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21 Things Everyone Must Do In Sheffield

Places to go and things to do in Sheffield.

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1. Lose an afternoon in Rare & Racy. / Via moth47

A campaign is currently being fought to protect many buildings along Devonshire Street to save them from demolition. One such building is home to Rare & Racy, a totally unique shop overflowing with books, records, art, fanzines, and general esoteric oddness. Expect avant-garde jazz blasting out at intense levels throughout the day.

3. Hop on the paternoster lift at the Arts Tower. / Via yuan1ye

The Arts Tower, the tallest university building in the UK, is sited on a hill and contains one of the largest remaining paternoster lifts, which move constantly and have no doors, so you quite literally have to hop on. Once you've hopped off on to one of the top floors, you'll get some of the best views of the city.

4. Become a cinephile.

Showroom Cinema / Via Facebook: showroomcinema

Sheffield, like most major cities, has a few cinemas. However, the creative programming that takes place at the Showroom Cinema in particular gives people an unusually rich variety of films to see throughout the year, as well as lots of special events, from Martin Scorsese-curated Polish cinema and kids club events to midnight screenings and film clubs involving discussions with university professors.

But there is also a vibrant film community operating on a smaller scale: the Magic Lantern Film Club, the Handmade Cinema Club, the Five and Dime Picture Show, and Girl Gang are all putting on unique screenings and events all over the city, while Sheffield University's Film Unit screens films on a second run for those who missed them the first time around, with ticket prices starting as low as £1.50. The Picture House Social has even installed a 24 seat mini-cinema in its basement bar.


5. Take a breather in the Winter Gardens. / Via Elo Lopez

Nestled right in the city centre, the Winter Gardens is a calming respite from the busy shopping streets. It's located next door to the Millennium Galleries, too, so you can go from an indoor oasis into an art gallery with just a few steps.

6. Become a beer geek.

Sheffield Tap / Via Facebook: TheSheffieldTap

in 2014 the New York Times picked Sheffield as one of the finest places in the world for good beer, and it wasn't wrong. With a huge amount of pubs ranging from "old man" boozers with open fires, snugs, and roaring coal fires to craft beer houses, you're never far away from good beer her. Look here for some great places to drink in Sheffield.

7. Go waterskiing.

Sheffield Cable Waterski / Via Facebook: sheffieldcablewaterski

Sheffield isn't home to golden beaches or a sprawling coastline, but we do have plenty of water around us. At Rother Valley Park you can learn to waterski, wakeboard, or kneeboard via a specially set-up cable equipped course. If that isn't your thing, there's also a range of other activities to do in the park, including archery, model boating, horseriding, fishing, sailing, canoeing, and more.

8. Go to the Sharrow Lantern Carnival.

Luisa Golob / Via Facebook: 46611088710

Once a year the whole city goes to work on making lanterns for this carnival. A theme is set each year and the lanterns light up the sky as people flock to the streets in their thousands. It's a real community event and workshops are held leading up to the event to help people make their own.


9. Visit the markets.

Peddler Market / Via Facebook: peddlermarket

Sadly, the city's unique Castle Market is no more. However, the city is not in short supply of markets, be it more traditional and permanent markets like the Moor Market; travelling continental markets that take up much of the city centre when they arrive a few times a year; or specialist markets like Nether Edge, the Abbeydale Food and Produce Market, and the Peddler Market (which specialises in street food, lasts for two days, and features DJs, live music, and street performances).

10. Explore the brutalism.

Natasha Bright

Sheffield is a glorious mish-mash of architecture, from crumbling factories on the edge of town to award-winning contemporary buildings in its centre. However, if there's one consistent aesthetic to be found in the city, it's brutalism: Powerful, sturdy, and, grey pieces of architecture dominate much of the city's skyline. Equally loved and loathed, they are exemplified by the sprawling Park Hill housing estate, but there are many other worthy examples. Fans of the BAFTA-award winning This Is England TV series in particular should keep an eye out, as much of the show is filmed in Sheffield.

