It’s a pleasure to interview my good friend, Anne Slater-Brooks of Travel The Globe 4 Less about Sheffield, England. Anne’s tips for the best things to do in Sheffield are wonderful because they mix a bit of city life and embracing the outdoors. Anne loves to run and she knows all of the best scenery to become one with nature.
When most travelers plan trips to England, they think of cities like London, York, and Manchester. But Sheffield should be on your list so you can experience “normal” English life. I read an article that said it is 40% cheaper in Sheffield than London. No wonder why it is so popular with the British.
Sheffield’s roots are in the steel industry of the early 1900s making cutlery and military tanks. Today, however, it has transformed into a city of innovation. It is surrounded by woods, reservoirs, and lakes that create a picturesque countryside. The River Don meanders through the city creating a wonderful opportunity to walk or run alongside it.
The weather in Sheffield is typically British – unpredictable. Summer is the best time to visit. There are many open air events and music festivals to enjoy.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Welcome to Sheffield, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Sheffield
Here are some of the best things to do in Sheffield according to our local expert, Anne Slater-Brooks. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research.
- Abbeydale Miniature Railway – fun for the entire family with this mini railway that you can ride on. They encourage children to become engineers with replicas of trains that guests interact with.
- Botanical Gardens – an array of landscaped gardens home to over 5000 species of plants, complete with glass pavilions, fountains and even a bear pit. A couple of miles from the city center. They hold events throughout the year, including Bonfire Night.
- Chatsworth House – is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It is set in the magnificent landscape of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park. The 1000 acre park and the farmshop and its restaurant are open all year round.
- Derwent Reservoir – is 30-40 minutes away. It was used during WWII to practice bombing. During the summer, you can see old planes flying over recreating the flights.
- Holly Hagg Community Farm Alpacas – go on a trek with gorgeous alpacas through stunning scenery. Tours can book up to 2 months in advance, so reserve your spot now so you don’t miss out.
- Kelham Island – is one of Sheffield’s oldest manufacturing sites. The manmade island was formed in the 1100s, when a stream was diverted to power a nearby mill. It has undergone a significant transformation in recent years and quietly become one of the most exciting parts of the city with indie shopping arcades, microbreweries, and galleries.
- Millennium Art Gallery – the premier destination for art, craft, and design. Here you can see some of Sheffield’s unique heritage, including the metalwork which made the city world famous.
- Peace Gardens – an inner-city square in Sheffield, England. It was created as part of the Heart of the City project by Sheffield City Council. The Gardens front onto Sheffield’s gothic town hall.
- Peak District National Park – enjoys the most extensive public transport network of any national park giving you a unique chance to visit the countryside without having to worry about taking the car. Peak Connections publishes guides to visiting top attractions by bus or train.
- Sheffield Cathedral – one of Sheffield’s oldest buildings, the ancient heart of this great city. Stones from a Norman church (11th – 12th century) with their dog-tooth pattern, can be seen set in the east wall.
- Sheffield Football Club – watch a game where the modern football (i.e. soccer) rules were originated in 1857.
- Shepherd Wheel Workshop – the two grindstones here were used for grinding table and other domestic knives. Industrial buildings with just one function like this could be found all over Sheffield. Both workshops were powered by a single waterwheel. The wheel is 5.5 meters high and 2 meters wide and is made of cast and wrought iron, elm and oak, and bronze. The water to turn the wheel comes from the large dam where water is diverted from the River Porter.
- Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife And Falconry Centre – here you can meet lemurs, meerkats, owls, and other amazing animals. Take your seat for spectacular shows, featuring free-flying birds of prey, parrots and charismatic mammals! Explore the indoor rainforest; home to butterflies, birds, bats, crocodiles and creepy-crawlies from around the world. Meet and feed the friendly residents of the Farm Barn.
- Weston Park Museum – an amazing collection of beautiful, varied & unusual treasures. They are brought to life through fascinating histories, incredible facts, and hands-on interactive exhibits.
