The Outdoor City, Sheffield
When you talk to most Sheffielders, what they love about the city is the proximity to the Peak District National Park. In fact a third of Sheffield actually overlaps with the Peak District, making it the only major city in the UK with a National Park within its boundary.
It’s a little known fact that surprises a lot of people, especially those who’ve never visited Sheffield and still think of it as one of those bleak industrial cityscapes. The truth is Sheffield is green, hilly and compact, with an attractive public realm ready to surprise you as soon as you step off at Sheffield Train Station into The Outdoor City.
There’s also a friendly, independent and alternative vibe to the place that you won’t find in other cities, alongside a thriving cultural scene boasting award-winning theatre, beer, music, festivals, street art and so much more. If you’re visiting the Peak District but fancy a bit of city culture on the side, here are some highlights for a day trip to The Outdoor City, Sheffield.
Photo Credit: Will Roberts
Once the beating heart of Sheffield industry, Kelham Island has undergone a significant transformation in recent years to become one of the “coolest” neighbourhoods in the North of England. The industrial shells of former factories and steel works house everything from indie shopping arcades to microbreweries, bars and galleries- making it a great area to just wander around.
If the city’s prolific industrial heritage intrigues you then Kelham Island Museum is a fantastic place to discover more about this fascinating history. Amongst the many foodie haunts popping up in this area, shipping-container restaurant Jöro is steadily building a reputation as one of the best dining experiences in the country, while the popular Peddler Night Market hosts some of the best street food traders from across the UK on the first Friday and Saturday of every month.
The largest theatre complex outside of London
Sheffield’s theatreland converges in the heart of the city with the Crucible, its Studio theatre and its next-door sister the Lyceum, together with the Library Theatre, forming the country’s largest theatre complex outside of London. Together they offer a wide variety touring and in-house productions, from famous West End shows to cutting edge theatre.
While the Crucible is perhaps most famous as the home of the annual World Snooker Championships, it’s also internationally renowned as a self-producing theatre and it’s three-sided thrust stage makes for some truly intimate and atmospheric performances.
Sheffield – The City of Beer
Like a gateway into the city’s brewing scene, Sheffield Tap sits proudly on Platform 1 of the train station, complete with in-house microbrewery. Nearby, The Rutland Arms offers over twenty lines to choose from on any day of the week, while The Devonshire Cat, The Bath Hotel, The Beer Engine and Triple Point Brewery Bar are all worth seeking out.
Elsewhere, Kelham Island has long been a beer destination in its own right, with legendary establishments The Fat Cat, Kelham Island Tavern, The Gardener’s Rest and nearby Shakespeare’s providing a vast selection. If you’ve got time, you could even do a Brewery Tour with Kelham Island Brewery. Beyond Kelham, new brewery St Mars of the Desert in Attercliffe, opens its tap room to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays.
Not one, but two large food halls have opened in Sheffield in the last year, providing a vast array of culinary delights and world flavours handcrafted by local independent kitchens. City Centre food hall, Kommune, can be found in Castle House (also home the National Videogame Museum) or head a little further out to Cutlery Works, based in Sheffield’s vibrant Kelham Island district.
Taking up residence in the former gents’ toilet below Sheffield Town Hall, Public was crowned Best Place to Drink in the UK by The Observer last year, but you may need to book to guarantee yourself a seat.
On Division Street you’ll find a parade of lively independent shops and bars, such as Gatsby, Bungalows & Bears, The Devonshire and Forum Kitchen & Bar. Leopold Square is great for alfresco drinks, with several bars on offer, plus live music in the square throughout the summer months. Further out, be sure to make time to check out quirky Picture House Social, which you’ll find underneath the iconic Abbeydale Picture House in Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter.
Sheffield Cafés & Culture
Quality coffee houses and brunching spots can be found throughout the city, but some of the best are nearby (or even attached) to some of the city’s best cultural attractions. Having taken over the ground floor café-bar of the Millennium Gallery, Ambulo has quickly made a name for its all-day fusion dining, offering a great place to unwind after perusing the galleries’ renowned metalwork and Ruskin collections.
Based in Sheffield’s premier contemporary art space, Site Gallery, it’d be rude not to visit Kollective Kitchen while the equally tempting Bird House Tea Company and Tamper Sellers Wheel are but a short walk way. Elsewhere, you’ll find popular Marmadukes Café Deli on a cobbled street right next to the Crucible Theatre, while the city’s famous Steam Yard is just short walk up the hill from concert venue Sheffield City Hall, tucked away in a courtyard off lively Division Street.
City Green Spaces
The Outdoor City – Sheffield’s impressive urban glass house, the Winter Garden is a tropical haven perfect for a tranquillity quick fix, while the Peace Gardens next to Sheffield Town Hall are a glorious sot for an urban picnic on a sunny day, but if you find yourself wanting more space to unwind, there’s some beautiful spaces close to the city centre.
Weston Park, home to Weston Park Museum and right next to the University of Sheffield main campus, is great for a picturesque wander.
Hidden behind vibrant Ecclesall Road, Sheffield Botanical Gardens is such a stunning escape you’ll find it hard to believe it’s still in the middle of a city. While, further down Ecclesall Road, luscious Endcliffe Park is the start of a scenic gateway route out of ‘The Outdoor City’ to the Peak District National Park, along the beautiful Porter Valley.
Doctor Who’s Playground
For city views, South Street Park is just behind the train station and great spot for a breather. Climb up to the top of the hillside amphitheatre and you’ll be rewarded with a view right across the city. Walk a little further along and you’ll come face-to-face with the Sheffield’s iconic brutalist landmark, Park Hill, which was made all the more famous recently as the home for the latest series of Doctor Who.
Be sure to squeeze in a coffee or a bite to eat at South Street Kitchen and maybe have a peak in S1 Artspace and then take a walk back into the city centre via the iconic tram bridge across Park Square roundabout, which was also used in the filming of the cult television series.
Let’s Go Peak District is proud to work with The Outdoor City encouraging day trips to the Peak District
To allow you to make the most of the Peak District villages on the Hope Valley Line, Let’s Go Peak District has joined forces with The Outdoor City in compiling a collection of five inspiring walks that start and finish at the train station in each village. There are gentle ambles that are 4-5 miles long, to more challenging hikes of
7-8 miles. Best of all, they’re hand-picked to make the most of each location and to take you to the very best spots in the Peak District via the most scenic routes. From shady woodlands to heather-strewn moors, rocky edges to rolling pastureland, this series of train station walks has it all!
Every walk description features a preview video of the route, as well as detailed route information, a map and photographs. There’s also a free-to-download PDF to print off and take with you, and a free GPX track too.
So leave your car behind and make a day of it. Pack a picnic and your walking boots, and explore the best of the Hope Valley by train!
THE OUTDOOR CITY, SHEFFIELD INSTA FEED
One third of SHEFFIELD is within the Peak District National Park and it is known as The Outdoor City with lots of green space and trees and the Peak District