Sheffield has a great deal to offer both locals and visitors. Not all of its activity is relegated to the city centre: some of the best restaurants and entertainments are situated in the lively central suburbs and on the roads which radiate out from the city centre, such as the fashionable Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads.
The most popular areas of the city centre include:
The Moor and Fargate
Much of the city centre's shopping is located in the pedestrian areas of
West of Barker's Pool, along Division Street, is the well-known Devonshire Quarter. The Quarter is home to the alternative shopping centre,
A good selection of cafes and restaurants are available in this area, most of which are busy with business people and shoppers during the day and become even livelier at night. Among the most popular are the
West Street runs parallel to Division Street and is a popular drinking area, with many large theme pubs such as
Pinstone Street, between the Moor and Fargate is the location of the
Just beyond the Town Hall is Tudor Square, which is the cultural heart of the city, surrounded by the
A small cluster of excellent eating and drinking establishments in this area include
Cultural Industries Quarter
Across Arundel Gate is Sheffield Hallam University's large city centre campus, with its many new buildings. Below the campus is the Railway Station and the Bus Station. A short walk away, around Brown Street and Paternoster Row, is the Cultural Industries Quarter. This district is home to many industries involved in the media and other cultural areas. Here you will also find the
Park Square Roundabout
The large Park Square roundabout is the location of the
Across the road you will see the big indoor
Victoria Quays is a development around the canal basin. Warehouses have been refurbished into luxury apartments and new office developments overlook the moored boats, including the
Many of Sheffield's luxury hotels are to be found close by. The cluster includes the
Sheffield may not be blessed with many beautiful historic buildings, but you are never far from reminders of its great industrial past. The
The industrial Don Valley, to the north of the city centre, has seen many of its large steelworks disappear. In their place are new industrial and office developments and large leisure and shopping attractions.
This is also the location of the Entertainment complex of the
Meadowhall Shopping Centre
With 270 shops the prestigious
Sheffield Ski Village
Hillsborough is famous as the home of Sheffield Wednesday, one of the city's two football clubs (the other is Sheffield United whose Bramall Lane Ground is in the south of the city). This self-contained town within a city has a good shopping centre and other attractions, such as
The leafy residential suburbs to the south west of Sheffield are home to some of the city's finest restaurants and specialist shopping areas.
Ecclesall Road and Hunter's Bar
The tree-lined section of Ecclesall Road, running from just past the old Ward's brewery to Hunter's Bar roundabout, is known as Sheffield's "golden mile" of shopping for its mix of designer and specialty shops. There is also a good selection of bars, cafes and pubs, including Coffee Revolution,
Nearby Sharrow Vale Road has a similar mixture, including Café Ceres, the Mediterranean Restaurant and the
This is also the location of two of Sheffield's best-known green spaces;
Abbeydale Road and Nether Edge
The leafy Victorian suburb of Nether Edge is home to many hotels: of particular note is the luxurious
Abbeydale Road is known as the antique district of Sheffield; although it is slightly down at heel, it has an interesting mix of secondhand, antique and reproduction outlets.
Further out, on Abbeydale Road South, is the
Broomhill and Crookesmoor
Leaving the City Centre along Glossop Road and Western Bank, you come in to Crookesmoor, where the main hospital and
Continuing into Broomhill, you come across a good shopping centre, with independent and charity shops and pubs such as O'Neill's Irish Bar and the South Seas. This beautiful Victorian district has some good hotels such as the modern
Finally, the beautiful Peak District National Park lies immediately to the west and south west of the city. Continue through Broomhill along Glossop Road and the A57 for dramatic hills and moorland scenery, which gives way further south to high limestone country and wooded river dales. Outdoor activities, picturesque towns and villages, the historic houses of
In the last few years, partly because of the huge influx of students to the city, Sheffield's dining and drinking opportunities have grown beyond anyone's expectations, making it as good a place to spend an evening as almost any city in the country.