- Wentworth Castle – a family member that was put out of the will for Wentworth Woodhouse bought and renovated this castle as a way to outshine the other family members. You can explore the grounds here as well.
- Wentworth Woodhouse – one of the largest private homes in the UK. It features 365 rooms, 5 miles of corridors, and a facade twice the length of Buckingham Palace. It is derelict now, so you can’t go inside. However, you can walk the grounds for free.
- Winter Gardens – is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last hundred years and the largest urban glasshouse anywhere in Europe.
Consider taking a walking tour of Sheffield. The tour takes place daily, Tuesday to Saturday, starting at 10:30 am with tour guide Marcus Newton.
If you can schedule your visit to Sheffield, England for November, you’ll get to experience Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night. It happens every November 5th. It’s actually a really odd reason to celebrate because this annual event celebrates an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Either way… now it is a reason to watch fireworks and party with your friends.
At Christmastime, you’ll enjoy the Sheffield Christmas Market and a cup of hot cocoa. They run from November 15th through Christmas Eve every year.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Sheffield.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Sheffield
When you’re in Sheffield, there are many excellent places to eat. Anne suggests that you need to try the Yorkshire Pudding, a unique dish in England. The UK loves Indian curry, so you’ll find hot and spicy dishes all over town. And no visit to England would be complete without a visit to an authentic English pub. Here are the best places to eat in Sheffield.
- Aagrah Sheffield – a family run restaurant group that operates 12 restaurants in the area. They are another excellent choice for Indian food.
- Akbar’s – you must have the saag aloo. A spinach and cauliflower-based Indian dish. A bit spicy, but so good.
- All Siam Thai Restaurant – wonderful Thai food in Sheffield.
- Ashoka Indian Restaurant – it is has won the Sheffield Restaurant of the Year and is listed within the Top 60 in the Good Curry Guide. You won’t be disappointed.
- Cocoa Wonderland – sells handmade local truffles, old-fashioned sweets, a range of quality chocolate bars including Rococo and Valrhona, gift boxes, hampers, ice cream tubs, and many unusual treats!
- Ecclesall Road – a bustling stretch of restaurants, coffee houses, pubs, bars and shops with ease of access to some of the city’s loveliest green spaces.
- Koko Restaurant – offers Pan-Asian food that will not be found on any other menu in Sheffield. They borrow flavors and cooking styles from all over the world.
- Mamas & Leonie’s – Anne says they have the best pizza in Sheffield. It is near the town hall and offers traditional Italian dishes with excellent service.
- Old Queen’s Head – the oldest pub in Sheffield. This timber-framed building is thought to date from c.1475. Stop in and have a pint.
- Our Cow Molly Dairy Ice Cream – the farm is always making new flavors which are sold at the farm first. There are also newborn calves, lambs and hens to come and see. Molly and her friends will be about when they come in for milking, usually around 4 pm.
- Peddler Night Market – a monthly street food night market held in a warehouse. It is so popular, you’ll often find people in line around the block waiting to get in.
- Pointing Dog Clubhouse – a New York-style tavern bar for exquisite cocktails, fine wines and local ales. Relax in the restaurant and feast on fine food or enjoy drinking and dining on the outside terraces. Children under 16 are not allowed in the Clubhouse after 7 pm.
- Red’s True Barbecue – you don’t normally think of the UK for awesome BBQ, but Red’s is the real deal.
- The Beer House – a micropub with a capacity for about 40 people across two small rooms. The front room has street-level access and contains the bar with 6 handpumps for an ever-changing range of real ales.
Best places to stay in Sheffield
When you come to visit the Steel City, here are the best places to stay in Sheffield.
- Best Western Sheffield City Centre Cutlers Hotel – this Best Western Rewards category 4 hotel is 20,000 points per night.
- Days Inn Sheffield M1 – with Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
- Hampton by Hilton Sheffield – this Hilton Honors category 2 hotel is 10,000 points per night. Anne says that the hotel bar has superb cocktails and a wonderful happy hour.
