Sheffield

Sheffield is a city in Yorkshire in the north of England. With a population of 564,000, it is one of the United Kingdom's biggest cities. Around 1.8 million people live in the wider metropolitan area, covering most of the county of South Yorkshire and some parts of neighbouring Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Nicknamed the "Steel City", Sheffield is a major industrial, cosmopolitan and cultural centre renowned for its green open spaces, creative talents, galleries, sport facilities and cutlery. England's National City of Sport, Sheffield is also home to Britain's biggest theatre complex outside London and one of the country's most-visited shopping centres. Sheffield is an excellent place to study and the city's two universities welcome well over 10,000 overseas students each year. Unlike many other cities its size, Sheffield has a very large amount of public greenery, with trees outnumbering the human population approximately three-to-one. As well as the extensive urbanisation, one third of the city's territory is rural national park land: the Peak District is England's oldest and best-loved national park.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 6 8 10 13 16 18 20 21 17 13 9 6
Nightly lows (°C) 2 3 4 6 8 10 12 13 10 7 4 3

See the 5 day forecast for Sheffield at the Met Office

Geography

Sheffield lies in the most southerly part of Yorkshire, with Derbyshire to the west, Nottinghamshire to the south, and Lincolnshire not far to the east. The M1 motorway runs past Sheffield's Meadowhall Shopping Centre to the east of the city centre, the beautiful Peak District extends to within the western city boundary, and the South Pennines area ("Last of the Summer Wine country") lies just to the north.

Sheffield is built on and in-between seven hills, and it is thanks to this landscape that Sheffield exists today. Even before the Industrial Revolution, the villages around Sheffield were established as centres of industry and commerce thanks to fast flowing rivers and streams that brought water down from the Peak District. The valleys through which these flowed were ideally suited for man-made dams that could be used to power water mills. A walk along the Rivelin Valley from Malin Bridge tram stop or along the Porter Valley out from Endcliffe Park towards the Peak District will reveal some of these old dams.

The city centre lies where these rivers and valleys meet. The city has expanded out along the valleys and over the hills between, creating leafy neighbourhoods and suburbs within easy reach of the city centre. Each valley that stretches out from the city centre has its own character, from the densely industrial Don Valley to the north-east, to the green and cosmopolitan residential streets around the Ecclesall Road on the Porter Valley in the south-west.

Industrial Revolution and aftermath

Industry in the city really took off when the railways arrived, allowing for the mass import of raw materials and export of finished products. The crucible technique of making exceptionally high quality steel was invented here by Benjamin Huntsman in 1852, and for decades it was to give Sheffield the economic advantage over other steel-producing cities. Sheffield is still the home to a number of cutlery and blade manufacturers (including Swann Morton), and Sheffield steel can be found in surgical equipment and kitchen drawers the world over.

However, the economic recession of the 1980s hit Sheffield hard, and large numbers of workers were left unemployed by the changing shape of heavy industry in Britain. Along with Liverpool, Sheffield gained the reputation for an openly socialist political scene in reaction to the Conservative government of the day and the not always tongue-in-cheek label of "The People's Republic of South Yorkshire" was applied to the city and its environs. The resilient spirit of Sheffield people in these bleak times made the city famous in the black comedy The Full Monty.

View of Sheffield City Centre

Post-industrial Sheffield

Sheffield is the second largest city in Yorkshire and the fourth largest in England, and its inhabitants are proud of their perceived character: while the whole of the north of England is considered to have friendly natives, Sheffielders pride themselves on a warmth and hospitality that stretches above and beyond other cities. Visitors to Sheffield may find this most noticeable in the affectionate terms that slip into everyday conversation. Even when making a simple purchase in a shop or market, you can expect to be called 'love' at least once. But as well as ticking a lot of Yorkshire stereotypes, Sheffield is also a vibrant multicultural city. With a very large student population of 67,000, many of whom are from overseas, and 20% of Sheffielders coming from an ethnic minority background as recorded in the 2011 census, the modern city is diverse and dynamic, as well as being traditional.

