Rotherham is a town in South Yorkshire, 7 miles northeast of Sheffield. Its traditional industries were coal-mining, glass-blowing and steel-making: much of this gone, but Rotherham and Sheffield are still big steel producers. The town is also developing high-tech industry and is part of the Sheffield commuter belt. In 2011 the population was 109,691.
Rotherham Visitor Centre is at 26 High Street, within Makers Emporium Gift Shop opposite the Minster. It's open Tu-Sa 09:00-16:00.
"Rother" is Old English for "chief river", roduβr, but those Old English can't have travelled very far, since the River Rother is merely a tributary of the Don, which in turn joins the Trent / Ouse tidal system and then the broad Humber. It wasn't navigable but had water enough to power mills and supply industry, which drove Rotherham's 18th century growth from a small market town into a busy, grubby city. Iron and steel was the main industry, using local iron ore fired by coal from the rich Barnsley seam. The coal was suitable for making coke, used for the very high temperatures for quality steel and for glass-making. The Templeborough steelworks in its Edwardian heyday was over a mile long, employed 10,000 workers, and produced 1.8 million tonnes of steel a year. But many of the manufacturers succumbed to foreign competition: Templeborough closed in 1993 and is now the site of Magna Science Adventure Centre. There's still a strip of steelworks along A630 northeast edge of town.
Famous people from Rotherham include goalkeeper David Seaman (b 1963), football referee Howard Webb (b 1971), TV presenter James May (b 1963) and politician William Hague (b 1961). Those from elsewhere who got their career start in Rotherham include actor Sean Bean (b 1959) and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson (b 1960).
Rotherham lies north of the M1 and west of the M18, with several access junctions. See South Yorkshire#Get_in for flight options.
Trains run every 30 min from London St Pancras to Sheffield via Leicester and Derby, and from London Kings Cross to Doncaster. Change at either Sheffield or Doncaster for frequent local trains onward to Rotherham Central, for a total journey time from London of 2 hr 30 min. Coming from the north, you usually change at Leeds or Doncaster. However there's also a train three times a day from York via Pontefract to Rotherham and Sheffield.
Rotherham is also on the Sheffield Supertram network: the tram-train (black on the network map) runs from Cathedral in central Sheffield every 20 min via Meadowhall to reach Rotherham Central in 25 min. The terminus is Parkgate shopping centre, 4 min further up the line. See also Sheffield#By tram for fares and a network map.
1 Rotherham Central has a staffed ticket office and machines. There's a cafe and toilets but no waiting room; the station is within a short walk of all central amenities. There is step-free access by the lifts to both platforms. Plusbus is available here.
National Express NX560 runs twice a day from London Victoria to Rotherham (5 hours) and Barnsley. For most other destinations change in Sheffield or Leeds. Megabus doesn't serve Rotherham directly, but does stop at Meadowhall; from here, take a train or local bus.
First Bus X1 Steel Link runs every 10 min from Sheffield Eyre St via Meadowhall to Rotherham (35 min) and Maltby.
Bus X78 runs every 15 min between Doncaster, Rotherham (one hour), Meadowhall and Sheffield.
Bus 22x runs hourly from Barnsley, taking an hour to Rotherham.
The hourly bus X6 between Sheffield and Doncaster-Sheffield Airport stops at Wickersley at the south edge of town, it doesn't come into the bus station.
2 Rotherham Interchange is the town's main bus station, 250 m east of the railway station.
Most sights can be reached on foot. For Magna Centre take any bus towards Sheffield, except the X78 which uses a different route.
For Roche Abbey take the X1 to Maltby then walk south for a mile on A634. This is a busy road but there's a sidewalk.
Taxis wait at the railway and bus stations.
- 1 Rotherham Minster (All Saints Church), Church Street S60 1PD, ☏ . Daily. Anglican church in Perpendicular style, the chancel dates from 14th century and the tower from the 15th. The rest is later and it was made over by George Gilbert Scott in the 19th century.
