Things to do in Sheffield | Insider Tips from a Local
Sheffield, England, is a thriving cosmopolitan city born from the Industrial era. Infamously known as the ‘Steel City’ due to the historical significance of steel manufacturing, Sheffield has a great heritage it can be proud of, and the locals aren’t afraid to show it.
Located in South Yorkshire at the tip of the peak district Pennines, there are many green spaces to explore. There are also several districts, each with unique things to do. Unlike other guides to the city, Sheffield is my hometown so I have packed this blog full of insider tips from a local. Discover the best areas in the day, where to visit at night, where is popular with student and all of the fun things to do in Sheffield.
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Fun Things to do in Sheffield
1) Challenge your skills in an Escape Room
If you’re looking for fun activities, try the Lock up Escape Room on London Road. Choose from 2 exciting games and work together with your friends to get out. Be warned, this experience could really test your friendships!
Buy tickets to the Lock up Escape Room
2) Party at Sheffield Tramlines Festival
Tramlines Festival is a summer weekend music festival that takes over the City during the last weekend of July. Hillsborough Park becomes home to some of the top music acts and performers. Sheffield city centre itself also becomes alive with the Tramlines fringe festival, hosting many free events and several nightclubs also hold Tramlines afterparties.
Tramlines attracts crowds from far and wide and is one of the most fun things to do in Sheffield.
3) Be part of the community at Peace in the Park Festival
Peace in the Park is a free summer festival at Ponderosa Park just outside the city centre. This free event is built on the values of community spirit and is a not-for-profit family festival you will enjoy. Expect live music, DJs, entertainment, and food stalls that run until around 8 pm.
4) Have an action packed day at Valley Centertainment
Valley Centertainment is Sheffield’s number 1 entertainment venue. Located outside of the centre, this district can be easily accessed by car or public transport. There are several restaurants, catering from fast-food to popular food chains. There is also a Cineworld cinema, Bowling Alley, Indoor Adventure Golf and Laser Quest. As well as a couple of places you can grab a beer!
5) See a major music or sports event at Sheffield Arena
Sheffield Fly DSA Arena is hub for all big gigs and music events. The arena is also home to the cities Ice Hockey team, the Sheffield Steelers. If you have any events booked, then the arena is easiest to get to by super tram on the Meadowhall route.
6) Catch a show at the Sheffield Theatres
You might have heard of the Sheffield Crucible from the world-famous snooker tournaments that happen here every year. However, you can also watch some of the top touring West End Shows as well as seasonal pantomimes. In the same district, is also the Lyceum Theatre that also puts on different events, including ballet and various musicals.
7) Get a taste of adrenaline at Rother Valley Country Park
Rother Valley Country Park is located South east of the centre and is a great spot for mountain biking. The centre of the park is a huge river that you can book water activities on, try your hard at jet skiing, pedal or row boats and paddle boarding.
Related Read: Top Adrenaline Things to do in the UK
8) Explore the Outdoors in one of the many parks
There are so many different places in Sheffield to walk your dog or just generally enjoy the outdoors. Graves Park is a large park with forest as well as open fields a golf course and even an animal farm. Heeley City Farm is also a smaller option if you want to see farm animals or stroll around the garden centre. Both of these options are perfect for animal lovers.
Other notable parks are Endcliffe Park and Weston Park that also has an art gallery. There are so many parks all over the city, you will have no problem finding miles of nature trails.
9) Run through the Fountains at Sheffield Peace Gardens
In the centre of the city is Sheffield Peace Gardens. This square is a place to relax and enjoy the views of the Sheffield Town Hall. In summer time this area can be busy with people relaxing on the grass, paddling in the waterfalls or running through the fountains.
10) Snap Photographs of Sheffield Cathedral
Sheffield Cathedral is an active place of worship in the centre of the City. Stop by to enjoy the gothic architecture of this once parish church turned Cathedral as you stroll through the town.
