It’s that time of year again; baize, balls and bowties…yes the World Snooker Championships is due to start at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. But what else is there to do in Sheffield that’s more exciting than watching snooker? If you can’t find a freshly painted wall to observe then try out our top ten list of things to do in the Steel City.
1. Kelham Island Museum
Have you ever wondered what England’s largest surviving Bessemer converter looks like? Well wonder no more as you visit Kelham Island Industrial Heritage Museum. But seriously, Sheffield is famous for its steel production and you can discover the industrial history of the city at Kelham Island which includes enormous steam engines, vintage vehicles and recreations of traditional metalworking workshops. After exploring the fascinating displays, grab a drink or even afternoon tea at the Steel Hammer Café.
2. Amici & Bici
Abbeydale Road is the hip place to be in Sheffield at the moment; filled with cafes, vintage clothes shops and bookstores. Pop into Amici & Bici for delicious coffee, fantastic home-cooked Italian food and amazing cakes and pastries. Even better, there is a general theme of cycling in the décor including retro jerseys and cool wall art so pull on your Lycra and head on down!
One of Britain’s largest shopping centres, Meadowhall is definitely the place to go to shop ‘til you drop in Sheffield. Meadowhall has over 280 shops including major high street chains and designer outlets. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink as well as a cinema. With great transport links from the city centre including buses and the Sheffield Supertram, retail heaven is just a short journey away!
4. Smoke BBQ
A fittingly industrial décor welcomes you to Smoke BBQ on St Paul’s Place. They don’t seem to have ever heard the phrase “less is more” as the food portions are massive! Try the smoke sharer plate which includes pulled pork, ribs, turkey legs, chicken thighs and sausages served with chips and sides. Wash this all down with a choice of craft beers from Freedom Brewery.
5. Rother Valley Country Park
If you fancy a break from city life, make the short trip to Rother Valley Country Park just a couple of miles outside Sheffield. Located on the site of a former quarry, the main excavation sites were flooded and now form the artificial lakes at the heart of the park. Covering three square kilometres there’s plenty of space to stroll around, enjoy a picnic or spot wildlife. The more adventurous among you may want to try water sports like jet skiing, canoeing or wind surfing. For a more relaxed day out hire bikes for a couple of hours and explore the entire site via the network of cycle paths that criss-cross the park.
6. The Fat Cat
Located in the Kelham Island area, The Fat Cat is a typical real ale pub in Sheffield’s industrial heartland. Dating back to the 1850’s, the pub prides itself on showcasing beers from independent microbreweries as well as their own brews like Kelham Islands Pale Rider, made in the pub’s own brewery in their back yard! There’s also a range of ciders as well as a selection of reasonably priced traditional food.
7. Sheffield City Art Galleries
The culture vultures among you are in for a treat as Sheffield hosts several museums and art galleries, all located in or near the city centre. Weston Park features a permanent display of art depicting Sheffield past and present as well as other exhibitions on natural science, archaeology, world cultures and the city’s social history. The Millennium Gallery showcases changing art exhibitions by prominent artists as well as permanent displays of metalwork created in the city and the Ruskin Collection including engravings, geological specimens and medieval manuscripts. The Graves Gallery features art ranging from works by old masters like Murillo to modern masterpieces by Grayson Perry.
8. The Leadmill
Sheffield’s premier live music venue and something of a legend on the UK music scene, The Leadmill has hosted some of Britain’s most famous bands. Pulp, Coldplay, Oasis, The Stereophonics, The Stone Roses, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Paul Weller are just a few of the acts to have graced the stage. Today the Leadmill hosts a mix of live bands, comedy and club nights as well as providing studio space for artists, designers and even a tattooist! Check their listings to see if there’s anything that tickles your fancy (Steve Davis DJ set anyone?)
9. Peak District National Park
The Peak District straddles the Pennines between Yorkshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire. Just a short drive from Sheffield, there are lots of quaint towns and villages to discover and stunning scenery to take in. Head up to Carl Wark near Hathersage for picturesque walks around an iron-age settlement. Kinder Scout and Mam Tor are two of the highest peaks and provide great views from the top. The Derwent Reservoir was used as a training location by the RAF’s 617 Squadron in preparation for the “Dambusters” raid in 1943 and the lakes and dams of the Peak District were also used as locations during filming of the iconic British war film. You can be in amongst this amazing scenery in just 15 minutes, perfect for a day out in the country when you’re staying in Sheffield.
10. Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Just outside the city centre you’ll find an oasis of greenery and, especially at this time of year, a blaze of colour. Take time out from the hustle and bustle of the city; relax with a picnic, enjoy drinks and snacks in the Curator’s House Restaurant and Tea Rooms or just wander to your heart’s content amongst the trees, flowers and well-kept gardens. During the summer there are concerts in the evenings including classical music and trad jazz.
Are you planning a short break in Sheffield? Hopefully these top tips have provided some inspiration. Let us know what you’re planning in the comments section below….