- 2 Chapel of Our Lady of Rotherham Bridge, Bridge St. This was built upon the bridge over the River Don in 1483. Chapels on bridges were often used as chantries, where a priest chanted prayers for the souls of passers-by and of local worthies. After the Reformation it became an almshouse, gaol and shop but was restored as a chapel in 1927.
- 3 [formerly dead link] Clifton Park Museum, Clifton Lane S65 2AA, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-17:00. Museum in an ironmaster's house built in 1783, and passing to the council in 1891, at which time the park was laid out. It includes local social and industrial history, archaeology, natural sciences, coins and medals and fine and decorative arts. There's a large collection of Rockingham Pottery, a gaudy rococo style originally made nearby in Swinton, including one of only two specimens of "Rhinoceros Vase" created to showcase the pottery's technical skill. The museum also includes the York and Lancaster Regimental Museum in the building opposite. Free.
- 4 South Yorkshire Transport Museum, 9 Waddington Way, Aldwarke S65 3SH. Closed until April 2021. Volunteer-run museum with some 50 historic vehicles.
- 5 Boston Castle, Boston Castle Grove. Apr-Sep: Tu-Su 11:00-15:00. A square two-storey building built in 1775 as a shooting lodge by the Earl of Effingham and prettified with mock castellations. He named it in sympathy with the Boston "tea-party" colonists and resigned his commission rather than fight them; and no tea was ever to be drunk in his castle! There's a small museum inside; the surrounding Boston Park was opened on 4 July 1876, the centennial of US independence. Free.
- 6 Centenary Riverside Park is a wetland and water penning area created after the disastrous floods of 2007 - which could have been much worse, as Ulley Reservoir threatened to burst its banks. Having matured for some years, the park has become a pleasant wildlife area, graced by "Steel Henge" an iron replica of Stonehenge.
- 7 Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield Road, Templeborough S60 1DX (M1 jcn 34 onto A6178), ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00. A hands-on science museum situated in an old steelworks. It's cold inside, and in early 2020 the lifts are out of order and some exhibit areas closed. Adult £12, child £10.
- 8 Roche Abbey, Maltby S66 8NW, ☏ . W-Su 10:00-17:00. Built for the Cistercians in 1147 and frantically wrecked in 1538 during the Dissolution, the abbey is now a peaceful Gothic ruin in a landscape fashioned by Capability Brown. Adults £5.50, child £3.30, conc £5.
- 9 Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth S62 7TQ, ☏ . W-Su 10:00-17:00. Vast mansion built in two parts: the west is brick Baroque from 1725, with the even grander east wing added later that century. It has maybe 300 rooms, but nobody sent to count them has yet returned. With extensive gardens dotted with follies. Adult £10, child £5.
- Wentworth Castle isn't here, but a few miles further northwest in Barnsley.
- 10 Conisbrough Castle is east just across the boundary into Doncaster.
They didn't want to know
Rotherham has become infamous for an extensive and racially-charged child sex-abuse scandal. The victims were young white girls, groomed, abused and traded around a network of men predominantly of Pakistani background. The local council and police found this too hot to handle, resolutely looking the other way, and trying to silence those raising concern until national media and government took matters out of their hands. It’s estimated that from 1997 to 2013 some 1400 girls, some as young as ten, were systematically abused, with at least one murder. 46 men have since been jailed, with the latest convictions in Aug 2019, and an independent police investigation continues.
- Football: 1 Rotherham United, AESSEAL New York Stadium, New York Way S60 1FJ (half a mile south of Rotherham Central railway station). "The Millers" were promoted in 2022 and now play soccer in the Championship, the game's second tier. They play at the New York Stadium, capacity 12,000. In 2022 this hosted games in the UEFA Women's Euro Finals, postponed from 2021.
- Theatre: Rotherham Civic Theatre is on Catherine St in town centre.
- Cinema: cross the M1 west to Vue in Meadowhall or Cineworld off A6178.
- Rotherham Leisure Complex is on Effingham St north side of town centre. It has a gym, pool and fitness classes.
- Walk, bike or boat along the River Don, which is canalised and navigable. The canal network connects all the way to Sheffield, to the sea at Goole, and to the Aire-Calder system across the Pennines.
