England’s fourth largest city is located about 35 miles south of Leeds on the rivers Don and Rivelin at the foot of the Derbyshire hills. An industrial city, Sheffield is a popular base from which to explore the Peak District, renowned for its rural views, estates, mining towns and mineral springs. Sheffield also has many well-maintained parks and a beautiful green area for outdoor fun. Also popular, particularly among gardeners, is the 19-acre Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
If you’re there to enjoy the city’s many green spaces, it’s well worth visiting the center of this university town, where academic institutions have long worked closely with local industry, the most recent example being the Technology Park at the technical school. Sheffield is famous for knives, cutting tools of all kinds, weapons and high quality steel making, a fact that Chaucer noted in 1478 in his Canterbury Tales when he describes a ‘Sheffield thwitel’, the ancestor of the modern pocket knife. Once made in home workshops, Sheffield fine cutlery continues to be exported around the world.
1 Sheffield Botanical Gardens
A Grade II listed site, the beautiful 19-acre Sheffield Botanical Gardens was established in 1836 and showcases more than 5,000 plant species. This is a lovely place for a stroll – especially in spring and summer when many of the plants are in full bloom. Highlights include the greenhouses, also Grade II listed, with temperate plants from Australia, Asia and South Africa; the Victorian Garden; and the Four Seasons Garden, which is colorful any time of year. The gardens are a great place to take the kids (look for the friendly squirrels) and many music, art and theatrical events are hosted on the grounds. After exploring all the botanical beauties, relax in the hotel’s café. Best of all, admission is free.
Other popular gardens in Sheffield include the Winter Garden , with over 2,500 plants in one of the UK’s largest temperate greenhouses and the nearby Peace Gardens , which takes center stage with water features amid patches of immaculate lawns and many cafes.
Adres: Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Clarkehouse Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Official site: https://www.sbg.org.uk/
2 Graves Park
About three miles south of the city center, Graves Park is the city’s largest public green space and offers a fun array of things to do for the whole family. Kids love the Graves Park Animal Farm here, where they can see several rare species of farm animals and get up close to goats, llamas, and donkeys. There are also two playgrounds in the park for kids wanting to burn off some steam, and a little train zips across the ponds during weekends and school holidays. Other popular activities include exploring the nature trails; pouring a fishing line into the pond; and sports such as cricket, tennis and football. After all your active adventures, you can enjoy a snack in the café.
3 Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife & Falconry Centre
More than just butterflies, the Tropical Butterfly House is also home to meerkats, lemurs, farm animals, otters, owls, reptiles, free-flying birds of prey and brightly colored parrots. Animal lovers can experience close-up experiences with some of the more charismatic animals. You can pet a lemur, meet the meerkats, learn all about otters over a chat, feed the farm animals and spend hours photographing the butterflies up close. If you get hungry after meeting all the animals, the cafe here serves lunch, snacks and afternoon tea with homemade cakes.
Adres: Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Official site: https://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/
4 Kelham Island Museum
Kelham Island Museum – part of the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust – focuses on exhibits related to Sheffield’s industrial past, in particular steel and silverware from the past 300 years. Craftsmen can be seen at work in the Little Mesters workshop, while the huge River Don steam engine, built in 1905 and used in one of the local steel works, is regularly put through its paces. The museum also features an impressive collection of tools, along with historic vehicles. The area around the museum has also undergone a fair amount of redevelopment since its industrial heyday and is now popular for its restaurants and shops.
Address: Alma Street, Sheffield
Official site: www.simt.co.uk/kelham-island-museum
5 Sheffield Cathedral
Dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, Sheffield Cathedral stands on the site of a parish church founded in 1100. The new church, built in Late Gothic Perpendicular style, replaced it in the mid-15th century (only the chancel and the tower remains, and the nave was built in the late 18th century). When Sheffield became the bishop in 1914, there were plans to make the present church the crossroads of a new and much larger church, but this project fell victim to the two world wars, giving the church its unusual floor plan.
In the cathedral, note the font donated by Freemasons in 1884 and the marble tomb of the Earl of Shrewsbury († 1538), in which he can be seen between his two wives. the bishops used) in St Catherine’s Chapel dates from the 15th century, while the main decoration through the colorful stained glass windows in the chapterhouse depict the town’s history (these were added in the sixties). The most interesting of these, the Chaucer Window, depicts Trumpington’s miller (from the Reeve’s Tale) with his Sheffield knife. In addition to the popular coffee shop, the cathedral also offers regular educational programs and tours.
Adres: Church Street, Sheffield
Official site: www.sheffieldcathedral.org
6 Weston Park Museum
Sheffield’s largest museum, Weston Park Museum, was originally founded in 1875 to house the Mappin Art Gallery, an impressive collection of artwork that the city received from a local businessman who profited from the steel industry. The facility’s mandate grew over the years and today houses Sheffield’s history of natural history, archaeology, social history and decorative arts. Highlights include reproductions of Bronze Age art and armour, some 250 paintings by area artists, as well as numerous exhibitions from larger museums. Weston Park itself, comprising the grounds of the former estate, is also fun to explore.
Location: Western Bank, Sheffield
Official site: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/weston-park/home
7 National Emergency Services Museum
The National Emergency Services Museum – billed as the largest such museum in the world – is a must-visit in Sheffield. Highlights of the museum’s vast collection include more than 50 vintage vehicles, including countless fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances, along with uniforms and equipment. For a truly special treat, these historic vehicles can be rented for city tours or private functions, and regular kids’ fire engine rides are included with admission. Also worth a visit are the old police cells and horse stables.