Sheffield is adapting as it becomes a more confident post-industrial city. Grand visions have routinely been proposed or initiated by the city or county councils, and European funding has been used on a number of public infrastructure projects that have shaped the city. This is nothing new, however, since many would argue that post-war town planners did more damage to the face of Sheffield than the Luftwaffe did during the heavy nights of World War II aerial bombing. Bold housing projects such as the widely-known (and now listed) Park Hill made Sheffield famous for the feverish vision with which architects and planners sought to reshape the city in the second half of the twentieth century. In reality, this left much of Sheffield with a poorly maintained legacy of failed utopian concrete fantasies, but this braveness and edginess is cited by many as being a fundamental part of Sheffield's character.

Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, a number of commercial developers are making big marks on the cityscape, with large apartment complexes that aim to correct the errors through planning policy of similar developments seen in Manchester and Leeds. Whether the formula works in Sheffield remains to be seen: with so many affordable and attractive suburbs within easy reach, it may be difficult to turn Sheffield's compact city centre into a mixed area of commerce and residential properties. Having said that, large parts of the city centre (around Fargate, Barkers Pool, Hallam University and the theatre district) have seen investment allowing for pedestrianised streets for markets, public squares and open spaces giving a distinctly Continental feel to the centre. The challenge will now be to extend the regeneration throughout the central area, while maintaining the achievements made in the heart of the city.

Even if the built environment of Sheffield occasionally leaves something to be desired, a deliberate strategy of investing in and promoting academic achievement has begun to influence the demographic make-up of the city. Sheffield is home to two universities (the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University) with excellent ratings in both teaching and research, it is also proving to be an attractive place for graduates to settle in. Sheffield is increasingly prosperous and economically active.

Culturally, Sheffield's location and edgy environment has nurtured a superb reputation for music. Sheffield is home to Jarvis Cocker, Human League, Def Leppard, ABC, Baby Bird, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Milburn, Bromheads Jacket, The Long Blondes, and Little Man Tate to name just a few. The larger-than-average student population means that nightlife is always lively, and suitably different to that of Leeds and Manchester. Sheffield's proximity to the Peak District National Park (one third of Sheffield's territory lies within the park's boundaries) makes it an ideal city base for an outdoor-orientated holiday.

Get in

By plane

Doncaster Sheffield Airport

The airlines that serve the airport are:

Car parks serving Doncaster Sheffield Airport:

Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark®
Award
Additional Information
Long Stay Car Park Robin Hood Airport DN9 3RH. On 3 Minutes Walking distance CCTV, Secure Fencing, 24-hour on-site security. Yes You will need your booking confirmation with you when you arrive at the car park and when you leave, in case there is a problem with any of the machines.

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.
Night-time view of Sheaf Square and the railway station

Sheffield station (sometimes known as Sheffield Midland) is to the south-east side of the city centre, adjacent to Sheffield Hallam University. You can reach the city centre on foot via Sheaf Square and Howard Street in less than ten minutes, or in about five minutes by tram.

Supertram services stop next to the station (Sheffield Station/Sheffield Hallam University stop), directly outside the end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the platforms, at the far end from the main entrance. There is a lift from the station concourse and platforms.

Most long-distance coaches and city buses stop at Sheffield Interchange, two minutes walk from the station (across the pelican crossing and through the covered walkway).

Meadowhall Station is located at the Meadowhall shopping complex in the north-eastern suburbs of Sheffield, but can also serve as a useful point to reach the Motorpoint Arena or Valley Centertainment leisure park, via the Supertram. The station itself has two platforms and is next to a tram and bus interchange, with an indoor waiting area linking the two.

Routes

Sheffield also lies at the crossroads of three major railways. The Midland Mainline (south-east to north), cross country route (south-west and Midlands to north east and Scotland) and a trans-Pennine service (north-west to Yorkshire and the East).

Summary of services:

Timetables and fare information for all train services can be obtained from National Rail.

By car

Sheffield sits beside the M1 motorway, one of the UK's primary northsouth routes linking Sheffield with London, Leicester, Nottingham and Leeds. The M1's interchange with the M62, the main route from Manchester, Liverpool and Hull, is 15 miles north of Sheffield. The city centre is most easily reached from junction 33 of the M1, via the Sheffield Parkway dual-carriageway. A convenient park and ride tram stop (Nunnery Square) is located close to the city end of the Parkway and is well-signposted from the motorway.

