North Bridge Road] is probably more for the younger crowd, or students who love to dance the night away or take a look at Secrets Nightclub [19-23 Lazarus Court], a snazzy club with live music, cocktails and outdoor seating is available for those long warm summer nights! For bars and a more relaxed atmosphere for a glass of vino, Relish Bar & Grill [19 E Laith Gate 4****] and The Salutation [14 S Parade, 4****]. Make the most of what the city centre has to offer and make some memories!

Making memories... 















Where To Stay 

If you're looking for a lovely hotel in the city, then you don't have to look far. Just recently, the Hilton Garden Inn just opened a brand new hotel next to the Racecourse, with a bar, and ultra modern rooms with modern facilities, right in the heart of the city and in the surrounding area. Needless to say, Doncaster has both the city at its core and sprawling countryside full of beautiful walk ways and parkland. Whether you want a central spot, or a more rural retreat, we will take a look at what Doncaster has to offer. Also in the city centre is the Earl of Doncaster, a regal and enchanting hotel with elegant bedrooms and plenty of style.

Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster 
It is also important to point out that Doncaster is even easily accessible by air! Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a fast growing airport with flights across Europe, it is easier than ever to take advantage of Doncaster's beauty! Welcome Pickups are a great choice for airport transfers!

*This post was written in collaboration with Visit Doncaster 

Dakota Deluxe - Lunch Date

I am a huge fan of the Dakota Deluxe in Leeds. I was lucky to stay the night last year and was blown away by the style, hospitality and charm of this place. It’s quiet, cosy, dark and stylish, and I had to take advantage of checking out their new Market Menu for lunch. Brilliant for people wanting to dine in their lunch hour, you can have a three course meal in one hour with colleagues or friends, and sample some delightful culinary treats!



The menu was delightful; varied and well priced. Three courses for £20 is incredibly well priced for a city centre restaurant and this is a relaxing chilled zone that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I brought my mum along for a little post birthday lunch, and we both were very impressed. We were served by the lovely Sofia who was attentive and welcoming. We received some bread with a tomato and goats cheese sauce which was such a different twist for a bread dish and really heated plain butter. I opted for the chicken samosa, lightly fried, with mint yogurt sauce. Delicious and not too filling for main. I chose a gnocchi main because I haven’t had it in so long and felt that I had to try it out here and it didn't disappoint. It was a lovely texture, complete with a delicate pesto sauce which was not too rich and sun blushed tomatoes for an extra zing. Very filling also! The dessert was a complete delight, it was a take on an eton mess but with mango! It was perfect for spring and although I am not alwyas a fan of meringue, this was so good, the cardamom cream made it really sweet and creamy and not sickly at all.











They offer a range of side orders too as you can see below from their menu and wines and coffees, which makes it fantastic choice for lunchtime diners. Dakota Deluxe pride themselves on brilliant customer service and also above the restaurant is a bar which is perfect for a drink afterwards. The menu was incredibly well thought through and each dish was incredibly fresh, tasty and attention to detail with the presentation which makes such a difference!

*This experience was gifted by Dakota Deluxe but all opinions are my own.

The Doncaster Diaries: The Heart Of The City

Doncaster is a vibrant city with a lot to offer. It had never been a place I'd thought to visit before, but my first trip there last year to the new Hilton Garden Inn was definitely my first taste of seeing how far this city has come and the huge developments constantly evolving to make this city even more appealing. The city has a very Victorian feel, many of the buildings are of this era, which makes it intriguing when you just take the time to look up and see the architecture. The other great thing about Doncaster is that not only is it a city, full of shops, restaurants and nightlife, but in less than ten minutes, you're surrounded by the Yorkshire countryside, which for me is a huge appeal. It's lovely to have the best of both worlds, it makes the city feel incredibly spacious. I'd love to talk to you in this Blog about the city centre, to discover the hidden gems in the heart of the city, from the moment you step off the train! From shopping, to food and places of interest, and the most Instagrammable spots you probably never knew existed... it's time to discover Doncaster!


