5 of The Best - 2018 Events

It's been a busy year in Doncaster and 2019 promises to be even bigger and better.

We're taking this week as an opportunity to look back on five of our favourite events from 2018 in this week's 5 of The Best. We hope we've entertained, inspired and kept you well fed and watered throughout the year, look back with us now and remember how great it's been.

1. Tour de Yorkshire Day One

When: 3rd May 2018

Where: Town Fields Fanzone and South Parade finish line

Attendance: 50,000 visitors across the route including 10,000 in and around the Fanzone

Youtube video: click here

2018 saw Doncaster host the first stage of the men’s race and the ASDA women’s Tour de Yorkshire on the 3rd May. The second stage of the races passed through the borough the following day. 

To be chosen as an event host for a second year was wonderful news, to be allocated two days of one of the biggest and most prestigious cycling races in the world was a major coup for the borough.

Doncaster’s communities were invited to get ready for the big event and showcase their creative skills again by coming up with eye-catching land art or organising community parties. They certainly did the borough proud! 

Our Fanzone on Town Fields was a huge success and saw live entertainment, games and rides, stalls, food and drinkand much more. It was great to see so many visitors and cycling fans turn out to line the route and catch the thrilling finish line action on Bennethorpe.

Since its first visit to Doncaster in 2016, the Tour de Yorkshire has passed through 33 of our communities, giving 47.6% of the borough’s population opportunity to watch the race. That’s nearly 193,000 residents. We can't wait to welcome it back in 2019 as Doncaster will host Stage One of the Men’s race on Thursday 2nd May 2019. The start of the race will begin in what will be our newly refurbished market square which will showcase our historic market to the world.

The cyclists will then ride out past the Mansion House, Hallgate, Christ Church and then over St George’s Bridge on to the A19. The race will leave Doncaster at Norton and then travel through much of East Yorkshire and finish in Selby, followed by three more days racing across Yorkshire.

See you there!

2. Delicious Doncaster

When:  4th-7th May 2018

Where: Doncaster Markets

Attendance: 75,000 additional visitors to Doncaster Market

Youtube video: click here

The three days following the first day of Tour de Yorkshire were delicious! Doncaster Markets played home to Delicious Doncaster, the second year for our Town Centre food festival.

Even more mouth-watering food and drink descended on Doncaster from all over the country with international cuisine, demonstrations, competitions and limitless opportunities to eat, drink and try something new. Regular Doncaster Market stall-holders saw an additional 75,000 visitors on top of the usual market day footfall - just amazing.

Our special guests over the weekend were Si and Dave - better known as TV's The Hairy Bikers, as well as top international chef and TV star Jean-Christophe Novelli. Both drew in crowds to our packed demonstration marquee in the Market Square and along with some help from Doncaster College catering students, they rustled up some incredible dishes and had some laughs along the way. We were also treated to live cooking shows from local chefs and business-owners including Colin Robson-Wright and Michael Price.

Our Bake Off competition was a huge success and certainly gave our (very lucky) judges some food for thought as they deliberated over a winner - that Mirror-Glazed Berry Cheesecake was incredible.

Look out for more tasty treats in 2019 and fingers crossed the weather is just as amazing!

3. Armed Forces Day 2018

When: 30th June 2018

Where: Doncaster Market Square

Attendance: 6000

Youtube Video: click here


Doncaster came together to honour service people past and present on Armed Forces Day 2018. The town centre hosted a whole day of celebrations kicking off with the parade beginning at Sir Nigel Gresley Square, passing the Mansion House with a salute before assembling in the Market Square. All the 470 participants, Cadets and Veterans turned out in their best, demonstrating how important the work of our Armed Forces is.

Crowds were then treated to a 1940s Street Party and a stage full of vintage-themed live entertainment from The Polka Dots, Nicola Marie and the Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra.

There was a fanstastic atmosphere and the glorious weather certainly helped. Thousands of you turned out, waved your flags and showed your appreciation of the great work done by Armed Forces. The Market Square was busy all day with visitors enjoying a cuppa and some tasty treats and even indulging in a little dancing.

Phew! What a day; at ease Doncaster. 

4. Doncaster Pride

When: 18th August 2018

Where: Sir Nigel Gresley Square

Attendance: 16,000 

Youtube Video: click here

Doncaster Pride returned for its 12th year with an incredible musical line up, guest presenters, a Unity Parade through the Town Centre and family fun for all involved.

Fabulous BBC weatherman Owain Wyn Evans managed to get the sun to shine all day as he held the fort onstage with a cast of colourful characters, singing, dancing and even a marriage proposal! After dark local megastars Bang Bang Romeo headlined the evening with all their anthemic tunes that brought the beautiful day to a fitting close. We were all feeling the love.

Make sure you're there in 2019 for even more following Doncaster Pride successfully winning the accolade of being 2019 UK Prides National Conference host venue. Expect big things, we're going to show them how it's done Donny Style! 

5. Countdown to Christmas

When: 17th November 2018

Where: Sir Nigel Gresley Square and Doncaster Market Square

Attendance: 7,000 

Youtube Video: click here

It began to look a lot like Christmas in Doncaster on 17th November as we began the town's Countdown to Christmas.

Kicking off bright and early, 500 excited and eager children visited Father Christmas and his elves in his festive grotto in Doncaster Market Square. There was also free facepainting and snowball fights aplenty in our giant snowglobe where whatever the weather, you were guaranteed a white Christmas.

The Village at Waterdale held a Festive Family Fun Day with lots more free activities that kept everybody entertained until dusk fell and the 7000-strong party began in Sir Nigel Gresley Square. On stage we were treated to singalong Disney performances and mini scenes from the local pantomime productions as well as lots of fun and games.

As well the live entertainment there was plenty of festive food and drink, fairground rides and games including the breath-taking Star Flyer ride back for its second year, did you dare you ride the flyer? The day drew to a close with the offiical turning on of Doncaster's Christmas lights, including the new tree in the Square, the grand finale came just after with a breathtaking fireworks display in the skies above the town centre.

The perfect day to begin this magical time of year in Doncaster and we're so grateful so many of agreed and gave us some lovely feedback. Thank you! 


So that's it! Just a taster of all the incredible goings-on in the town this year. 5 of The Best returns in the new year with lots more ideas for your weekends in Doncaster. 2019 will be another bumper year for us all, so make sure you're on board with all the fun. 

Whatever you get up to in 2019, don't forget to let us know and if you decide to take the plunge with any of our suggestions throughout the year; let us know what you thought, and of course - as ever, whatever you're up to, have a great time and don't forget to keep us up to date with how you're spending your time in Doncaster, by uploading your pics and using @VisitDoncaster, #youradventureawaits and #doncasterisgreat.

We're also onboard with a new digital initiative to put Doncaster Town Centre and all the fabulous venues and events on the map, so whenever you're checking in and tagging mates doing great stuff in DN1 - join in with our new #YourDN1 hashtag! 

If you represent a venue or are organising an event that you'd like us to include in future articles, please contact the TIC by telephone on 01302 734309, on email tourist.information@doncaster.gov.uk or via our social email accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram serach: @VisitDoncaster)