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To take the pulse of Sheffield, start in the city centre. A short stroll from the train station will bring you to the city’s famous cathedral: a striking example of gothic architecture featuring some intricate stained glass windows and the modernist Lantern Tower that brings Sheffield’s oldest building bang up to date. If you’d like to do more than gawp, visit the website to book a guided tour. Meanwhile, the nearby Grade I listed Town Hall is another of the city’s flagships, taking you back to a time of Victorian opulence and grandeur.
With time on your side, a city break can be the perfect opportunity to pep up your wardrobe – and you don’t have to visit out-of-town Meadowhall for retail therapy. Division Street rules for one-off boutiques, while big-brand options include the pedestrianised Fargate area and The Moor: a gleaming-modern shopping and dining precinct. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track either, visiting the Devonshire Quarter for quirkier indies and the Antiques Quarter for retro-chic.
You don’t take a city break to visit all the same old coffee chains, and Sheffield has plenty of independents doing amazing things with beans. One of the best is The Grind Café. Just a 20-minute walk from the train station in on-trend Kelham Island, their breakfast menu takes in everything from the full English to granola and fresh fruit – all washed down with locally roasted coffee. If you stick around to explore the area (including the fascinating Kelham Island Museum) you could even pop back for lunch.
Sheffield’s historic reputation as an industrial hub doesn’t square with the overwhelming sense of green you’ll get as you explore the city. If you’re staying central, the Winter Garden is unmissable: opened by the Queen in 2003, this architectural wonder is Europe’s largest urban glasshouse and a pocket of tranquillity amid the city’s buzz. Equally essential, the Botanical Gardens are only a short walk away but could be a different world, offering a 19-acre natural setting with themed gardens – and free entry.
Sheffield enjoys an enviable reputation among foodies and you won’t struggle to find a great restaurant after dark. Discerning locals swear by the upscale Italian of Marco@Milano and VeroGusto, while Rafters represents the best of global cuisine, whether you choose signature dishes like Hendo-Yaki salmon and Isle Of Gigha halibut, or dive into the countless blissful mouthfuls of the tasting menu.
Sheffield boasts some of the North’s most eye-popping street art, so save time and hit all the best ‘canvases’ on a guided trail, covering 1.6 miles in less than an hour. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll be the first to spot the latest creation by Phlegm, Sheffield’s cult-hero street artist whose satirical paintings give Banksy a run for his money.
Back in the city centre, be sure to keep a morning free for the Millennium Gallery. Acknowledged as one of the city’s leading museums, you’ll find permanent collections that cover everything from Sheffield’s social history to its fabled steel industry – along with seasonal exhibitions like The Time Is Now: an immersive installation that explores our tangled relationship with time.
The new king of Sunday dinners in the Toon is the Earl of Pitt Street. Extra duck fat roasties all round, please! This posh boozer is near St James’s Park – a towering landmark symbolising the city’s football obsession. Historic Blackfriars and Newcastle’s compact Chinatown centred on Stowell Street are also close by
The Crucible Theatre might be best known for hosting the World Snooker Championships since 1977 but there’s always something worth watching here, from spine-chillers like The Woman In Black to foot-tappers like Guys And Dolls. And with the Lyceum and Studio theatres also on-hand, there’s always a hot ticket in this town.
Fancy following in our footsteps on a Sheffield adventure? Then book an Advance Train Ticket today and save over 50%.