More than anything, the city has acquired more diversity and now has a genuinely cosmopolitan feel. The recent flood of cafe-bars that has swept Britain has not missed Sheffield out, but neither has it robbed the city of its array of traditional pubs. There are also new and exciting restaurants springing up all over the place, meaning that the eating place lurking around the next corner is as likely to be a Mediterranean tapas bar as a fish and chip shop.
By far the trendiest area in Sheffield, the Devonshire Quarter is close to the city centre and is the place to be seen in Sheffield, especially at the weekend. This is where the majority of the new cafe-bars are situated, most of which are quite relaxed during the day but come alive at night. Bar Coast (Division Street) is fairly typical, with sofas, bright colors and lots of stainless steel; there is also a full menu (prices are reasonable). Similarly, RSVP Bar and J.D.Wetherspoons (both Cambridge Street) provide freshly-prepared meals (around £5 for main courses) and attract mainly young professionals. The Forum Cafe (Division Street) has a real split personality: during the day it doubles up as an art gallery and is very sedate, but at night it has a genuine party atmosphere, with DJ's playing throughout the week. The Havana Internet Cafe is also worth a visit and last but not least, the Halcyon Bar (Devonshire Street) is possibly the coolest place to be seen in Sheffield, with minimalist decor, a late license (until 1 am) and the added lure of Absinthe.
If these bars seem a bit too trendy, however, there's always The Yorick (Division Street), a traditional pub which nevertheless gets very busy at weekends. Or, if you're looking for somewhere a bit different, you could do worse than The Walkabout Inn (Carver Street) which is an Australian-themed pub and includes a dance floor, a beer garden, karaoke and live music. Those with strong stomachs, however, should head straight for the Frog & Parrot (Division Street) which allegedly has the strongest beer in the world, aptly called "Roger and Out". The Devonshire Quarter also houses a number of popular restaurants. BB's Italian Restaurant (Devonshire Street) offers good service and the opportunity to take your own wine, whereas Pizza Express (Devonshire Street) continues the area's stainless steel theme (this is Sheffield, after all!) and offers a good selection of freshly-baked pizzas, while ASK Pizza and Pasta (Cambridge Street) is sophisticated and spacious. Less conventional restaurants include The Mad Greek (Fitzwilliam Street), which is huge and includes plate-smashing, dancing and singing, and Bistro Casablanca (Devonshire Street), which has a Continental atmosphere and a live jazz band.
Close to the Devonshire Quarter is West Street, which begins as Glossop Road and leads directly to the city centre. West Street is not quite as 21st century as the Devonshire Quarter, but it does have a very good selection of restaurants and bars and is well worth a visit. The most noticeable bar is indisputably The Cavendish (partly because it is bright yellow). The emphasis here is clearly on fun and quiz nights, comedy and karaoke are all regular features. Closer to town is Sheffield's most kitsch establishment, Flares 70's Revival Bar, which serves lunches by day and dons an afro wig by night and has an atmosphere that makes it seem more like a club. Other places worth stopping off at for a drink include the very large Edwards Bar, the very busy Foundry and Firkin and Scruffy Murphy's. West Street also has a number of popular and interesting restaurants to choose from. Two easily-confused restaurants are Que Tal? and K Pasa (both Glossop Road) as they are practically next door to one another. K Pasa is an Italian restaurant which is very lively and suitable for large parties, whereas Que Tal? offers a wide selection of Mexican, Italian and Spanish dishes.
Another street which seems to be entirely made up of restaurants and bars is Ecclesall Road. If you like Italian food, this is definitely the place to go as you will simply be spoilt for choice here. Santino's Ristorante Italiano is particularly recommended (not least because you can take your own wine and they even provide you with reading glasses if you've forgotten yours!) but Caffe Uno, The Pomona and Trattoria Romana also serve delicious food at reasonable prices. However, Ecclesall Road has not been completely colonized by Italy; Café Rouge is a French restaurant which is thoroughly deserving of its popularity, whereas Nonnas Cafe and Restaurant, though Italian-based, is a European-style cafe-bar which serves lovely food from the whole continent and even has a deli counter so you can buy the ingredients afterwards.
