Worksop is the largest town in Bassetlaw and it is situated on the River Ryton at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. It is about 19 miles east-south-east of Sheffield and its affords excellent links to a number of towns and cities - either by road or rail.
A market town with a rich heritage in mining and breweries, it is often overlooked on the tourist trail but has a number of heritage buildings and a friendly welcoming environment.
Walking is certainly the best way to uncover Worksop’s sights and heritage. If you have a few hours to spare then I recommend the Heritage Trail which I found not only gave me a great walk, but chance to see some of the heritage of the town and historical sights.
The trail begins from the Memorial Avenue and takes you to Priory Church, Priory Gatehouse, the Town Hall, Boundary Inn, alongside the dam at Little River Ryton and across the Chesterfield Canal in addition to passing through some the more historical streets in the town centre. Get your boots on and be sure to stop at one of the coffee houses along the way - it’s a lovely way to spend half a day.
I also recommend you visit the National Trust - Mr Straw’s House, an Edwardian semi-detached house and one of the smallest properties the trust owns. Its contents are largely intact so you can soak up the feel of life at the time as you walk around this fascinating home.
A number of car parks (both pay and display and free) are conveniently distributed throughout the town.
There are also plenty of cycling routes both in the town and going out to the surrounding green areas such as Clumber Park.
Past in the Present
Worksop is known as the "Gateway to the Dukeries", because what used to be four ducal seats are located close to one another south of the town. These ducal seats were:
Clumber House – principal seat of the dukes of Newcastle.
Thoresby Hall – principal seat of the dukes of Kingston and later the Earls Manver.
Welbeck Abbey – principal seat of the dukes of Portland.
Worksop Manor – a seat of the dukes of Norfolk, sold to the Duke of Newcastle in 1839.
If we go right back to the earliest evidence of the town it is documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 that Worksop actually existed before the Normal conquest of England in 1066.
After the conquest, at around 1103, a castle and priory were established in Worksop. Today, the surviving part of the Priory consists of the nave, western front and twin towers, which date from the second half of the 12th century.
Worksop eventually grew into a market town and it was granted a Royal Charter in 1296.
The development of Worksop from an agricultural centre was boosted by the building of the Chesterfield Canal (completed in 1777), which attracted trade, commerce and people into the area. This was further enhanced by the arrival of the Great Central Railway in 1849, and by industries, particularly coal mining, which became a staple for the town and a key source of employment.
Nottinghamshire has enjoyed a rich history as a county for breweries with Worksop being no exception and the barley grown in the Vale of Belvoir was both excellent and readily available to brewers. Beer and ale production in Worksop over time superseded Retford where it had begun, and with the introduction of railway links the beer could be transported further and the barley could be imported, giving an extension to the malting season, increased trade, and steady employment across the town.
Today, Worksop has retained its heritage and some beautiful examples of architecture and is thriving as a market town.
I’m struggling here to pick a favourite, but I’d recommend the White Lion for its gastropub fare, The Shireoaks Inn for traditional roasts and amazing puddings, the Three Legged Stool, the Lockkeeper, and for families the Millhouse.
All have great food, but it’s worth noting that many of the other pubs and restaurants in Worksop also serve food on Sundays. Most have vegetarian options and there’s plenty of variety from casual to more of a formal setting.
Cafe & Cocktails
Worksop can provide just about anything that takes your fancy in the drinks stakes, particularly independent coffee houses and tearooms.
A visit to the town wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the hospitality of the White Lion. Known locally as the ‘top house’ it has not only great food and a really friendly welcome, but the extensive gin selection is a refreshing (sorry!) surprise.
The Malthouse and its La Roca Tapas Bar is by far one of the best places to enjoy a light bite with your friends or loved one, and its team let you spend as long as you like at your table, so you are guaranteed a leisurely evening. Super tapas, a great drinks menu with all your favourite cocktails, their own signature blended coffee from a locally sourced blender (it is truly a treat!) and the warmest welcome around. The owners are from Grafting Brewing Company, which has a rich history in the town, so be sure to try the Grafton ales and more recently their new Grafton gin, whilst you enjoy your tapas. It’s a popular venue though, no surprise, so worth booking in advance.
The Olive Grove is also very popular. An intimate venue with a separate room for parties and larger bookings, it transports you to the Mediterranean easily, despite the British weather! The team here are incredibly friendly and welcoming and I’d definitely recommend the blue cheese mushrooms, chorizo and potatoes in sherry, and the baked goat’s cheese with blossom honey. Ingredients are sourced locally, the artisan bread baskets are delicious, and it’s a great place for lunch or dinner.