Shops

Doncaster has a huge shopping centre Frenchgate, the main attraction for shoppers, but there are plenty of high street names you'll find, and better still, they have incredible value markets, it's one of the things Doncaster is famous for, amazing finds at great prices, and of course, lots of independent shops. Parts of Doncaster have a high street feel, almost like a village or small town, so there's a mix for those who prefer to be in the shopping centres and those who like the more quiet high street shops. Some of the shops you can find at Frenchgate and surrounding areas are: Topshop, Miss Selfridge, (scroll down to see some of the outfits I picked up on my latest shopping trip!), Primark, Amon, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Lovisa, New Look, Next, Pandora, River Island, Quiz and plenty more. Of course there is the new Wool Market to check out for some exciting fashion finds, and the best part about it is that everything is within walking distance. Not only that, but along the way, you'll find plenty of stalls that sell so many things, flowers seem to be a really big thing in Doncaster, for every occasion at really good prices, so it is no surprise that they take their Doncaster In Bloom competition very seriously. This year there's a new category too, "Community Champions", so I'd highly recommend keeping your eye open for this through summer!




Also, a stone throw away and just a little out of the city centre is the lovely Lakeside Shopping Centre. In a picturesque little part of Doncaster, this outlet has some incredible deals! Last time I visited I picked up a Lipsy dress in Next from £68 to £19; read more about my trip to Lakeside here. I picked up a lovely little purchase from Roman which you can find at Lakeside!

Roman Clothing - Lakeside Village Doncaster 
Jacket from Roman - Doncaster Lakeside

Places To See For All 

One of Doncaster's most famous spots is of course the famous Doncaster Racecourse. Just last year they opened up a beautiful new hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, which is a great place to stay with stunning views of the course, a trendy, modern bar with beautiful rose gold interiors (blogger's dream) and brand new modern rooms! The Racecourse, on Leger Way, has a history of over four hundred years, and also boasts an impressive exhibition centre, and plenty of featured events. Some upcoming events include Gin and Prosecco Race on April 26, and in May, Jess Glynne live on May 18th after the race!

The Doncaster Rovers are the city's sporting heroes. They are based at the famous Keepmoat Stadium and you can buy tickets through their website if you're wanting to catch a game whilst you're in the city!

Brodsworth Hall & Gardens is a beautiful hall is a Grade I listed building and really epitomises Yorkshire beauty. Shaping the beautiful landscaped parks, this beautiful hall is a Georgian country house with stunning gardens full of delightful colourful flowers, well worth a visit for those who enjoy history! It also boasts a lovely tearoom!



Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is one for the outdoor lovers! Perfect for dog walkers, explorers, picnics and plenty of nature to feast your eyes on. With animals for children to enjoy and lots of walks and ponds, this is a lovely summer spot and with the light nights upon us, it's brilliant to take advantage of them. You can also grab a coffee at the cafe on site. A really great one for walkers and outdoors people who love tackling winding trails and woodland!

Other museum and interesting places include, Ashworth Barracks, The Vulcan Experience, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Yorkshire Wildlife Park and South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum.

Instagrammable Spots

Not only are these areas full of beautiful architecture, but they also hold a history that is incredibly meaningful for the city. England is famous for its grim grey buildings, but add a take a stroll through Doncaster and you're definitely going to find accents of gold, blue dome tops, stained glass windows and much more! There are some incredibly majestic buildings in the city, with intricate design and colour, it really highlights some of the best of British and we're about to find out where they all are!

Doncaster Mansion House - a historical landmark situated on High Street, this building is open every day and offers afternoon teas! Such a regal feel and the beauty of this building is plain to see.

Doncaster Mansion House
Doncaster Minster - yes, just like York, Doncaster also has a Minster and its stained glass windows are absolutely breathtaking. Full of colour and intricate art, the Minster is definitely worth a visit for photos!



Baxter Gate/High Street - in the centre of town, you'll see what is now the HSBC bank, but when you take a close look at the architecture, it's truly dazzling. There are often flower stalls and sellers outside which make this spot incredibly Instagrammable! The whole street is full of unique buildings!

Powerhouse Christ Church - this is a very imposing but beautiful looking church right in the centre of town. A brilliant place for aspiring photographers to practice their skills, especially when the ominous skies shroud the spires!

The Wool Market - you can read Part One of the Doncaster Diaries here, where I talk all about the new wool market. There are lots of spots inside and outside to grab your photos for the gram. With lovely eatery stalls with pretty design, this is a must see if you're going to the city.

