Let’s make the most of our trains, tigers and horses

Most of us know - and perhaps love - Donny as a working town, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a place.

Not the most obvious place for a weekend break or to be promoted as a tourist hot spot, perhaps. But the penny has now dropped that many places have built a name for themselves - and boosted their economies - on the back of far less than Doncaster has to offer.

Diary noticed the Free Press editor writing about this in the paper last week but, as he said, the trouble is we’re not great at selling ourselves, so even locals ignore what’s on their doorstep when planning a break and head off much further afield.

It seems to have taken a couple of “outsiders” in particular to see that, actually, Doncaster has a lot going for it.

There’s history in the form of Romans, railways and flying, nationally significant castles and stately homes, a world-class racecourse, internationally known wildlife reserves and not forgetting, of course, our new arrivals, the lions and tigers!

Imagination and slick marketing seem to be the key to turning things we take for granted into visitor magnets.Think Catherine Cookson Country aka industrial South Tyneside. Or Salford Quays with its Lowry connections.

A fledgling tourism group with wildlife park boss Cheryl Williams and new borough tourism boss Colin Joy among its members has interesting plans to put Doncaster on the tourism map, with some success already at an international tourism fair. Doncaster ticks many tourism boxes, from weekends to sample the party life, sporting breaks and environmental tourism to heritage holidays and family fun opportunities.