What to do on a Trip to Sheffield
Steeling the Show
By Richard Jones
Known the world over as the Steel City, Sheffield was famed for its industry in the heyday of the 1900s.
While it remains a place of innovation, the smoking chimney stacks are no more, and instead you’ll find a green, modern city.
Sheffield is home to an amazing array of independent eateries and microbreweries, renowned live music, award-winning theatre, fascinating exhibitions and vibrant festivals, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Peak District National Park.
Here, we take a look at the top 10 things to keep you entertained on a visit to this fascinating South Yorkshire city.
Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre has staged the World Snooker Championship every year since 1977, and the venue still provides something magical to the tournament. From April 16 to May 2, the Steel City will go snooker loopy again as it plays host to the Worlds. Mark Selby beat Shaun Murphy in last year’s final to take the title for the fourth time. But will Masters champion Yan Bingtao or UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong, who both train at Victoria’s Snooker Academy on Scotland Street in the Steel City, become the first Asian player to lift the trophy?
The UK’s original national park covers more than 550 squares miles and provides a taste of the outdoors to millions. It is renowned for its inspiring landscapes and stunning manor houses, smooth boulders are stacked against the velvety folds of the hills, and ancient stone villages sit by burbling rivers. Head into Poole’s Cavern, an ancient natural limestone cavern with colossal, illuminated rock-sculpted galleries. Then, stop by The Bakewell Pudding Shop to enjoy a piece of the famous dessert, before arriving at historic spa town Buxton, where healing waters have been attracting visitors for centuries.
Sheffield’s award-winning Winter Garden is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last century and has created a stunning green world in the heart of the city. Next to the Peace Gardens and the Millennium Galleries, it is home to more than 2,500 plants, creating a superb display and providing visitors with a unique experience. Meanwhile, up Ecclesall Road is Sheffield Botanical Gardens, which are listed by English Heritage as a Grade II site of special historic and architectural interest. The Glass Pavilions house a wonderful collection of plants from the temperate areas of the world.
Get in estate
Those interested in Hollywood movies may wish to head to Chatsworth House, the stately home in the nearby Derbyshire Dales which provided the backdrop for the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the estate has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family and can be visited by the public. Burning Man is a unique event that usually takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, and from April 9, Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man at Chatsworth will feature eight existing sculptures and four works built on site.
The beautiful game
Sheffield United FC, or the ‘Blades’, have been at their Bramall Lane stadium since 1889. The club was formed as an offshoot of the local cricket club and these days, they play in the Championship. Sheffield Wednesday is also one of the oldest football clubs in the world and was a founding member of the Football League in 1889 and the Premier League in 1992. The Owls play at the Hillsborough Stadium and ply their trade in League One. Finally, Sheffield FC is the oldest active football club in the world, being formed in 1857. They were awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in 2004 and are now based in Dronfield, just outside Sheffield.
Raising the bar
Whether it’s sipping a couple of cocktails or partying at a club, Sheffield has a lively night-time scene where spirits are high all year round. While great pubs and bars can be found throughout Sheffield (Kelham Island, the Antiques Quarter and Ecclesall Road), the City Centre is the main hub for nightlife, with West Street, Carver Street and Division Street providing a rich circuit of bars and pubs. The Leadmill is Sheffield’s longest running live music venue and nightclub. It first opened its doors in 1980 and over the years the likes of Pulp, Coldplay, Oasis, The Killers, Queens Of The Stone Age and The White Stripes have graced its stage.
Question of sport
A world-class venue in the heart of the Steel City, Ponds Forge has fantastic facilities for sport, leisure, and entertainment. It attracts more than 1.3million visitors a year to its Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool and sports hall. Meanwhile, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) is the UK’s largest multi-sport training centre. It is home to several local and national sporting clubs and governing bodies including GB Boxing, British Wheelchair Basketball and British Para Table Tennis. Finally, the £15million Ice Sheffield facility has two Olympic-size rinks and regularly hosts the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team.
Treading the boards
If you’re after big names or local heroes, blockbuster musicals or captivating dramas, you’ve found the right place. As well as the Crucible, there’s the Studio, an intimate space for getting even closer to the action. Plus, there’s the beautiful Lyceum, a traditional proscenium arch theatre that hosts the UK’s best touring shows. Over the next few months, Sheffield City Hall will play host to star names such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jimmy Carr and Stewart Lee. Then, at the Utilita Arena Sheffield, Stormzy, Little Mix and Alan Partridge are all scheduled to perform in 2022.
Isle be there
Once the beating heart of industry, Kelham Island was formed in the 1100s when a stream was diverted to power a nearby mill. However, as industry has moved on, it has quietly become one of the most exciting parts of the city. The remains of the numerous cutlery and steel works, factories and workshops now house indie shopping arcades, microbreweries, and galleries. Kelham Island Museum is great place to learn more about the city’s heritage, and as beer goes almost hand in hand with Sheffield’s industry, Kelham Island has become a mecca for real ale pubs such as the Kelham Island Tavern, The Fat Cat and The Riverside.
If you’re after something a bit different for all the family in South Yorkshire, explore the Tropical Butterfly House in North Anston. Not only is the alternative zoo home to creatures from around the world including butterflies, birds, bats, creepy-crawlies and caimans, daily animal encounters give budding Sir David Attenboroughs the chance to learn about the habitat and lifestyle of lemurs, meerkats, owls, otters, and snakes. Take your seat for spectacular displays, featuring free flying birds and marvellous mammals. Then, get hands-on, meeting and feeding the friendly rural residents at the Farm Barn.
Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel & Spa in Sheffield city centre offer rooms from £99 per night, based on two sharing a classic double or twin room, including breakfast.
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For more information on things to see and do in Sheffield, go to welcometosheffield.co.uk