Two scenic routes from Manchester, the Snake Pass (A57) and the Woodhead Pass (A628) make for breathtaking trips through the Peak District National Park. In the event of heavy snowfall in winter, the police can and do close both routes to all traffic.

It is also possible to use the Peak District as the scenic route from Birmingham (via Lichfield and Ashbourne) or Stoke-on-Trent (via Leek and Longnor). Beware that the route becomes very busy over holiday periods, and can be treacherous during cold or snowy weather.

By bus

Sheffield Interchange is the city's hub for local and national bus services, and is located two minutes walk from Sheffield's railway station. National Express operate long distance services from all parts of the country, including a regular service from London Victoria and Golders Green.

GorillaBus operate services from Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands to Brown Street in the city centre, and to Meadowhall Interchange.

The discount long distance bus operator Megabus does not serve the city centre, but offers several services each day from London to Meadowhall Interchange. Meadowhall is twenty minutes away from the city centre by tram, or five minutes by an equally frequent train. Megabus departures may not be listed on departure screens at the Meadowhall Interchange: services generally depart from the same bay as National Express services.

By boat

There are visitor moorings for canal boats at the Victoria Quays basin, found to the north of the city centre.

Get around

On foot

Sheffield's city centre is compact and within it, no two attractions are further apart than a 30 minute walk. The city centre has seen significant work done to prioritise pedestrian access, including extensive pedestrianisation, excellent links from the railway station to the city centre and a comprehensive map and signage system. Even outside the central area, Sheffield is pleasantly walkable, with both the Don Valley attractions (14 miles) and the Peak District (from 6 miles) being linked by walking routes from the city centre. Sheffield walking directions can be planned online with the Walkit route planner.

By cycle

Cycle hire is available at the railway station.

By tram

A Sheffield Supertram.

All public transport in Sheffield is operated under licence to Travel South Yorkshire, who are the main source of unbiased travel information, updates, timetables and maps for the city.

The Stagecoach Supertram, normally known just as the Supertram, is a modern tram network with three lines that serve the city centre and many of Sheffield's suburbs. Services run from just before 6AM until around midnight (MSa) and from around 7:30AM until just before midnight (Su).

Most stations are now fitted with LED signs displaying the time and destination of the next four trams to arrive, however during the day, the Blue and Yellow lines run at a frequency of about every 10 minutes, while the Purple line runs every 30 minutes.

Tickets are purchased from the conductor after you board; retain these for inspection. Notices at your tram stop will indicate the route and fare needed for your destination.

A single ticket within the city centre boundary (stations between Granville Road, The University of Sheffield, and Hyde Park) costs £1.50. After that, fares cost up to £2.70, depending on how far you travel, although the £1.50 fare is still available for short journeys outside the central area. Children under 5 travel free. Senior citizens travel for free except on weekdays before 9AM on any mode of public transport. Other concessions are available only to applicable residents of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley. For those without concessions, it often works out cheaper to buy a City Wide day ticket, which costs £4.30 and allows unlimited travel on all trams and buses in Sheffield, irrespective of the operator. A £13.50 Stagecoach Megarider ticket is also available, allowing unlimited travel for a week on Stagecoach trams and buses.

Visitors may also find this official guide with map useful.

By bus

All public transport in Sheffield is operated under licence to Travel South Yorkshire, who are the main source of unbiased travel information, updates, timetables and maps for the city.

Most buses in Sheffield are operated by the large private operators First and Stagecoach, though there are some smaller operators running certain routes. Buses generally run every 10–20 minutes during the day, and every 2060 minutes in the evening. Some routes offer a higher frequency of service (every 4-10 minutes throughout the day and evening).

A single fare costs £1.40. The South Yorkshire Day Tripper, costing £6.00, allows bus, tram and train travel across South Yorkshire (after 9:30AM) all day, whereas the City Wide ticket (£4.30 for a day, other longer tickets available) allows travel on all buses and trams within the city of Sheffield.

