It used to be famous for its coal industry, which has now disappeared. Barnsley Council are pioneering a scheme called Remaking Barnsley, including the building of a new £23m transport interchange and a halo of light around the city.
In the last 10 years or so, the fortunes of Barnsley have been on the upturn, with commerce and industry building their premises on the sites of the old coal mines. The town is becoming more popular due to the low cost of living compared to nearby Sheffield and Leeds, with some people living in Barnsley but commuting to work in one of these cities. There is still a strong sense of community in the town.
All the above are within 2 hours drive of Barnsley. Manchester has the most connections and airlines, but the budget and charter airlines tend to use the other airports.
The M1 motorway is the main route into Barnsley as it runs down the side of the town.
Rail based Park and Ride facilities are available, see National Park and Ride Directory
The Transport Interchange doubles as a bus station, and also has regular services.
This is not currently possible. The Dearne and Dove Canal  runs through Barnsley, but is mostly derelict today. However, the Barnsley, Dearne and Dove Canals Trust  is trying to restore the canal to full working order.
Barnsley town centre is fairly compact and easy to walk around, but there are many suburban villages and smaller towns on the outskirts.
A fairly adventurous person could walk to and from the suburbs, but there are also many bus stops around the town and countryside. Details of services are available from the Travel South Yorkshire  web site, or by phoning the Traveline call centre on 01709 515151.
Public transport late at night (after about 10pm) is usually limited to taxis. Blue Line is the biggest operator (tel. 244 444), and alternatives include A1 Taxis (tel. 288 888). Licenced taxis either use a meter, or charge a fixed price depending on distance.
The Trans Pennine Trail  may be a more fitting route for cyclists or horseriders, but be very safety conscious when alone and beware of illegal motorbikes.
Barnsley is famous for it's nightlife, as evidenced by the number of pubs, bars and clubs in the town centre. If that's not your scene, then head to the suburbs of town where you'll find quiet restaurants, a number of friendly local pubs, and more family-friendly places.
To learn what events are happening in the town, the weekly Barnsley Chronicle  newspaper has a what's-on guide. Also, local radio station Dearne FM  announces events both on air and on its web site.
The (indoor and outdoor) Barnsley Market is famous - a great place to meet local people. It can be found near to the Transport Interchange. The markets are generally open every Wednesday and Saturday.
The shops are open from around 9am-5pm most days apart from Sundays. Most of the high street chains are present, along with a selection of smaller shops. The Arcade is a covered area found off Market Hill that seems to be going increasingly upmarket, with designer boutiques alongside more traditional shops. Pollyanna  on Market Hill (a few doors away from The Arcade) is perhaps the best known designer boutique in the town, and also has an art gallery and coffee shop.
If you don't want to brave the elements then The Alhambra shopping centre is on offer with a pleasant array of shops and a café.
However, it is also worth checking out the Meadowhall Retail Park  about 20 minutes away from town, which stays open till 9pm on weekdays, along with fast-food, restaurants and entertainment areas staying open till 10pm. This is easily reachable by train or bus.
During the Christmas holidays all the shops stay open very late and on Sundays and there is a special German Christmas Market. During this season there is usually a variety of brass bands playing. Historically, brass bands were often affiliated to local workplaces (such as coal mines, or financial instituations) in a similar way to other towns and cities in the UK.
The coffee shop in Pollyanna (top of Market Hill) serves delightfully indulgent snacks and light meals. It's a great retreat from the bustling shops and markets. The coffee shop is right at the back of the store. Other popular eating places include the Blah Grill on the corner or Market Hill and Shambles Street, Grille Steakhouse and Chilli Bar on Market Street, Pinnocchios Italian restaurant on New Street opposite the Alhambra Centre. Aroma coffee bar down The Arcade also serves light snacks. Walkabout, Wetherspoons and various other pubs also serve food during the daytimes. Barnsley has few fast food restaurants in the town centre. McDonalds closed its branch in early 2006. Only KFC remain at the far end of Peel Street next to town end roundabout. Pizza Hut is located at The Peel Centre retail park 5 minutes walk from the town centre and McDonalds have a drive through in the ASDA car park.
In the many restaurants around Barnsley, you may see the Barnsley Chop or Barnsley Double on the menu. This is a cut of lamb that is famous as a local Barnsley delicacy.
There are various hotels further afield, a few miles from the town centre. There are also a small number of guest houses. These can be found (and booked) through the Tourist Information office in Barnsley Central Library, or online through the Yorkshire Tourist Board.
Barnsley is generally safe, but if you take shortcuts to places you can sometimes see incrimininating behaviour eg. BB gun shooting or drug taking however this is rarely noticeable to the tourist and poses little threat. If you see this, turn back immediately and preferably before being noticed, in other words, don't go anywhere you think anything like this is happening. It is also inadvisable to uses the shortcut through the Honeywell Campus of Barnsley College, as there are guard dogs training (or so the sign at the gates says).