11. Visit the local galleries and art spaces.

Site Gallery / Via Facebook: Site-Gallery

True to the local artistic spirit of Sheffield, there are a lot of people doing it for themselves here. Scattered all over the city are galleries and artspaces constantly putting on a variety of exhibitions, events, and parties. The variety is vast, and the only way to keep up with what is going on is to follow the places themselves. The Site Gallery, Bloc, S1, B&B, A Month of Sundays, The Hide, APG Works, 99 Mary Street, Bank Street Arts, Yorkshire Artspace, and SIA are just some of the ones to keep an eye out on.

12. Head out to the Peak District.

Natasha Bright

Jump on a bus or get in your car and within 20 minutes you can find yourself within the most glorious and immersive countryside, as if the city you just left is hours behind you. Once there you can indulge in wild swimming, walks, country pubs, and breathtaking scenery.


13. Wander around the Nichols Building. / Via Kaz Scattergood

The Nichols Building (located in an old tea and coffee roaster's from 1854) is a sprawling mess of, well, just about everything, including vintage clothes, records, books, toys, games, antiques, furniture, and much much more. It's easy to lose several hours in there, and should you need a break from digging through it all, there's also a café.

15. Attend a festival.

Tramlines / Via Facebook: Tramlines

Be it music, film, literature, or beer, Sheffield has a healthy array of festivals throughout the year. The award-winning annual city-wide music festival Tramlines is one of the most well-known, but there are many others: Sensoria Festival, a nine-day long series of gigs, screenings, live scores, and events; Off the Shelf, a near month-long festival of words; Doc/Fest is one of the biggest documentary festivals in the world; Celluloid Screams, an annual horror film festival; Festival of the Mind, which fuses academia with art and culture every two years; various beer festivals scattered throughout the year; MADE, a festival dedicated to entrepreneurs; and an an annual food festival. There are also many other, smaller, more community-based festivals, including Sharrow and Peace in the Park.

16. Picnic in the park(s). / Via sparkliferous

Sheffield has 80 public parks and 650 other green and open spaces, which means that setting up a picnic and settling down for a few hours can be done just about anywhere. If you're after a view, however, you can't do much better than Meersbrook Park, a glorious place to look out over the city.


17. Explore the Botanical Gardens.

Paul Bagshaw / Via Flickr: 49381582@N05

The Botanical Gardens regularly hosts all sorts of activities, from music and art to plant sales and educational events for both adults and children. And among all the flowers, trees, and lush green grass lies a most unique building: an original Grade II-listed 19th-century bear pit. Now, though, it's teeming with rather tame squirrels instead of bears.

18. Check out the museums. / Via carolchavespilates

There are many interesting and unique museums in Sheffield, from larger ones like Western Park to smaller, more specialist ones, like the National Emergency Services Museum. Kelham Island Museum, meanwhile, is located around a trail of great real ale pubs, so is perfect for a quick look round followed by a beer. The most interesting museum, however, is probably the Alfred Denny Museum of Zoology – although it's only open one morning a month and requires booking in advance.

19. Mooch around the Antiques Quarter.

Sheffield Antiques Quarter / Via Facebook: SheffieldAntiquesQuarter

A cluster of antique shops in a compact area led to the naming of this area, but independent record shops, bars, cafés, restaurants, bookshops, and vintage clothes shops have all opened up there over the years, making it a perfect part of town in which to while away a Saturday afternoon.

20. Go to the theatre.

Sheffield Theatres / Via

The Crucible, Lyceum, Montgomery, Merlin, and Lantern theatres are some of the more traditional-style theatres available in city. One of the newest arrivals in the city is also one of the more interesting, however: Theatre Delicatessen is located in a huge former Woolworths that has been turned into a multi-platform artspace largely run by volunteers. Immersive theatre performances take place alongside film screenings, gigs, and clubnights, and there is a licensed café in the old shop front that is accessible directly from the Moor shopping area.