At first, Sheffield seems a rather unassuming city but don’t let it fool you, there’s a lot on offer in this city of contrasts. The friendly locals may greet you with an ‘alreyt duck?’ rather than a hello and you should certainly be prepared to challenge your calf muscles unless you make best use of public transport and taxis, but there are few places where you can enjoy action and relaxation in such harmony as Sheffield.
Sheffield at a glance:
- Saunter into Sheffield centre from the train station and appreciate the sculptures and water features on your route – or just stay in the station to enjoy one of the country’s best railway pubs
- Absorb some true Sheffield culture at the Crucible theatre, whether the drama is snooker or stage related, it’s a hotspot all year round
- Stretch your legs in the surrounding hillsides or unwind in the city centre’s green spaces including the Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens and Botanical Gardens.
- Drink and dine in style on trendy Devonshire Street
Division Street/Devonshire street – the place to drink and be seen, especially in summer These two parallel streets are home to some of Sheffield’s trendiest bars including The Forum, The Old House, The Great Gatsby and Bungalows & Bears. Whether your musical taste is indie or hard house, you’ll find a night and venue to suit. In the summer, The Forum serves up drinks on its stylish outdoor patio and the nearby Devonshire Green comes alive with a continental vibe.
West End/West Street – the place where nights begin Thanks to its sheer length and variety of pubs, bars and restaurants, West Street is a great spot for stags on the move. You’ll find the usual mix of chain bars and restaurants along with some more unique independents. This is a popular place for revellers to start their night before moving on to Division Street or dancing the night away further afield.
Ecclesall Road – a stylish suburban hub With restaurants, bars, coffee shops and some of the best pubs in the city all nestled in one area, there’s no real reason to leave Ecclesall Road once you’ve landed, which is exactly why many of the city’s students who live here struggle to leave. You’ll find a hub of decent coffee shops heading towards Hunters Bar, which make great spots to watch the world go by. Also perfect for a little people watching (or hangover nursing) are the nearby Endcliffe Park and the Botanical Gardens.
The Moor – a secret spot for discerning shoppers and clubbers alike When it comes to shopping spots the Moor often misses a mention but as home to an excellent market as well as department store Debenhams and a handful of other high street favourites, it definitely deserves a shout. But you are just as likely to find yourself here late at night sampling one of the many takeaways, thanks to its location between nightclubs DQ and Plug.
The Peak District – a picturesque place for out some outdoor adventure One third of Sheffield is classed as being in the Peak District, so visitors to the Steel City should be prepared to tackle an incline or two. Those with leanings towards athleticism or an appreciation of nature may want to explore the nearby countryside, with many of the popular tourist hotspots easily accessible by train or bus.
Best bars and pubs in Sheffield:
Make sure you pack your dancing shoes because whether you’re an indie kid or a dance music devotee, the clubs of Sheffield have a dancefloor with your name on it.
O2 Academy, Arundel Gate -www.o2academysheffield.co.uk/There’s a band or DJ playing most nights as well as crowd-pleasing, indie-focussed club nights. Expect reasonably priced drinks and chart and retro anthems.
The Leadmill, Leadmill Road -www.leadmill.co.uk/An historic gig venue that still welcomes many upcoming and big name bands and artists, as well as comedy nights. Live music is the staple ingredient but it’s a bit hit for its indie anthem club nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Monday night is student night here but the crowd is welcoming and the drinks reasonably priced.
Plug, Matilda St -www.the-plug.com/Described by DJ Annie Mac as one of her favourite places to play in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Small enough to be intimate without being cramped, Plug regularly welcomes top DJs, bands and artists that span drum’n’bass through to rock’n’roll. Many of its club nights boast real bargain drinks prices too.
Corporation, Milton Street -www.corporation.org.uk/If you’re a fan of metal, classic rock or anything in between the Corporation should be on your to-do list. Inside this cavernous space at the very bottom of Devonshire Green you’ll find a maze of rooms that can be a little harder to navigate after a reasonably priced drink or two.
