Cannon Hall Farm shortlisted for national tourism award

15 May 2012

A popular visitor attraction is hoping to put Barnsley on the tourist map after being shortlisted for a national award.

Cannon Hall Farm, which has animals including pigs, sheep, cattle and llamas, has been shortlisted in the Visit England Awards for Excellence with the final on May 22.

The farm attraction is up against four others, including the Severn Valley Railway and Cumbria’s Honister Slate Mine, in the best tourism experience category. It won the Welcome to Yorkshire Tourism Experience of the Year last autumn and this took the farm through to the national judging.

Director Richard Nicholson said: "There were nearly 400 entries to the awards this year and we are delighted to be shortlisted among the top five tourism experiences in the UK.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed for national success. We are proud to live in Barnsley, people have preconceptions about it, but it's a wonderful area with great people and we are happy to be playing our part in putting this fantastic part of England on the UK tourist map."

Cannon Hall Farm was praised in the regional finals for its all-night Lambing Live event that allowed visitors to witness the birth of lambs and piglets, and its Halloween Pumpkin Festival, where more than 5,000 pumpkins were carved.

The tourist attraction has recently added ferret racing to its list of events, which also includes falconry, sheep racing and sheepdog displays.

Last year almost a quarter of a million people visited Cannon Hall Farm, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year’s visitor numbers.

A new £500,000 outdoor children’s playground was opened in April 2011, with a climbing forest and tube maze.

Planning permission has been granted for £5 million worth of further developments over the next three years. These include a new farmyard and indoor play area as well as an extension to the tearoom and a new farm shop.


For more information on Cannon Hall Farm go to:

Media contact at Cannon Hall Farm: Robert Nicholson on 01226 790427.

Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

The four other finalists in the Experience category of the Visit England Awards are Adventure Forest Go Ape, Cheshire; Livingstone Lodge, Kent; Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire, and Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine, Cumbria. For more information on the awards go to:

For hundreds of years Cannon Hall Farm was home farm to the Cannon Hall Estate. The estate was sold by the Spencer Stanhope family in 1957 when Robert Nicholson’s grandfather Charles Nicholson paid £7,100 for land and buildings.  Around the same time the hall itself was bought by Barnsley Council and turned into a museum.

Robert’s father Roger took over the farm when Charles died and, from the 1980s, it was developed for visitors.  Roger and wife Cynthia are still involved in the business, along with Robert and other sons Richard and David.

The working farm keeps a range of animals including cattle, pigs, donkeys, goats and llamas and baby animals are born all year round. 


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