Hometown glory: my guide to Worksop

This entry marks a small but significant milestone for Continental Breakfast Travel: my 100th post! So first-off, I would like to thank anyone who has supported, contributed to, tweeted, shared or simply read any of the first 99 posts – it means a lot.

To celebrate the significance of this momentous occasion, I wanted to do something a little different, so I thought I would finally get around to talking about something I haven’t got round to before: my home town.

Since I left Worksop at the age of 18, I’ve lived in a fair few places (Manchester, Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, Manchester again, Düsseldorf…) but much like Jenny from the block, no matter where I go, I know where I came from. So here it is: my guide to Worksop.

Where is Worksop?

First things first: Worksop is located in North Nottinghamshire, but Sheffield is by far the closest city and the town is only five miles from the Yorkshire border.

Have I heard of Worksop?

No.

Or at least not for particularly good reasons. Worksop has a fairly questionable list of ‘claims to fame’, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • The Sun named Worksop the UK’s obesity capital as the region (Bassetlaw) has the highest number of obesity-related hospital admissions per 1,000 people in the country
  • Worksop is home to Wilko’s national depot
  • The country’s supply of oxo cubes are produced in Worksop
  • Lee Westward (the pro golfer) is from Worksop and he lived there until very recently
  • Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden was born there
  • Worksop was once mentioned on QI for the headline “Worksop man dies of natural causes” printed in the Sheffield Star

Is Worksop worth visiting?

Actually – yeah, it is.

While the town centre isn’t too exciting (apart from the huge Matalan and the new cinema), there are some quite big draws not far from town.

The Dukeries

Thoresby Hall
Thoresby Hall (courtesy of pilk_f)

Worksop is often called ‘Gateway to the Dukeries’ – a title referring to the four ducal residences that used to exist south of the town: Thoresby Hall, Clumber House, Welbeck Abbey and Worksop Manor.

Today, Welbeck Abbey is owned by the ministry of defence and used as an army base and Worksop Manor is used as a stud farm.

Thoresby Hall is now luxury hotel but its grounds remain open to the public and it has a few craft shops and a great plant centre (The Roundhouse).

Though Clumber House was knocked down, Clumber Park is now owned by the National Trust. Clumber is the only place to be when the sun shines for more than five minutes. It’s also quite popular with doggers.

Creswell Crags

Creswell Crags
Entrance to one of the caves, Creswell Crags

This school field-trip staple is actually the site of the oldest discovered cave drawings in Northern Europe. The network of limestone caves was inhabited during the ice age and engravings, cave art and tools have been discovered over the years, some dating back 13,000 years ago.

The area is hoping to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, you can take a tour of the caves.

Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest is actually located far closer to Worksop than Nottingham. The ‘forest’ is quite small and fairly underwhelming, but the Major Oak is still standing (thanks to a LOT of supporting girders).

Rufford Park and Sherwood Pines are both within driving distance and worth a visit, too.

The grounds of Thoresby Hall, near Worksop
The grounds of Thoresby Hall, near Worksop (courtesy of pilk_f)

So how does one get to this magical place?

I’m glad you asked. For a fairly shit small town, Worksop is actually pretty well connected: the train station has links to Sheffield, Lincoln and Nottingham (and Cleethorpes on a Saturday) and Robin Hood Doncaster/Sheffield airport is only a stone’s throw away, with year-round flights to Poland, Romania and Lithuania (courtesy of WizzAir) and Belfast (Links Air).

How do I really feel about Worksop?

Like plenty of other people, I have a bit of a complicated relationship with my home town.

Jokes and whimsical blog posts aside, I do have a genuine fondness for my home town: I grew up there, I made friends for life there and like it or not, it made me who I am today. Nevertheless, it was a particularly grim place to grow up as an awkward gay teenager and a lot of people were not very nice for quite a number of years.

That said, I still have a lot of friends in Worksop and do now really enjoy going back to visit – and not just for a pilgrimage to Matalan.

Creswell Crags again
Creswell Crags again

Got a taste for Worksop and want more?

Then check out Country Corners – a brilliant blog by a cracking local photographer (and long-suffering father of Sensible Sister and Silly Sister) covering the local area and beyond.

Some images provided by my sister, who you can follow on instagram. Recommended for those who love photos of Starbucks coffee cups and cats sitting on things.