Champs Sports Bar and Restaurant is perhaps Ecclesall Road's most popular venue. Split into two sections, one side is a relaxed American restaurant while the other is a thriving bar which specializes in cocktails and is decorated with sports memorabilia. Other bars worth trying include The Slug and Fiddle, which is spacious and often has live bands and DJs playing, and The Nursery Tavern, a busy pub with a beer garden and a good reputation for food.
Although these three areas are the busiest places in Sheffield and have the most bars and restaurants per square mile, there is far more to the city than this. For example, more upmarket restaurants include Thyme (Sandygate Road), an interesting and original English restaurant, and the Mediterranean Restaurant (Sharrow Vale Road), which specializes in seafood and tapas. Other bars worth checking out include All Bar One (Leopold Street), which attracts a lively crowd of young professionals, and Empire Bar (Charter Square), with its distinctive movie-themed atmosphere. Finally, the area of Broomhill is worthy of a mention. There are a number of busy and friendly pubs here, such as The Fox and Duck and O'Neills' Irish Bar (both Fulwood Road), a recently-refurbished cafe-bar (Hanrahans, Glossop Road) and one or two interesting places to eat out such as UK Mama.
Whatever "Entertainment" means to you - whether it's music, the theatre, history, the arts, the cinema or the chance to watch top-class sporting events - you'll find plenty of opportunities in Sheffield for a great day or evening out.
Sheffield Arena and the Don Valley Stadium are both major venues, which have recently hosted concerts by superstars such as Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones and the Spice Girls. Big names in pop and rock music regularly appear at the City Hall as well as at the students' unions of Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University and live music is also on offer at the Leadmill and the Boardwalk.
A range of pubs and clubs (venues vary but are listed weekly in the Sheffield Telegraph) are a showcase for local talent. There should be plenty of interesting groups about; bands such as ABC, Human League, Pulp and Moloko all built up their reputations in Sheffield's smaller clubs.
Sheffield's clubs also have an excellent national profile. Perhaps the most famous is the Gatecrasher night at the Republic, where DJs such as Radio One's Judge Jules host extremely popular evenings. Other club nights worth a visit include most nights at Roundhouse and NY SUSHI.
Classical music fans will find touring opera (and ballet) companies at the Lyceum. Also look out for the winter Philharmonic Concerts at the City Hall and the Music in the Round series, which is based around performances by Sheffield's own resident string quartet, the Lindsays at the Studio.
Sheffield Theatres comprise three separate houses: the Lyceum offers touring companies in plays and musicals, the Crucible stages its own productions and the Crucible Studio presents more experimental drama. Amateur and semi-professional theatre also flourishes at the Library Theatre, at the Montgomery Theatre (in the city centre), the University Drama Studio (on Glossop Road) and at the Merlin Theatre in Nether Edge. If you're in Sheffield in the pantomine season, an extremely popular Christmas panto is produced by the Manor Operatic Society at the City Hall each year.
Four large multi-screen multiplexes show all the latest commercial blockbusters. These are: the town centre Odeon; UCI at Crystal Peaks; Warner Village at Meadowhall and UGC at Valley Centertainment. Sheffield also has a four-screen independent cinema, the Showroom, which has an excellent reputation and offers a varied programme of international films.
Museums and Galleries
City Museum, in Weston Park, has permanent displays of archaeology, including Egyptian mummies, natural history exhibits, ceramics and clocks and an excellent programme of children's activities. Next door is the Mappin Art Gallery, which houses the city's collection of old masters and other artworks from before 1900. More recent art is displayed at the Graves Art Gallery in Surrey Street. John Ruskin's unique collection of drawings, objects and paintings, The Guild of St George Collection, is one of the major attractions in the world-class Millennium Galleries.
