20 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.
Fun Things to do in Sheffield
Quick reference guide
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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. But, be warned; this experience could test your friendships!
2) Party with Headliners at Sheffield Tramlines Festival
Sheffield 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.
The Tramlines Festival attracts crowds from far and wide and is one of the most fun things to do in Sheffield.
3) Embrace Community Spirit 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 on Broughton Lane outside the centre, Centertainment is easy to reach by car, tram or bus.
Several restaurants are catering from fast food to popular food chains such as Nandos, Chiquitos and Wagamamas. You can also enjoy a film at Cineworld Imax Cinema or a bowling game, Indoor Adventure Golf or Laser Quest.
5) See a Major Music or Sports Event at Sheffield Arena
Sheffield Fly DSA Arena is a 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, the stadium is easiest to get to by super tram on the Meadowhall route.
6) Catch a Show at One of 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) Have a Laugh at a Comedy Club
While Sheffield City Hall and even the Sheffield Arena have occasional comedy events, if you enjoy raw, uncut comedy, then support more minor acts at the local comedy clubs. So grab your tickets in advance and get ready for a fun Friday or Saturday night in the centre of town.
Notable clubs are the Last Laugh Comedy Club on Barkers Street in the Centre and ROFL on Division Street.
8) Have a Day of Adventure at Rother Valley Country Park
Rother Valley Country Park is located Southeast of the centre and is an excellent spot for mountain biking or enjoying an extensive circular walking trail. The centre of the park is a vast river that you can book water activities on. Why not try your hand at jet skiing, pedal or rowboats and paddleboarding? Failing that, you can always feed the ducks.
Related Read: Top Adrenaline Things to do in the UK
9) Explore the Outdoors in one of the Many Parks
There are so many different places in Sheffield to walk your dog or generally enjoy the outdoors:
- Graves Park is a large park with a forest and open fields, a golf course and even an animal farm.
- Heeley City Farm is also a smaller option to see farm animals or stroll around the garden centre. Both this option and Graves Park are perfect for animal lovers.
- Endcliffe Park is a popular place in summer due to its convenient location just off the trendy Ecclesall Road.
- Weston Park is great for people who also want to enjoy the art gallery.
- Grenoside Park is great for varied terrain, rivers and exciting features.
There are too many parks to mention, and they’re scattered all over the city. However, you will have no problem finding miles of nature trails in Sheffield and beyond into the beautiful Peak District.
10) 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. This area can be busy with people relaxing on the grass, paddling in the waterfalls, or running through the fountains in the summertime.
11) 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.
Note, Sheffield Cathedral is currently going through restoration works.
12) Grab a 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 facilities with its four iconic pillars. The City Hall is worth a visit if you’re looking for fun things to do in Sheffield.
13) 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!
14) Grab an Open Air Theatre Production at Sheffield Botanical Garden
Sheffield Botanical Garden is 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.
If you’re visiting over bonfire night then be sure to book tickets for ‘Illuminate the Gardens’ as light show and firework spectacular!
15) 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.
16) 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.
17) Get into the Spirit of the Season at the Christmas Markets
I’ve called it the spirit of the season rather than the Christmas spirit because the pop-up market stalls appear in Sheffield for other reasons, such as Oktoberfest. However, if you’re visiting during winter, be sure to head to Fargate in the centre to enjoy the Christmas Lights, decorations, festive market stalls and the cosy Alpine Bar.
Things to do at Night in Sheffield
16) Sip Cocktails or Real Ales on Ecclesall Road
Ecclesall Road is just outside the city centre and is the most upmarket place to eat and drink. 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 catching a taxi or bus is easier.
17) Party All Night on 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, and it is hectic over the weekend or on popular student nights.
20) Enjoy an Alternative Evening on 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 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 grab a taxi – City Taxi is the major chain here, 0114 239 3939, but Uber is also popular.
- Sheffield has its super tram with four major routes; Meadowhall, Halfway, Herding’s Park and Middlesbrough. The tram is an easy way to get around, particularly the shopping centres, entertainment 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! It’s similar to Worcestershire sauce, but it is made in Sheffield, and it’s vegan!
- There are two leading football teams, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. If you’re visiting on a matchday when United is playing at home, avoid driving or buses anywhere near the 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.