- Golf: nearby courses are Sitwell Park GC, Rotherham GC, Roundwood GC, Wath GC and Grange Park GC. Just west of M1 in Sheffield are Concord Park and Tinsley Park.
- Sing mass in ancient Egyptian: the Coptic Orthodox Church of St Anthony is on St Leonard's Rd, just south of the junction of A630 and A633. Morning mass is W F Su, with vespers Sa. Liturgy is little changed in thousands of years and long pre-dates Arabic, though it's transcribed into Greek script. The pharaohs probably hummed the same tunes.
- High Street was given a makeover in the 2010s and turned into an attractive pedestrianised area of small independent retailers. However, as of February 2022, many of the shops are empty, including a large area that was once a Primark store but now demolished. The site is planned to be altered into a small park area.
- 1 Parkgate Shopping is a retail park a mile north of town centre at the terminus of the tram line. It has the usual "high street" shops and a large Morrison's supermarket.
- 2 Meadowhall is the colossal mall at the northeast edge of Sheffield, at junction 34 of M1. People from miles around drive there for their weekly shop, taking the trade away from their own towns. Oasis is a large food court. Shops stay open till 20:00, later near Christmas when the place degenerates into "Meadowhell". Reach it from Rotherham by buses X1, X10 and X78 or by tram or train.
- The main eating strip is along Westgate. Neelagiree, serving South Indian cuisine, is open Tu-Sa 17:00-23:00 and Su 17:00-21:30; it gets good reviews except for some nights when it definitely doesn't.
- Fitzwilliam & Hughes on High St is a café serving fresh coffee and leaf teas as well as light lunches and homemade cakes.
- Miele Delicatessen at 22 High Street (☏ ) is an Italian deli selling sandwiches and cheese/meat platters made to order, and real Italian coffee. The shop stocks ingredients and accessories for Med cooking.
- The Cutler's Arms. 29 Westgate, Rotherham. A brewery-run pub owned by Rotherham brewers Chantry. Hand-pulled ales, European beers and spirits. Eclectic jukebox and regular live music. Refurbished in the style of a Victorian pub.
- The New York Tavern. 84 Westgate, Rotherham. Sister pub to the Cutler's Arms, also owned by Chantry. Hand-pulled British ales and an even wider range of bottled craft beers. Quieter atmosphere than the Cutler's Arms, with regular acoustic music and live poetry.
- The Bluecoat is a JD Wetherspoon in an old schoolhouse next to town hall. Whilst it offers a good selection of real ales, the interior is looking tired including threadbare carpets and is in need of an update.
- Chantry Brewery north side of town produces a dozen ales.
- 1 Carlton Park Hotel, 102 Moorgate Road S60 2BG (a mile south of centre near hospital), ☏ . Friendly quirky place, great service. B&B double £55.
- 2 Hellaby Hall Hotel, Old Hellaby Lane, Hellaby S66 8EX, ☏ , email@example.com. Mid-range spa hotel, now part of Best Western. B&B double £65.
- 3 Premier Inn is a reliable budget chain, on A631 two miles southeast of town centre.
- Welcome Inn is a mile west of town on A629.
- Holiday Inn is on A631 two miles south of the centre.
- Ibis is at M18 jcn 1, with Travellers Inn 200 yards west on A631.
As of May 2022, Rotherham has 5G from EE and Three, and 4G from O2 and Vodafone.
- Sheffield is next to Rotherham, with many visitor attractions and a buzzing student atmosphere.
- Attractive countryside lies just west of Sheffield in the Peak District.
- Doncaster has a famous racecourse, and there are several museums and manors in the surrounding countryside.
- Leeds is a lively city, only an hour away by train or car; cosmopolitan Manchester is not much further.
- Hull has many free museums in the cobbled old town, and a walk-through aquarium "The Deep".
|Routes through Rotherham|
|Leeds ← Barnsley ←||N S||→ Chesterfield → Nottingham|
|Kingston-upon-Hull ← Doncaster ←||NE SW||→ merges with|