The Corn Exchange - this building is just opposite the new wool market and it's a very intriguing spot. The square is vibrant and the building itself looks incredible royal - it is known as the jewel in the crown for Doncaster's market scene!

Look out for the next part of the Doncaster Diaries when we are exploring where to eat and where to stay!

*This is a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster 



Ways To Spruce Up Your Spare Room

If you are lucky enough to have additional space in your house such as a spare room (or even two) then it can often be difficult deciding what to do with it. More often than not, the spare room doesn’t have any particular use, and it is in fact, just that. Spare. Filled with odd bits and bobs that have no proper home, ceiling high ironing piles that you like to close the door and forget about and that hoover that broke three years ago. So if you’re guilty of treating the spare room more like a tip than a living space, then here are some ideas that might inspire you to transform that space into something a little more useful.

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

A Gym 
Ok, I’m not talking a state of the art studio filled with all singing, all dancing equipment, but the popularity of home workouts are on the rise and are also extremely accessible from all kinds of fitness Youtube channels. Why not empty the space out, add a few yoga mats, dumbbells or kettlebells, a skipping rope and maybe an exercise bike and you have your very own makeshift studio. Shut the door, turn up the speakers and get that heart rate going. This doesn’t have to cost a lot and will probably save you more money than a gym membership in the long run!

An Office
Ok, this isn’t a very creative concept because a lot of people have home offices in the spare room, but if you do work from home or need a space where you can concentrate, it is vital that you create a productive workspace. An old desk chair and computer isn’t exactly motivational. Ensure your office space is painted in light colours, has a lot of natural light but also the right lighting when working after dark. A comfy desk chair with the correct back support is essential and I found a lovely one over at LionsHome. Desk organisers are also great for ensuring that your workload doesn’t get on top of you – working in a clutter-free space is far more effective.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay
A Pet Room
This might sound a little ridiculous at first, but if you have your pet’s beds in the kitchen and find yourself falling over them/not wanting to go downstairs for fear of waking them up to wreak havoc, then why not transform your spare room into a calm, safe place for your pets to sleep? There is plenty of advice available online about how to successfully create a relaxing and playful space for your animals and it will probably do them good to have a space they can associate as their own - not to mention you being able to enjoy a hair-free carpet!


Walk-in Wardrobe 

Unleash your inner Kim K and turn that spare bedroom into a closet. Although walk-in wardrobes are usually associated with A-listers, it doesn’t have to be expensive to overhaul an otherwise empty space into somewhere you can store, clothes, coats and jackets, shoes and accessories. LionsHome{link to specific page} have some excellent shoe racks and clothes rails that can be strategically placed around the room to make storing your clothing a decorative venture. Walking into a room with your clothes and accessories all on display might make finding something to wear that little bit easier!

*This is a collaborative post

The Doncaster Diaries: Doncaster Art Fair & Art In The City

The one event that really symbolised Doncaster's diversity and art scene, was the very successful Doncaster Art Fair. Run by local talent, Chinwe Russell, the event aims to showcase the work of Yorkshire artists and designers, at specific locations across the city. It's a celebration of the creativity and Yorkshire hospitality, it's incredible for the public to be able to meet and greet the artists and buy directly if they should wish. This is the third edition of the fair and all times have proven to be incredibly popular. March 31st saw many people flock to the locations across the city to see what this fair had to offer. You can find many photos of the 50+ exhibiting artists below.  The locations were: The Rum Rooms, The Magdalen, Marketplace Alehouse.

The Art

The art is a real eclectic mix of classic and contemporary with plenty of colours and styles for every taste. It is an encouraging event for artists and locals to see the type of art that the city is producing and exposing them to new exciting pieces! A lot are inspired by oil or water colour paintings but there were also a delightful mix of monochrome prints, lots of nature inspired pieces with dazzling colours and a lot being the epitome of Yorkshire beauty!

Photos: Chinwe Russel @DoncasterArtFair





With a relaxing atmosphere and a leisurely stroll around the exhibitions, you can see many of the artists work on display. A welcoming fair, with plenty to do and refreshments also. Here are some of the featured artists:










Finding Art In Doncaster 

Doncaster has much art to offer, the famous Doncaster Art Gallery and Museum offers many exciting exhibitions, currently After The Coal Dust until April 21, which is a free exhibition which looks at an intriguing collection of black and white photographs of post-industrial towns in the region, by a local couple, John and Bridget Gill and their daughter Freya, capturing life and communities including the hardships and history of the coal mining industry. It highlights what has been left behind following the closure of the mine, showing raw and real images. Then following on from this, towards June, the museum will host Terence Bennett's work, and his passion for landscape art including spanning over sixty years of ever changing industrial landscape in the region.