Bus maps of North and South Sheffield are available to download. Both maps also show the city centre.

Rail

All public transport in Sheffield is operated under licence to Travel South Yorkshire, who are the main source of unbiased travel information, updates, timetables and maps for the city.

Although there aren't many rail services within Sheffield itself, there is a decent network of suburban rail services serving the city region, all of which depart from Sheffield Midland station. Services are operated by Northern Rail, and depart to Barnsley via Meadowhall, Chapeltown, Elsecar, and Wombwell, to Doncaster, via Meadowhall, Rotherham, Swinton, Mexborough, and Conisborough, to Chesterfield via Dronfield, to the Hope Valley via Dore, and to Nottinghamshire via Darnall, Woodhouse, Kiveton Bridge, and Kiveton Park.

By taxi and black cab

There are no longer any night bus routes in the city and all bus and tram services terminate around midnight. Sheffield's three main taxi companies operate 24 hours a day with considerably cheaper fares than other cities. Black cabs can be hailed in the street in the city centre and West End as far out as Broomhill (particularly on West Street, around the universities and at the railway station), as well as on some of the main routes into the city, but elsewhere it is often necessary to phone for a taxi:

See

Winter Gardens in the city centre

City Centre

Sheffield city centre has plenty to offer the visitor. It is home to the UK's largest theatre complex outside of London, several nationally-important museums and galleries and a host of smaller attractions and unique dining and shopping experiences.

Further out

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Do

Festivals and events

While the events calendar hits its peak in October, there are many other festivals worth attending at all times of the year.

Theatreland

Second only to London's West End as the UK's greatest concentration of theatres and cinemas, Sheffield's Theatreland is based on and around the pedestrianised Tudor Square.

Other theatres and cinemas

Sport

Sheffield is England's National City of Sport and is home to a number of top sporting teams:

Sports Centres

Walks

Sheffield City Council has a portal for the complete list of the many interesting walks throughout the city's urban, suburban, industrial and rural landscapes, but here are five of the best:

Mainly urban

Mainly rural

Hiking boots are recommended on all walks, especially the more rural routes. Since Sheffield is extremely hilly, most walks have lots of ups and downs to them.

Learn

There are two major universities in Sheffield, both of which attract large numbers of international students both from within and beyond the European Union:

Additionally, the Sheffield College is the largest establishment of its kind in the country.

Work

Though Sheffield's past was largely based in the manufacturing sector, the emphasis has moved to services. A number of government offices and large businesses (Insight, Dixons Group and Freemans) operate their headquarters or regional centres in Sheffield. There are a large number of call centres in and around the city (e.g. Virgin Media & Ant Marketing).

Buy

Sheffield has two main shopping destinations. The city centre is compact, varied and walkable. It has a good range of high street and independent stores. The out-of-town Meadowhall shopping centre is South Yorkshire's largest and has a huge range of shops. Beyond these two behemoths, Sheffield's other shopping experiences range from suburban high streets to local shopping centres and designated themed quarters.

City Centre

Flower market on Fargate

The centre, though compact, packs in a lot of national chains and independent shops. Visitors will however find there are fewer shops than other cities Sheffield's size, due to Meadowhall's proximity and size. Much of the city centre is pedestrianised, and this makes an easy and pleasant environment to walk around. There are two main axes of central shopping streets which meet at Fargate. The first and longer of the two runs in a gently curving line from south-west to north-east. From south to north you will find:

The second axis heads west from Fargate. From east to west, you will find:

There are a number of food shops and markets which may be of use to those staying in the city centre: The Co-operative in Castlegate, Marks & Spencer on Fargate, the aforementioned Moor Market, Sainsbury's on Arundel Gate, Division Street and The Moor, Tesco on West Street and Church Street and the very popular Simmonite butcher and fishmonger, also on Division Street.