- Holiday Inn Sheffield – this IHG Rewards category 2 hotel is 15,000 points per night.
- Leopold Hotel Sheffield – Anne wrote about the Leopold in a blog post review. It is a former school that has retained many of the features of the school to give it character.
- Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel and Spa – they have a fabulous champagne bar with great views no matter where you stay in the hotel.
- St Paul’s City Lofts – they offer luxury 1 & 2-bedroom serviced apartments in Sheffield’s tallest building. It is located at the ‘Heart of the city’ district in the best location of the city center. Note that this is only for long-term stays with a 28-day minimum requirement. Read Anne’s review of St Paul’s here.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Sheffield
Per the Welcome to Sheffield website, there are four airports within an hour’s distance to choose from:
- Manchester Airport, one of the UK’s busiest, has a regular direct rail service to Sheffield.
- Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport is served by a number of European destinations with charter flight routes.
- Leeds Bradford Airport is also well served by European and long-haul destinations. Sheffield can be reached by using a taxi service or bus to Leeds and then train to Sheffield.
- Nottingham East Midlands receives routes from European and long-haul destinations. Sheffield can be reached by road using a taxi service, or take the airport shuttle to East Midlands Parkway and take the train (operated by East Midlands Trains) to the center of Sheffield.
Sheffield has a handy map that shows parking availability and estimated costs around town.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Sheffield – Anne recommends the saag aloo at Akbar’s. She loves the spicy Indian spinach and cauliflower dish with plenty of curry.
2) Favorite memory of Sheffield – her favorite memory is spending the afternoon at the Leopold Hotel for tea. It was a Victorian-era school that has been renovated, but the old school features remain. Afternoon tea is reasonably priced at around 25 Pounds per person.
3) Happiest Happy Hour in Sheffield – it may not be the most posh of hotels, but the Hampton Inn has an amazing happy hour. The bar has superb cocktails with plenty of deals on cocktails and meals. It’s about a 10-minute walk from town. Check out their Manhattan to Midnight special evenings that coincide with payday and have a lounge singer for that special touch.
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza in Sheffield – you have to go to Mamas & Leonie’s for pizza. They have a complete traditional Italian menu and the service is top-notch.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Anne Slater-Brooks about Sheffield, England. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Sheffield, England
- Green dots = best things to do in Sheffield, England
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Sheffield, England
Who is Anne Slater-Brooks?
Anne Slater-Brooks works in financial services by day promoting tax mitigation solutions to financial planners across the UK. Amazing as it sounds she gets equally excited about tax mitigation as she does about travel. You can follow her adventures at Travel The Globe 4 Less. She is a Fellow of the PFS, a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Planners and recently completed her MBA.
Here are a few articles that she’s written:
- How To Avoid These 11 Terrifying Travel Horrors Like An Expert
- How To Save Money On Travel In Expensive Japan
- Learn How to Fly Business Class for Less than Economy
As you can tell, Anne loves writing about using airline miles and hotel points to afford luxury travel that she otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – Credit Land
This episode is brought to you, in part, by Credit-Land.com. Credit Land analyzes all of the credit card offers available to search for the best deals so they can bring you the cards with the biggest bonuses, lowest interest rates, and best benefits.
I use travel credit cards extensively to lower our family’s travel expenses and trust Credit Land to help me know whether I should jump on an offer or let it go. Visit WeTravelThere.com/creditland for more details.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Listen to the next episode when Brandon Neth of FinanceBuzz shares why he believes that Krakow, Poland is the most underrated destination in Europe. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Sheffield, England? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom, check out our other episodes for the region:
- Burning of the Clocks Parade, Hove Lagoon & Upside Down House in Brighton, England
- Hidden Pubs and Walking a Llama with Chris in Surrey, England
- Cracking the Enigma Code in Milton Keynes, England with Lindsay