If you are a coffee (and cake!) lover, then by far the most popular place town is Piccolo Espresso Bar. I can see why… super-duper coffee and a bustling, friendly atmosphere. Other coffee houses I recommend include the trendy Coffee House, Cafe Delight, Miss Poppy’s Coffee Shop (also good for full cooked breakfasts!), the Coffee Terrace, Dukeries Cafe, and the cafe at Crossing Church. The Chocolate Orange Team Rooms has an impressive selection of cakes and plenty of vegan options.
There are a number of great pubs and bars, including the traditional Unicorn, the Swan Inn, the trendy Lockside, the brightly coloured Liquorice Gardens, The Queen’s Head, the Mallard, Mac & Co (popular with a younger crowd), the 114 Bar and Grill, and the Kilton Inn, which often has live music.
Worksop is a market town that has retained the charm of its thriving market. This is joined by a number of well-known stores and an abundance of independent shops. It’s also worth noting that some of the buildings have great history to them and if you look up as you are walking around the town you will see traces of bygone days still visible in the shop facades.
The more modern Priory Shopping Centre has a great selection of stores for you to wander around whilst the Carlton Vintage House is a true treasure trove of quirky crafts and gifts with more of a heritage feel. Check out the Holistic Hub for wellbeing and holistic therapies and relax at the tea rooms .
House of Elegance is a well-known and fondly regarded women’s fashion boutique that also has some lovely home interior items.
If you are after furniture, then there can be no better place than the wonderful landmark that is Eyres of Worksop. Packed with all manner of furniture it enjoys a rich history in the town with its original building dating to 1899 although unfortunately it had to be partially restored in 1911 following a fire.
If you are looking for hair and beauty then the Dolly House is a notable and popular salon, joined by Ego, Blush, Volume Hair, all worth making an appointment at. Res is one of the most popular men’s barbers.
C W Waddington - gentlemen’s outfitter - is a locally known institution - offering menswear including formal wear and wedding attire, it has enjoyed its place in the hearts of the community for almost 90 years. A fascinating fact about this store is that the furniture inside is unique. It features work by Robert Thompson, also known as the Mouseman, who would carve a mouse into each piece he created.
Keep an eye out for JP Meats and its friendly looking butcher statue - I couldn’t not mention this.
Bag a Property
The average house price for a three-bedroom detached with garage is typically around the £185,000 mark. There are many properties types available to suit most budgets and it is a popular town for commuters due to its high accessibility.
There are a number of excellent estate agents who serve the town including David Hawke Property Services, Bartop & Dilks, Martin & Co, and Burrells Estate Agency.
The entire family can enjoy The Canch, a Green Flag park on Priorswell Road. It is particular popular with younger members of the community with a children’s splash park and plaza-style skate park, play area and plenty of open space. It also boasts an outdoor gym, formal gardens and a beautiful sensory garden, and is a popular meeting point across the community. It is flanked by Bracebridge Recreation Park, a great location for walking your dog or running, and the Memorial Gardens off Memorial Avenue.
Hannah Park is also worth a visit, a beautiful woodland area that is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Other notable nearby parks include the National Trust owned Clumber Park which enjoys year-round activities and events and offers a beautiful outdoor space for walking, cycling and picnics. And of course, the famous Creswell Crags with its limestone gorge and prehistoric caves and museum space.
Gregg Bartram is a Senior Financial Planner & Managing Director of Alexander Calder Financial and has a wealth of knowledge working and living in Worksop…
Best thing about living and working in Worksop?
Having been born in Worksop and had a home here all my life it’s fair to say that I know the town!
As a small market town it has struggled like many others over recent years as many of us move away from the high street, but there are passionate groups working to improve and ultimately change the face of our town centres into a more leisure focused space to enjoy.
We should all embrace these changes and support the local businesses both through the change and beyond. I personally have invested heavily in the town locating three businesses there and using a number of independent retailers/service providers.
There’s a great sense of community and it’s a very friendly place where people help one another.
Without wishing to ignore many of the successful businesses in Worksop and the surrounding area, I would highlight Piccolos as being a true gem of a coffee shop, The Olive Grove as being a little bit of Spain in North Nottinghamshire, and Welbeck farm shop as being one of the best there is for seeing locals whilst picking up some fantastic produce.
Describe Worksop's USP
Few places equal the friendliness of the people of Worksop. Also, it is surrounded by amazing countryside yet is incredibly accessible considering its location to major roads and rail links. Selecting the right train, I can be in central London within one hour 40 minutes of leaving my home, and back in the day to the relaxing environment of Worksop rather than the hustle of London.