Doncaster Community Arts is another incredible asset to the city, which features an award winning team of artists, musicians and performers who deliver creative programmes to local people, young and old, which is based at The Point in Doncaster. A place to create and share art, this inspiring place is helping improve the lives of residents. Art is booming in Doncaster and it's just another reason to visit the city and experience it for yourself!

Doncaster is ready and waiting!


*This was a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster 



The Doncaster Diaries: New Wool Market

Doncaster, for me, always represented the heart of South Yorkshire. With its industrial history, huge stone factories and buildings and plenty of Yorkshire hospitality, Doncaster was always going to be a city that represented a lot of fierce passion! It is of course, renowned for its famous St Leger Stakes, the oldest horse race in the world, and Doncaster Racecourse itself is a magnificent spectacle for people visiting the city. However, its time we talked a little bit about what Doncaster really has to offer. This is the first in my mini series "The Doncaster Diaries", where I'm going to explore all of what Doncaster has to offer in terms of tourism and the first stop is the newly refurbished Wool Market, which was both bustling and enticing! It's recently had a 7 million pound makeover and has really been kitted out with the most incredible food stalls, and shops, which make it a definite stop if you're ever in the city. See below the little quirky cute touch inside - family friendly and still incredibly stylish!

Family friendly
Location

The location of the Wool Market is central, on the edges of the main city centre, close to the railway station and car parking is also available! It's opposite the corn exchange and market stalls, which are full of clothing, bric-a-brac and lots of affordable finds which make it a brilliant weekend trip. Not only is it brilliant for a midday stop, but it is also open until 9pm most days which makes it perfect for the impending summer evenings sitting with a beer and socialising.

Google Maps
Shops & Food

The whole place has a bright airy feel, despite the busy atmosphere, it did not feel in any way claustrophobic and each stall is well placed and plenty of seating areas for the array of delicious treats, sweet and savoury, on offer. The shops inside the Wool Market are incredibly eclectic. Accessories, children's toys, homeware, a shoe shop for men and even a nail salon which add to its appeal and highlight local trade and the importance that its had on Doncaster for many years. The last thing I expected to find inside was rhinestone studded heels, yet there were lots of stylish pieces to feast your eyes on, including handbags and jewellery.

The food is probably going to be the part that everyone wants to hear about. From pizza stands to the popular novel concept of rolled ice-cream, the Wool Market offers a little something for everyone, no matter their tastebuds. There's a taste of each continent to be found, and stalls of beautifully decorated stalls, an incredibly Instagrammable floral cafe, with coloured tables, fluffy cushions and prettily decorated cupcakes! There's also a traditional pub, the Don Valley Tap, with a full antique styled bar, old school beer and plush brass interiors which is a true touch of Yorkshire. Some other names include, The Rustic Pizza Company, Scrapes Rolled Ice Cream, Taste of Peru and many more. They also have a vegan and vegetarian stall which I was so impressed with, it's lovely to have food that is inclusive of every lifestyle! I was also thoroughly entertained with both singing acts and people dancing to salsa which really gave the place a festival feel, as if you'd stepped into a Spanish holiday destination! Very welcoming, buzzing and so much food to consume! It was also a hit for all the families and kids too.

"Local, fresh and healthy!" a very proud statement and true to its word!

True to its word! Great traditional food




Colours galore!
For anyone who lives in Doncaster, you're already probably well aware of the market opening and probably already popped down to see what it's all about! It's a lovely place for friends to go, or for a cool beer after work - it's time to start taking advantage of the lighter evenings! There has already been so much media interest in the Wool Market which is such a positive for Doncaster and well deserved. A lot of time and dedication has gone into relaunching this place and it's definitely not a let down! If you want to keep on top of everything that is going on at the market, including fun events for everyone, then take a little peek at their Instagram page @woolmarketdoncaster or @visitdoncaster for everything you need to know about the new and very exciting Wool Market! See what Ros Jones (Mayor of Doncaster) is saying about the new opening!

