Sheffield, England: 20 Magnificent Places to Visit
Updated On: October 31, 2022
Sheffield is a quiet, mountainous city in the county of South Yorkshire, England. It has been a leading industrial city throughout history, but don’t be fooled by its manufacturing stature; it is also the UK’s greenest city. ‘The city of steel” is famed for its contribution to the Industrial Revolution.
Sheffield is bordered by the town of Rotherham to the East, and the Peak District National Park mountains to the West. In the North East, there are the cities of Doncaster and Hull. If you head North, you will find the town of Barnsley as well as the cities of Wakefield and Leeds. Heading South from Sheffield, you will arrive in the cities of Nottingham and Derby, as well as the towns of Chesterfield and Dronfield.
Sheffield City has been an ideal place for investment since the industrial revolution. The city has earned an esteemed reputation for its iron and steel industry, as well as its agriculture. At the beginning of the nineties, Sheffield began to focus and flourish in other aspects of city life, such as sports, entertainment, and culture.
History of Sheffield
- The city has been inhabited by people since the Stone Age, about 12800 years ago.
- The Brigantes tribe built many fortresses on the hills around the city during the Iron Age. Sheffield was actually the Southern most part of the Brigantes’ territory.
- A market was established in the town known as Castle Square in 1292, which contributed to many small commercial needs.
- Sheffield became an important centre for the sale of cutlery in the country during the 1600s, thanks to their development of stainless steel.
Weather in Sheffield
Sheffield’s climate is mild with nice weather in the Summer, which is arguably the best time to visit many attractions in and around the city. During the Winter you can expect cold and rainy conditions from November to February. In 1882, the coldest temperature ever was recorded as 14.6 degrees below zero, but this was an extremely rare occurrence! In the summer of 2022, temperatures reached as high 39 degrees, but the weather is rarely too hot or too cold to be uncomfortable and like many parts of the UK, rainfall is frequent throughout the year.
More Information about Sheffield
- There are two prestigious universities in the city, the University of Sheffield and Hallam University. The University of Sheffield has been ranked within the top 20 best universities in the UK.
- Sheffield is considered one of the greenest cities in the world, with green spaces for about 60% of its area.
- The city has more than 250 parks, gardens, and forests and about 4.5 million trees.
- The city is ranked as having one of the best quality of living standards in the country. It is relatively affordable and regarded as safe and friendly.
- Sheffield Football Club was the first club established in the city in 1857 and is actually the oldest football club in the world!
Things to do in Sheffield
Sheffield is one of Britain‘s most beautiful cities thanks to its many gardens and orchards, as well as the abundant historical locations that can be discovered in the area, dating as far back as the middle ages.
In this article we will explore Sheffield, as well as the best things to do and places you should visit, so pack your bags and let’s begin our journey!
Sheffield Town Hall
The Sheffield Town Hall was built in a Renaissance revival style in 1897. It was extended in 1910 and 1923. The town hall is famous for its 193-foot height and the figure of Vulcan on top of it. The figure holds an arrow, and is a symbol of Sheffield’s steel industry as Vulcan was the ancient Roman God of fire and metal-working.
The town hall is surrounded by many other attractions that you may like to visit, such as Tudor Square, a range of museums, and theatres. In the north, you will find Castle Square, Castle Market, and underground shopping centres. Fans of architecture should definitely add the town hall to their travel bucket-list!
Next up is another beautiful building that you may like to visit. Sheffield Cathedral was built in 1100 in a late Gothic style. It was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul and was originally a parish church. It was elevated to cathedral-status in 1914.
When you enter the cathedral, you will see the marble tomb of the Earl of Shrewsbury. You will also find the black oak portable sedilia at St Katherines chapel (the seat used by the bishops), dating back to the 15th century.
The stained glass decoration is hauntingly beautiful and was added in the 1960s. If you visit the cathedral, you can book guided tours and educational programs to get to know more about the magnificent history of the site.
Weston Park Museum
The Weston Park Museum is the largest museum in Sheffield. It was built in 1875 to be the home of the Mappin Art Gallery, which was comprised of a beautiful collection of artworks given to the museum by a local businessman from the steel industry.
You can discover natural history, archaeology, social history, and much more at the museum. It also includes 250 paintings by many artists, medieval armour and products from the Bronze Age. The museum also has a nice grounds and park to stroll around in as well as a shop and café inside the park.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
The Sheffield Botanical Gardens is a 19-acre piece of land, home to over 5,000 species of plants. It was established in 1836 and is located just off the Ecclesall Road. It is such a great place to spend some time in, especially in spring and summer when plants bloom.