The city's industrial heritage is not forgotten. "Little mesters" workshops from the cutlery trade are preserved at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, and a whole street of them is recreated at Kelham Island Museum, which also displays original forges, factories and rolling mills used during the industrial heyday of Sheffield, which was once the world's leading "steel city".
Everyday life over the last 150 years is recalled in the exhibits at the Traditional Heritage Museum at Hunter's Bar and tours of Sheffield Town Hall are available during summer months. If you are visiting Sheffield with children, consider taking them to the Fire/Police Museum; most young visitors love the accessible fire engines here.
The contemporary arts scene also flourishes in Sheffield. The Cupola Gallery in Hillsborough and the Site Gallery in the developing Cultural Industries Quarter provide excellent exhibitions.
Sheffield's many parks make popular destinations in themselves, as do the Botanical Gardens and historic sites like the Tudor Bishop's House in Meersbrook Park, or the Shepherd's Wheel in Bingham Park and Whiteley Woods. The animals at Graves Park and Rare Breeds Centre or Whirlow Hall Farm are worth a visit, and family fun is available at Heeley City Farm or Greentop Community Circus. Children will love the indoor adventure play facilities at Just for Kids.
If you're visiting with a car or have access to one, consider visiting the spectacular scenery of the Peak District National Park, which is accessible within a twenty-minute drive of Sheffield city centre. Try the Peak District Tour detailed in the "Recommended Tours" section of this site, or visit Hathersage village and the beautiful 13th century St Michael's and All Angel's Church, where Charlotte Bronte found inspiration for Jane Eyre. Visit picturesque villages and market towns like Bakewell or Eyam, or historic houses and gardens such as Chatsworth. Specialist museums such as the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock, or the National Tramway Museum in Crich are also accessible within a thirty minute drive. Alternatively, explore caves and historic mine-workings at the Blue John mines - or ride the Flying Scotsman from Bakewell to Buxton on Peak Rail.
Families will also enjoy the Chestnut Centre owl and otter sanctuary or the very popular Gulliver's Kingdom theme park which specializes in entertaining the under-12s.
At a similar distance, just off the A57 to Worksop is the Tropical Butterfly House; carry on in the same direction for the ice-age dwellings at Creswell Crags. Cannon Hall Museum and gardens is situated in Barnsley and the Museum of South Yorkshire and Brodsworth Hall and Gardens are in Doncaster.
Football's first ever team was formed in Sheffield in the 1890s, and today the city is home to rival teams Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.
Snooker fans will know that the annual international snooker is held in Sheffield each May, at the Crucible. The successful Sheffield Steelers ice-hockey team and the Sheffield Sharks, who play basketball, have both built up a following for their matches at Sheffield Arena. Horse-racing is close at hand at Doncaster Racecourse. Owlerton Stadium offers greyhound racing and the Owerlton Stadium Restaurant is a great place to eat, drink, place bets and watch the races. For more active participation in traditional sports, search under the Sports section of this site.
You can also participate in Offroad Activity Days, Paintballing games, blast laser guns at Laserzone or go ten-pin bowling at Hollywood Bowl. Corporate activity days are available at all these venues, at the Cable Water Ski Centre, the Sheffield Ski Village (which has the largest dry ski slope in Europe as well as tobaggan runs, excellent tuition and refreshment facilities) and at the Hilton Hotel.
The more adventurous may also like to try Fencing, Stunt Training, or learn circus skills at Greentop Community Circus Centre. Photo by: J.P. Oakar
Sheffield, now England's fourth city, has a fascinating history. From housing Mary Queen of Scots to being badly bombed during World War Two, the city is full of history. Today much of its architecture is modern, but remnants of its past still survive, scattered around the city centre and suburbs.
The remains of an Iron Age settlement still exist, at Wincobank Hill Fort, on the city's northern outskirts. However, Sheffield did not begin to grow into a town until the twelfth century, when it developed around a Norman castle built where the River Sheaf and the River Don join. Both this timber castle and the stone version built to replace it in 1270 have now disappeared, but the Castle Foundations are still intact, accessible via a door which leads down beneath the city's Castle Market.