Keep your eyes open for some more incredible and exciting things to do in Doncaster, because Doncaster is now and it's ready and waiting for you!

*This is a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster









Falling In Love With Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the newest capital city in Europe. Formally part of Czechoslovakia, it has close ties with Czech Republic and you can see the influence of this in Bratislava but this city is definitely a quiet, off the map kind of town that's quiet, pretty and full of history. I had previously visited Vienna in the days before and there is only a forty mile difference between the two cities, so it made perfect sense to visit this gothic town. Despite feeling a little under the weather with lack of sleep, I had my trusty vitamins from Voost which I've been using to keep me a little perked up with energy and feeling ready to take on the day (my favourites are the multivitamins!) We arrived in the city at around 3pm and it already felt a calm and relaxing little city.

Bratislava has a very eastern european feel, which was incredibly exciting to me. It meant a little more culture to soak up, less of a cosmopolitan feel, which Vienna most certainly had, and it had so much history, but above all, it is the perfect place for a mini-break because it is a compact, clean and well oiled city, easy to get around and most things you can walk to. I was so impressed with the amount of bars and cafes in the old town, which is a maze of gothic colourful buildings, museums, and much more. If you're working away from home, there are amazing cafes with WiFi which are specifically for people who are working on laptops. Other cafes are perfect Instagrammable such as this Pink Garden Cafe in the old town. What a place! We also were kindly given Bratislava Cards which gave you free access to many museums and public transport and also percentages off your bill in certain restaurants which I thought was incredible! Always incredible for transfers is Welcome Pickups who I always use for holiday airport transfers, they are affordable and brilliant service.

The Pink Garden Cafe
To Stay & Eat 

There are plenty of hotels in Bratislava, from big chain hotels to smaller chains and of course apartment and rental options. For all my villa rentals worldwide, I love Clickstay villas. I stayed in the Radisson Carlton Blu hotel for a little treat but there are plenty of affordable places to stay. I had been wondering where to eat in Bratislava for some time, because I felt incredibly spoiled for choice. There must be so many cuisines in the city that I truly didn't know what to opt for. There is a huge Asian food community, with plenty of sushi restaurants which was a huge surprise but a welcome also! The places I ate at were:

D. Steakhouse - this is in the main square Hviezdoslavovo which was a very plush and expensive restaurant with the most incredible fresh fish and meat. It was a solid 4 stars and with a lovely view of the square!

Five Points - this is a little coffee shop that serves well priced food and plenty of good WiFi! This was really a lovely little spot in the old town and highly recommend!

Korzo Cafe & Restaurant - this was our first stop on the first day and we had some delicious Slovak soup which was incredibly watery with spinach dumplings (interesting taste!) and beef strips. It was a really laid back and stylish cafe! [10% off your meal with Bratislava card]

The Skybar - this is a must see for anyone wanting a beautiful city view and a cocktail! It was such a delicious stop off for a mid afternoon drink and the view as you can see is incredible.



What To See

The Castle is a must see of course it's at the top of the hill and boasts incredible city views. It also has so much history, this castle was built in the 9th century, and you can either jump on a city bus from the main square upto the castle [€12 per ticket] or a chaper option would be to walk to it, and along the way stop off at the incredible St Martin's Catholic Cathedral which is open to the public but closes for mass.








Here are some other places you should stop off at whilst you're in the city:

  • Blue Church of St Elizabeth
  • Man At Work 
  • Most SNP (the new bridge with a viewing platform at the top of the bridge!)
  • Michael's Gate 
Another place to stop off at which is free to get to and go inside with your Bratislava card is Devin Castle. It's a small suburb of the city in a quaint Slovakian village with beautiful countryside and on the border of Austria, you're also very close to the Danube and can walk along it and see it well from the top of the castle. Take the number 29 bus from the city centre to Devin and get off at any of the stops around the village, either at the castle itself or on the main country road for a little river walk and some fresh country air! 






For airport transfers around Europe I always use Welcome Pickups! Overall Bratislava was brilliant for a short break and with plenty of culture. It's easy to get to Vienna from here also either by train or car or boat! To watch my 48 Hours in Bratislava vlog, click below to see what I got upto!


*Some of our experiences were complimentary in collaboration with Bratislava Tourism Board.