Outside the city centre

Suburbs

Eat

There are many good, cheap places to eat in and around the city. If you would rather stay in and still want to have a taste of what Sheffield has to offer, you can always opt for food from one of the takeaways in Sheffield . Usually prices range from £7 to £20 for a meal for two.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Sunday Lunch

Drink

The city is known for its wide variety of traditional pubs, most of which serve local ales. The nightlife is lively: there are almost 30 nightclubs, numerous bars and restaurants to suit all budgets, six theatres and three city-centre cinemas.

Pubs

Sheffield is well known for its large number of pubs (Public Houses). From dark and Victorian to sleek and modern; and from traditional real-ale haven to noisy standing-room-only bar, you can easily find a pub in Sheffield to suit your taste in beer, music and company. However, most city-centre pubs are more oriented towards fast drinking students and clubbers; on West Street in particular (linking the university with the city centre) you will find many pubs and bars which during the week become busy with students and younger customers. Finding quieter pubs in which to sample something other than the usual chain-pub lager requires delving a little deeper beneath the surface.

A website which gives you in depth information about bars and clubs in Sheffield, in addition to events is SocialBeast

For the unimaginative, you'll find the usual Wetherspoons and All Bar One chain pubs, throughout the city centre serving cheap lager, hand-pulled ales and reasonably priced food in a smoke (and atmosphere) free environment.

Hybrid bar-pubs manage to maintain something of a pub atmosphere, and sell real ale at reasonable prices, while still pulling in the crowds. They are used as much by people who want a good range of beer at good prices, as by "yoofs" after a good night out. They are probably doing a good job of persuading at least some lager drinkers to switch to traditional ales.

Sheffield's real gems are the handful of surviving traditional pubs and free houses, which generally have more room to sit down, quieter (or no) music, and real hand pumped ales.

There are more warm and welcoming traditional pubs in Sheffield's suburbs. North-west of the city centre, in Crookes and Walkley (popular with students as places to live) are:

Real ale fans from great distances come to "do" the real ale trail of Sheffield's Upper Don Valley, a route stretching from near the city centre almost to Hillsborough. The trail calls at:

The trail roughly parallels the tram route from the city centre to Hillsborough, so getting there and back is easy. All these pubs have a huge range of British draught real ales (some brewed by the pub) and most have a selection of bottle-conditioned beers from continental Europe (especially Belgium).

Bars

Visiting Sheffield, you might be led to believe that students go out every day of the week. With some 55 000 university students this is hardly surprising. These are some of the more popular pubs.

Clubs & Live Venues

Unlike Sheffield's dense strip of student bars along West Street, the city's night clubs are more spread out around the city centre, especially in the former industrial buildings. The most well known are:

Sleep

City Centre

Further out

Stay safe

As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected.

All central areas or main shopping suburbs are perfectly safe during the day. After hours, some peripheral parts of the city centre may seem a little quiet and lonely, but any well-lit street with plenty of people about will is as safe as any city centre in the UK if the usual precautions are taken. Some outer neighbourhoods are best avoided, but as a traveller, you will almost certainly never visit them anyway.

Stay healthy

In a medical emergency, dial 999 or 112.

Hospitals and clinics

Although there are many hospitals in clinics in Sheffield, the following four are most likely to be of use to the sickly traveller:

Connect

Tourist information

Useful websites

Go next

Peak District

The Peak District is a beautiful national park of moors, stone-walled green hills and sheep-filled fields crossed by paths for ramblers, hillside tracks and country lanes for cyclists. There is a network of tiny hamlets, small villages, country churches, and market towns. All the settlements have their own charm and history, and nearly all have at least one pub for lunch and beer, or a tea shop for afternoon tea and cakes.

Sheffield is the perfect city base to explore the Peak District, not only because it is the closest city to the northern half of "The Peak" (some of the national park lies within the city boundary) but also because bus and train links from Sheffield into the Peak are excellent for such rural services. Popular services run back to Sheffield until 11PM, making it feasible for Sheffielders and visitors to put a day's hard work or shopping behind them for a long summer's evening "walking in the Peak". The popularity of the Peak as a destination for Sheffielders at leisure is underlined by the fact that many routes provide a better service at weekends, particularly on Sunday, than during the week - making a full day in the fresh air very easy to arrange.


Easy trips into The Peak

Other country areas

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.