The Sheffield Botanical Gardens contains Grade II-listed plants from India, South Africa, and Australia, a glasshouse and a Victorian garden. It is the perfect place for kids to play and have a great time. Moreover the Garden frequently hosts art and musical events, taking full advantage of the area.
You can enjoy visiting themed gardens, such as the Winter Garden, which includes 2,500 plants and is known as the most significant temperate glasshouse in the UK. You can also visit the Rose Garden and Evolution Garden as well as the Four Seasons Garden, to name just a few.
The Millennium Gallery
The Millennium Gallery is perfect for people who love art. It includes design exhibitions, metalwork, contemporary art, and Ruskin collections. There are a few art galleries in Sheffield, and you can even have a cup of coffee at one of the gallery cafes after appreciating the art..
Other attractions near the Millennium Gallery are the Lyceum Theatre and the Crucible Theatre, which were restored and reopened in 1990.
Graves Art Gallery
Another Art Gallery in the area is the Graves Gallery, located just above the Central Library. It was opened in 1934 and hosts many permanent collections of British and European art from the 18th century, aiming to tell the story of the development of Art. The temporary collections feature many famous artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Andy Warhol.
Meadowhall Shopping Centre
Meadowhall Shopping Centre is a lovely place to visit when you are in the city. It is the largest mall in Yorkshire where you can shop till you drop! You can shop at Apple, Armani, and many more luxurious brands.
The Chatsworth House is about 16 miles south west of Sheffield’s city centre. A part of the manor-born English countryside, Chatsworth House was home to many Dukes for centuries.
If you visit the house and enter it, you will see a lovely view of the River Derwent and the woodland slopes. Inside Chatsworth House, you will find many art collections, including paintings and hand-crafted furniture. 4000 years worth of art are on show in the house, featuring ancient Roman and Egyptian sculptures, masterpieces by Rembrandt and Veronese, as well as the work of modern artists, including Lucian Freud and David Nash.
You may recognise the house; several films including Pride and Prejudice and Duchess have been shot on location. It has also featured in TV shows such as The Crown and Peaky Blinders.
This is probably my pick for the most interesting location on the list. There is something special about visiting the real life locations of your favourite TV shows and movies (such as the Game of Thrones attraction in Belfast) that adds to magic of storytelling. As with any popular location, you should book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tropical Butterfly House
The Tropical Butterfly House is a top attraction for families in Sheffield. It is the home of butterflies, as well as an array of beauties such as owls, otters, meerkats, reptiles, and much more.
It is also a lovely place for animal lovers; you can learn all about exotic animals, feed them, and take pictures of with them and the butterflies. After exploring the area, you can relax at the café that serves lunch and snacks.
Families and nature-lovers will enjoy a great day out at the Tropical Butterfly House!
Visiting the Tropical Butter House is one of the best things to do in Sheffield for families and nature lovers!
Beauchief Abbey and Ancient Woodlands
The Beauchief Abbey merges the remains of an abbey built in the 12th century and a chapel built in 1660. Formerly a medieval monastic house, the abbey now serves as a local parish church for the surrounding area.
There are worship services hosted in the monastery, and you can find guided tours to learn more about the history of the abbey. You should be able to spot the ruins of part of the monastery
You can also visit the ancient woodlands near the abbey, including Old Park Wood and Park bank Wood, you may even spot some rare woodpecker species found in the area. The forest has walkable footpaths
There are two golf courses on the old estate, Abbeydale Golf Club and Beauchief Golf Club. You can enjoy a game surrounded by the ancient woodlands!
Graves Park is about 3 or 4 miles away from Sheffield city centre. It is considered the city’s most significant public green space park. You can do many things inside the park. Kids will love the Grave Park Animal Farm, where they can see some lovely animals such as llamas and donkeys.
There are also playgrounds where kids can play and do many activities like exploring nature trails and practising sports such as tennis, football, and cricket. During the summer you can bring a picnic with you for a fun activity that is cheap and cheerful. There is also a café with hot food and toilets nearby. You can even take a train ride around the pond in the park if you wish!
The Bishop’s House is one of Sheffield’s hidden gems. A half timbered house built in the 16th century Tudor period, it is one of the best museums in Sheffield and has been operating since 1976.
The Bishop’s house appears to be the last surviving building of its time in Norton Lees. At the time Norton Lees was a tiny village in the Derbyshire countryside, near to the (then) town of Sheffield.
When you visit the place, you will find that it consists of two rooms and exhibitions showing Sheffield’s history during the Tudor and Stuart era. The house hosts many events in art and culture, as well as weddings, music concerts, and family gatherings.