11) Grab a Comedy Show at Sheffield City Hall
Sheffield City Hall is a great indoor venue that provides orchestra, live music gigs, theatre productions and even comedy clubs. The architecture of the building is superb, set apart from other buildings with it’s four iconic pillars. The City Hall is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for fun things to do in Sheffield.
12) Explore the Industrial Heritage at the Kelham Island Museum
Kelham Island is one of the oldest industrial districts in Sheffield and is now a trendy neighbourhood that is particularly popular with students. There are plenty of unique and interesting places to dine, drink, or even party late into the night. If you’d like to take a culinary journey through the area, then book the taste of Kelham island tour for the ultimate long lunch.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable experience for the entire family, then make sure to visit the Kelham Island Museum. Step through the different centuries to see Sheffield throughout the industrial era. You can even see some of the great stream River Don Engine steam that powered the Steel City in action (12 pm and 2 pm), and kids can also enjoy the themed play area. Best of all, this is one of the FREE things to do in Sheffield!
13) Grab an Open Air Theatre Production at Sheffield Botanical Garden
Sheffield Botanical Garden is located on Thomson Road, just off Ecclesall Road. Not only are the grounds spectacular with beautiful colours and scents throughout the gardens, but there are also outdoor theatre shows available in the evenings. So if you’re like to enjoy the Sheffield Botanical gardens by day, then why not go on a ‘bear hunt’ and search out the painted bear sculptures. The Botanical Gardens are another of the free things to do in Sheffield.
14) Explore the Unique Greenhouse at Sheffield Winter Gardens
Contrary to its name, the Winter Gardens are open all year round and house beautiful flora and fauna in a unique urban glasshouse. Located next to the Peace Gardens and the Millennium Galleries, you can stop by the superb display as you wander the town. Best of all, the Winter Gardens are one of the free things to do in Sheffield.
15) Shop ’til you drop at Meadowhall shopping centre
Located in the North East of the City, this huge green shopping centre brings in crowds from surrounding regions. With shops ranging from high street favourites to up-market designers, and the quirky boutiques in between, there is something for everyone in Meadowhall.
Other shopping options include Crystal Peaks shopping centre and exploring the city moor market, or the antiques market which is just south of Sheffield City Centre.
Things to do at Night in Sheffield
16) Ecclesall Road
Ecclesall Road is just outside the city centre and is the most upmarket place to eat and drink in the City. Find restaurants and bars that range from cool and quirky, like the tram shed, to exclusive and sophisticated like Lost & Found. Ecclesall Road has limited street parking, so a taxi or bus to this area is recommended.
17) West Street
West Street is the main strip in Sheffield for nightlife. There are several bars, clubs, restaurants, and takeaways in this area. It is easiest to get to by tram or taxi.
18) Division Street
Division street is a road parallel to West Street that is a little less mainstream. However, this road is popular with students and people who are into alternative music. Several of the bars and clubs around this street cater to indie and rock music. There is also a big open-air skate park nearby in Devonshire Green.
Things to do in Sheffield, Insider Tips
I’ve taken you on a journey where you’ve found the top fun things to do in Sheffield. But, how much do you know about the city?
Here are my insider tips from a local
- While you can head to the main areas I’ve mentioned for bars, the nightclubs are further spread out. Popular venues include the Leadmill, Tank, the O2 Academy and Plug and you would never find them unless you know where to look! Most people just grab a taxi – City Taxi’s is the major chain here, 0114 239 3939 (you can thank me later).
- Sheffield has its own super tram with 4 major routes; Meadowhall, Halfway, Herding’s Park and Middlesbrough. The tram is an easy way to get around, particularly to the shopping centres, centertainment and town centre. Take a ride.
- Sheffield people are generally friendly and approachable and if you get called ‘love’ it is usually a term of endearment.
- If you spot Henderson’s Relish, try it! Its similar to Worcestershire sauce but its made in Sheffield and its vegan!
- There are two main football teams, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. If you’re visiting on a match day when United is playing at home, avoid driving or buses anywhere near city centre.
Have you tried any of these things to do in Sheffield? You might also like to discover some of the other best places to visit in England. Let me know in the comments how you find Sheffield and what you liked the most.