Location: West Bar, Sheffield
Official site: www.emergencymuseum.org.uk
8 Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
Just three miles south-west of Sheffield city centre, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a fascinating 18th century Victorian village, where visitors can learn about the traditional production of steel scythes. This interesting tourist attraction features warehouses, workers’ cottages, water wheels, tilting hammers, a grindable hull and workshops, as well as the UK’s last intact crucible furnace. A new addition is the attraction’s Learning Center, which hosts educational programs and is home to a first-class café. In a similar vein, the historic Shepherd Wheel on the town’s Porter Brook allows visitors to peek into one of the country’s last surviving aquatic grinding workshops.
Adres: Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield
Official site: www.simt.co.uk/abbeydale-industrial-hamlet
9 Graves Art Gallery en de Millennium Gallery
Opened in 1934 above Sheffield’s Central Library , Graves Art Gallery contains an excellent collection of Old Masters and English art from the 18th century to the present, along with important artists of the 19th and 20th centuries such as Cézanne, Corot, Picasso and Braque. Other notable works of art include a collection of fine portraits and contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Art enthusiasts will also want to check out the nearby Millennium Gallery featuring metalwork, contemporary art, and design exhibits, as well as the city’s unique Ruskin collections. It also hosts touring exhibitions from partners such as the Victoria and Albert, the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery. Also nearby are the Lyceum Theater and the Crucible Theatre , reopened in 1990 after extensive restoration and the fascinating Site Gallery, home to an eclectic mix of moving images, new media and performance art.
Location: Arundel Gate, Sheffield
Official site: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/graves-gallery/home
10 Sheffield Town Hall
The colorful pedestrian areas of Orchard Square and Fargate, with their numerous shops, restaurants and cafes, lead south to Surrey Street, site of Sheffield’s Victorian Town Hall. Built in 1897 and extended in 1910 and 1923, this impressive neo-Renaissance building is notable for its 193-meter tower topped by a figure of Vulcan, the blacksmith god (look closely, and you’ll see him holding up the arrows that he has just forged, symbols of Sheffield’s predominant steel industry). To the east of the Town Hall is Tudor Square , home to several museums, theaters and Sheffield Town Hall . Castle Market and Castle Square, north of Tudor Square, are modern, partly underground shopping centres.
Adres: Pinstone Street, Sheffield
Official site: www.sheffield.gov.uk/out–about/tourist-information/town-hall.html
11 Bishop’s House Museum
Construction on the small half-timbered house, the best preserved structure in Sheffield, began in the 15th century, with further sections added during the 16th and 17th centuries. The history of the building is explained in two rooms and other exhibits cover Sheffield’s history during the Tudor and Stuart periods. Bishops’ House also hosts arts and cultural events and is a popular venue for folk music concerts, family parties and weddings. Another interesting historic building worth visiting is Sheffield Manor Lodge , a well-preserved Tudor manor house with a working farm and flower meadows.
Adres: Meersbrook Park, Norton Lees Lane, Sheffield
Official site: www.bishopshouse.org.uk
12 Elsecar Heritage Railway
About 10 miles from Sheffield, the Elsecar Heritage Railway is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and expansion of one of the area’s oldest railway lines. Highlights include an impressive collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock that once belonged to the South Yorkshire Railway. Budding engineers can even learn to drive a steam train through one of the train’s “footplate” courses (they also offer some fun themed field trips). The railway is adjacent to the Elsecar Heritage Centre , an antique, history and craft center in the former ironwork and mining workshops. Also of interest to transport enthusiasts is the South Yorkshire Transport Museumin Rotherham, with its collection of 50 vehicles, including buses, a tram, a locomotive and tractors.
Adres: Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley
Official site: www.elsecarrailway.co.uk
13 Beauchief Abbey en Ancient Woodlands
Combining the remains of an abbey founded in the mid-12th century and a chapel dating from 1660, Beauchief Abbey is well worth a visit (guided tours can be arranged in advance). The abbey still hosts regular worship services, but check schedules carefully.
A highlight of a visit is the chance to explore the beautiful ancient woodlands in the area, including Parkbank Wood, Old Park Wood and Ladies Spring Wood; the latter is popular among bird watchers for its many rare species of woodpecker. These ancient woodlands are wonderful to explore thanks to the many well-marked public footpaths that run through the area.
Location: Abbeydale, Sheffield
Official site: www.beauchiefabbey.org.uk
The coal mining town of Worksop, 17 miles southeast of Sheffield, offers several interesting things to do. Most popular for visitors are Worksop Priory; the Circle Arts Center, with live music and art performances; and Clumber Park , which boasts one of the longest glasshouses in England, along with extensive parkland, woodland, open moorland and farmland. The area was once home to the Dukes of Newcastle, but all that remains of the estate are the Gothic Revival chapel and Victorian walled garden with the greenhouse. Also worth a visit is Mr. Straw’s House , an Edwardian house with displays of Victorian furniture, family memorabilia and a garden.
Locatie: The Estate Office, Clumber Park, Worksop
Official site: www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/worksop
Where to Stay in Sheffield for Sightseeing
We recommend these highly rated hotels in Sheffield with easy access to the best shops, restaurants and attractions in the city:
- Mercure Sheffield St. Paul’s Hotel: 4-star spa hotel, modern building, stylish decor, indoor heated pool, sauna.
- Brocco on the Park: mid-range B&B, super stylish decor, thoughtful touches, freestanding baths, delicious breakfast.
- Hampton By Hilton Sheffield: 3-star hotel, comfortable rooms, hot breakfast included, gym.
- Premier Inn Sheffield City Center (St. Mary’s Gate) Hotel: budget hotel, modern decor, comfortable beds, family rooms.