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If it’s raining stair-rods and you’re unsure what to do our first advice is: get a grip and go visit Climbing Works. Based in the south of the city, this is one of the best bouldering centres in the world and, while they cater to elite level climbers, they are also very keen on introducing the sport to all levels and ages - there’s even a Rock Tots class for little ones more used to climbing the furniture.
If you’re looking for something more sedentary, and the rain’s a-pouring, we suggest you head to Kelham Island in the heart of the city. Here you can take a tour of Kelham Island Brewery, learn how the craftspeople make their beer, and even have a Q+A session with the beer boffins. One kicker for us though is that the tour costs £20 a head and comes with, in their own magical words, ‘pie, peas and pints’.
If the weather's fine though, and the… Hang on. You’re still thinking about the ‘pie, peas and pints’ aren’t you? Us too.
Ah yes, if the sun’s out then it’s time to get some nature under your belt. For this, you can’t beat the exotic plants of Sheffield Botanical Gardens and a stately stroll to the ‘Paxton’ Pavillion, a beautiful Victorian glass and steel hothouse.
This is the perfect place to come for a picnic too. BTW, if you fancy a picnic then get your morsels from Moor Market, feted as the ‘Borough Market of the North’. Here you’ll find the finest food from three delis, ten butchers, four fishmongers and more… there are 90 stalls selling everything from flans to fripperies, so go in with a plan or be prepared to spend at least an hour wandering from one delight to the next. If you missed out on the brewery tour then head to Waterall Brothers for one of their famous pork pies.
If your number one priority is keeping the kids busy and in the fresh air, then head off to Highfield Adventure Playground. They can run around, indoors and out, in staffed play areas stuffed with all sorts of character-building fun... So long as the character you want to build is that of a wildly ecstatic child.
If you’d rather just potter around and see what comes to you, then our tip is to head to the Antiques Quarter. Not only is it chock full of antique shops but there’s vinyl stores, florists and more – their handy map will see you right. There are also plenty of food stops along the route too, so you’ll be able to keep fed and watered while you browse.
Finally, whether it’s fair weather or foul, we recommend you head to the magnificent Showcase Cinema. It’s one of the largest independent cinemas in the world and is based in an art deco building that’s as elegant as a swan in evening dress. They have festivals and all manner of events on, as well as all the latest blockbusters and great independent screenings too, so make sure you check the website before you head to town.
Trains to Sheffield take just 40 minutes from Leeds, and an hour from Manchester book your tickets here.