Fez, Rockingham Street -www.clubfez.co.uk/Fez combines a warehouse feel with a great sound system in a very casual dance venue. The music here tends to be on the dance spectrum and you can sometimes expect late night antics to go on until 6am.
Kelham Island Tavern, Russell Street -www.kelhamtavern.co.uk/Kelham Island is a little out of the way of the main drinking hub but if you venture out here you’ll be rewarded with good beer in a relaxed setting, complete with beer garden.
The Broadfield, Abbeydale Road -www.thebroadfield.co.uk/You’ll most likely need to hop on a bus or into a taxi to get to Abbeydale Road. Once there, enjoy one of their many bottled beers, sample some whiskies and tuck into a proper pie or two.
The Fat Cat, Alma Street -www.thefatcat.co.uk/Just a few minutes walk from the Kelham Island district, this pub is known for its gins as well as a fine selection of ales including some local favourites.
The Sheffield Tap, Sheffield Railway Station -www.sheffieldtap.com/Put concisely, the Sheffield Tap makes it very hard for travellers to ever get out of the train station, whether they’re arriving in the city or attempting to leave. Simple, unpretentious and with plenty of beers to sample, it’s a rare gem.
Bath Hotel, Victoria Street -www.beerinthebath.co.uk/Situated just off West Street, you’ll want to take a diversion to sample the guest beers here, perfect for wash down a hog roast sandwich.
The Devonshire Cat, Wellington Street -www.devonshirecat.co.uk/Surprisingly large, The Devonshire Cat sits just below Devonshire Green and above Corporation, making it a popular starting point for people heading into town or on to a club. It has a good selection of draught and bottle beers and is a very comfortable spot from which to watch the world go by.
The York, Fulwood Road -www.theyorksheffield.co.uk/Don’t let its position in student-packed Broomhill put you off. It’s a very old pub dating back to the 1830s, so it’s had plenty of time to perfect its real ale and cider selection, not to mention a manly food menu that features home-smoked meats with cheese.
Frog & Parrot, Division Street When all of the fashionable bars on Division Street get too much, head to the Frog & Parrot and you’ll probably be lucky enough to catch some live music as well as some cask conditioned ale.
Food: eat like a local:
Sheffield folks like their food and there’s a real international feel to many of the city’s cafes and restaurants, as well as plenty of places to find a perfectly executed Sunday lunch.
Start your day with a big brekkie at central Eten Café (www.etensheffield.co.uk/) on York Street – it’s worth knowing they will let you takeaway in boxes too.
Another strong contender for the ultimate Full English is Urban Deli (www.urbandeli.co.uk/) on Campo Lane, which does offer delivery.
For snacks, the Moor Market offers up all kinds of cuisine from Russian stews to beef burgers. Sheffield particularly excels at providing all kinds of exquisite Asian food, from cracking curries through to superb sushi, noodles and teppanyaki – head to Wasabi Sabi (www.wasabisabi.co.uk/) on London road for some of the best.
Dine in style at gastropub The Milestone (www.the-milestone.co.uk/) on Green Lane, which offers Sunday brunch as well as lunch.
Also serving a solid Sunday lunch is the Old House (www.theoldhousesheffield.com/) on Devonshire Street. Looking for a venue with a bit of a buzz?
Try Cubana now (https://www.facebook.com/cubanatapasbar) situated in Leopold Square, here you’ll find a helping of salsa dancing alongside Spanish/Latin tapas.
The best view of the city:
With most of Sheffield seemingly sitting on a hill, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one viewpoint. If you fancy stretching your legs, take yourself to the top of Meersbrook Park for a unique perspective of the city and the surrounding hills. Also a secret spot for those in-the-know locals to gather on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks over Sheffield.
You can burn a lot of calories walking up and down Sheffield inclined streets or you can hop in a taxi and save your calf muscles some work. There’s also a reliable tram service and plenty of buses to take you from one watering hole or shop to the next.