Mary Queen of Scots, who was held prisoner in Sheffield between 1570 and 1584, was housed both in the castle and in the "Turret House" of Sheffield's original Manor Lodge. (Both can be visited by groups who pre-book, but a good view of the exteriors is also available from Manor Lane.)
Sheffield's oldest surviving building is the Old Queen's Head pub in Pond Hill. The pub dates from around 1480 and its timber frame is still intact. Bishop's House (now a museum) dates from around 1500. Various monuments which document Sheffield's history can be found around the city; these include a surviving Police Box; the Cholera Monument (a tribute to victims of the devastating cholera outbreak which Sheffield experienced in 1832); the "Mi Amigo" memorial stone and the King Ecgbert Memorial at Dore, which dates from 829.
Sheffield has a worldwide reputation for its steel and cutlery industries, both of which are still active today. Cutlery-making has been established as a local trade since the Middle Ages and signs of this heritage are visible throughout the city. Specialist cutlery shops still trade; Cutlers' Hall (built in 1832) still stands, and Mr Shepherd's Wheel and Grinding Shop, where water-powered machines originally used to sharpen cutlery are displayed, has been preserved as a museum. A Monument to Thomas Boulsover, who invented Sheffield Plate in 1742, marks the site of his mill, off Whiteley Wood Road. The Joseph Rodgers & Sons plaque is a tribute to one of Sheffield's foremost cutlery firms. In the mid 18th century, industrialists taking advantage of the coal, iron ore and streams naturally available in the region began to produce steel. Crucible steel was invented by Benjamin Huntsman, who set up Attercliffe Works in 1772 and the industry took off. Within a hundred years, Sheffield had become the world's dominant steel-producing area. Large factories were erected and huge developments of terraced houses were built for the workers. Steel-making factories still exist in Sheffield, and the Kelham Island Industrial Museum offers an excellent introduction to Sheffield's industrial past. One of Henry Bessemer's famous "Converters", which from 1855 allowed steel to be produced more cheaply and on a much larger scale than previously, is displayed here. Huntsman's house and grave can also be visited.
Sheffield's original tram system was one of the earliest and most extensive networks in Britain. It was established in 1873 and trams were horse-drawn until 1899, when the first electric routes opened. The system was powered by electricity from 1899 and quickly developed until it covered the whole city. It eventually closed in 1960 but a modern Supertram network opened in 1994. Some of the original tram rails are visible on The Moor, one of Sheffield's main shopping streets. Visit the Sheffield Bus Museum to see renovated original vehicles.
Sheffield University was founded in 1905. Some of its oldest buildings are situated in Firth Court, behind which the Arts Tower, Britain's tallest university building, is visible. Sheffield Polytechnic became Sheffield Hallam University in 1992. Between them, the universities attract an unusually large number of students to Sheffield; this is reflected in the city's impressive music and clubbing scenes and has led to the establishment of many new bars, restaurants and cafes.
Sheffield today is a lively city, with a large student population and an impressive music industry, which has produced many famous bands, such as Heaven 17, The Human League, Def Leppard, and, more recently, Pulp and Moloko.
The city had to overcome an extended period of economic depression as its primary industries gradually decreased (the effects of this were depicted in the award-winning film "The Full Monty".) However, in the last ten years, urban regeneration has led to a dramatic growth in the city's shopping, entertainment and sports facilities. Since Sheffield was named the UK's first City of Sport, recent developments include the establishment of the Don Valley Stadium, the Meadowhall complex, the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the Sheffield Ski Village, which houses Europe's largest dry ski slopes. The amateur Sheffield Football Club is the oldest football club world-wide, and both Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday are extremely popular locally.
These developments, as well as the city's thriving arts and cultural projects, have helped to transform Sheffield into a modern, thriving city with a friendly, cosmopolitan atmosphere and a fascinating past, which attracts visitors from around the world.