Kelham Island Museum
Kelham Island Museum is located in one of Sheffield’s oldest industrial districts, with many exhibits, including a showcase of steel and silverware from the past 300 years. The museum also contains many collections of vehicles and tools. One of the most popular things you can see in the museum is the River Don steam engine, built in 1905 and used at local steel mills.
Kelham Museum stands on a manmade island that is over 900 years old! You can learn what it was like to live in Sheffield during the Industrial revolution, while you follow the growth of the city through the Victorian era and two World Wars to better understand how modern Sheffield was formed.
New Moor Market
New Moor Market is in the Moor District in the city. It includes plenty of interesting and unique shops, with about 200 stalls and small shops that represent some of Sheffield’s enterprise, The market sells many things like fresh foods, fish, seafood, meat, and also has shops for homeware like handmade crafts, clothing, jewellery, and much more.
Peveril Castle is about 16 miles west of Sheffield’s city centre, isolated on a rocky hilltop and surely one of the most dramatically sited castles in England, overlooking the village of Castletown. The Peveril Castle was built sometime between 1066-1086 near Sheffield City.
The Keep around the castle was built by king Henry in 1176, after William Peveril’s son forfeited ownership to the king. It was used as a defending fortress throughout history and is one of the oldest Norman fortresses found in England today.
The castle now consists of ruins on top of the hill where you can see some beautiful views of Castleton village and beyond. While you’re there, you should visit Castleton. There, you can learn more about English history and explore the countryside as well.
The Peak District National Park is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in England. It consists of mountains and wild moorland, making it the perfect place for nature lovers.
The majority of the Peak district park is in the county of Derbyshire, but a small part of the park is considered to be in Sheffield. The national park is too beautiful to leave out of our list. It is just over 13 miles to get to the park form Sheffield and you should be there well under an hour, traffic permitting.
The National Park is an excellent place for taking pictures, hiking, and riding a bike. Escape your everyday routine and enjoy a day to remember at this magnificent upland!
National Emergency Services Museum
The National Emergency Services Museum is one of the top attractions in Sheffield city. It contains many collections of more than 50 vintage vehicles, including police cars, ambulances, fire engines, as well as equipment and tools.
One of the most exciting things about the museum is that you can rent one of these cars for a tour around the city or even for private strolls! The tour includes visiting the police horse stable and old prison cells.
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a beautiful 18th-century Victorian village. It is 3 miles away from Sheffield, and a place where you will get to know more about traditional steel production. The Hamlet has water wheels, warehouses, grinding hulls, workshops, and workers’ cottages.
There is also a learning centre that hosts educational programs. You can relax and unwind at the cafe near the centre after a day of discovery.
Sheffield Winter Garden is well-known as the most extensive urban glasshouse in Europe. The garden is in the centre of the city of Sheffield. The place includes more than 2,000 plants from every part of the world, and the building is made of materials that change colour over time. It is a lovely place to explore and enjoy yourself at.
Last but certainty not least is Cutlers hall. As we have mentioned, Sheffield is famous for steel, but did you know that it is also renowned for its steel cutlery. Cutlers’ Hall is a Grade II listed building in Sheffield and the headquarters of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
Cutlers Hall is located on Church Street opposite Sheffield’s cathedral in the city centre. The current hall was built in 1832; the previous buildings were built in the same location in 1638 and 1725 respectively. That’s almost 400 years of history in the heart of Sheffield!
The hall was the place where Sheffield’s guild of metal workers operated. Sheffield’s history of steel making dates as far back as the 13th century. In 1913 Harry Brearley of Sheffield was credited with inventing the first true form of ‘rustless’ (stainless) steel. The metal guild of Sheffield began using this invention to manufacture surgical scalpels, tools and cutlery, driving technology and quality of life forward.
You can book a tour in advance at the official Company of Cutlers’ website, which roughly lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes. You can even buy a ticket that entitles to you to Afternoon Tea after the tour. If you want to learn about Sheffield’s steel history during the Industrial Revolution and beyond, you will enjoy visiting Cutlers’ Hall. There are also many historic Sheffield knives on display!
Thank you for reading this article, we would love to hear from you if you think we should add anything to our list. There is so much to do and see in Sheffield, so we have tried our best to include as much information as possible. If you live in the area or have visited the city of Steel before, why not leave a few recommendations in the comments!
You can also check out other travel guides on our blog including:
Belfast Travel Guide | Dublin Travel Guide | Northern Ireland Travel Guide | London Travel Guide |