Earlier this year, I took a trip to Australia, the place that had been my home for six years. And once again I faced the question – had I made the right decision to swap Sydney for Donny?
Landing back in the UK three weeks later I was 100% certain I’d the right decision. Don’t get me wrong Sydney is amazing. I miss the food, outdoor lifestyle, beaches, water, shops, café culture and weather (I’ll stop now, as this is getting depressing). But living in a big city today isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not when you consider the traffic, pollution, terror threats, dirt, stress, ridiculous expense of pretty much everything, lack of trees, and how impersonal and lonely it can be.
It’s an exciting time to live in Doncaster
Heading back to Sydney provided time to reflect on how much Doncaster has and is changing. Day in day out, we might not see it but now more than ever, it’s a great time to live in Doncaster.
The council have ambitious plans to make Doncaster great and they are pretty dam impressive. Life here is about to get a lot better. Not overnight granted, but things are certainly looking up on the home front.
First up. Doncaster is getting a serious face lift
The beloved Doncaster markets are having a £3 million restyle. This will revamp the Corn Exchange and Wool Market areas, to create a market along the lines of Camden Market, making it a vibrant food and drink destination all week long, not just on market days. This is super exciting because it will bring younger people and young families with cash to splash into the market area. Great for business, great for Doncaster and great entertainment for those who have previously avoided the town centre because there’s nothing to do.
Waterdale area, or should we say The Civic and Cultural Quarter is undergoing a whopping £300 million development which started in 2010 with The Cast Theatre and Sir Nigel Gresley Square. The next phases include a new cinema and restaurant complex, a new library, new flats and commercial offices to bring in more jobs. Plus the train station area is getting an overhaul with double-storey parking and gardens out-front providing visitors with a greener, cleaner welcome to Doncaster.
Flannels is coming
For those of us who like to shop , rumour has it that premium department store Flannels will be opening near Mansion Square soon selling the likes of Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, and Armani. No longer will we need to venture to Meadow-hell for high end fashion. Yippee.
The Hilton Hotel
It’s the jewel in our crown. OK. It’s the sovereign on our chain. Anyways, our horsey track is getting a major polish with construction of a 150-bedroom Hilton hotel, plus a posh new 600 seat restaurant, a viewing terrace and improvements to racing facilities. Let’s also not forget that Hiltons usually have a nice bar and a cracking cocktail list. This is very exciting.
Doncaster sport is on the up again!
Darren Ferguson has certainly made his mark, Rovers have had a cracking season by securing a promotion to Sky Bet League One as well as celebrating ten years at The Keepmoat. Unlike having a team in the Premiership (which admittedly would be nice) you can always get a ticket to a Rovers match.
If however like me, you like an alcoholic beverage in hand whilst watching sport or perving on men playing sport, Doncaster Knights is the place to go. They’ve made the play offs again (whatever that means). I’ll repeat you can drink at the rugby. Meaning you can earn serious girlfriend/ other half points whilst perving on men in small outfits chasing balls. Go Donny knights I say.
The food is getting better.
Whilst we’re no way near city standards, great restaurants at great prices are making a name for themselves in Doncaster. My new favourite is Thai at the Sal. I’ve not heard a bad review yet. Cracking food and stunning venue (it’s quite a shock if you know the Salutation). Other favourites are the newish Rioja for tapas at Woodfield Plantation, The Rum Rooms (and the newly opened Gin Rooms) both amazing, The Crab & Moo, Coleman’s in Bawtry and you can’t beat The Deli Badger at Branton for brekkie and coffee.
The festival scene is starting to grow.
Doncaster Pride Festival has been going strong for years. As Samantha in Sex and the City famous said “First the gays, then the girls, then the Industry.” Doncaster seems no different to NYC in this respect.
Following on Pride’s success DMBC have started to pull together a promising calendar of festival events. Delicious Doncaster is in it’s second year. This Food & Drink Festival will take place in Doncaster town centre from Friday 12 May to Sunday 14 May. Featuring entertainment and over 50 street food and artisan products providers. Sunday will be the best day of the festival with Michelin star TV chef Jean-Christophe Novelli making an appearance. Not to mention the team at Doncoplitan are helping organise the day branded – Slowdown Sunday which will have a local, DIY, grassroots, up-cycled feel showcasing Donny artists, performers as well as local foodies.
Do your bit to clean up Donny.
Donny is our town and we need to collectively help to look after it. Last month some of the pavements of Doncaster got a much needed industrial jet wash using new technology to get rid of stuck on chewing gum. So please guys if you’re chewing gum put it in the bin to keep it clean. And whilst there is still a huge problem with begging and anti social behaviour, there is a task force in place to tackle this. Their message is clear. Do not give beggars on the street cash. It’s mainly organised – these beggars pay rent for spot from criminals who ‘own the street’ and it’s largely drug fuelled. There are places in town where those in need can go to get food and be helped into housing. The money we give to beggars on the street makes their situation worse, not better. The best place to give money if you really want to help is by donating to the Riverside Foundation or the Doncaster Food Bank. Thanking you. DBx.