The 14 most popular tourist attractions in Sheffield, England
England’s fourth largest city is about 35 miles south of Leeds on the Don and Rivelin Rivers at the foot of the Derbyshire Hills. The industrial city of Sheffield is a popular base for exploring the Peak District, which is known for its bucolic vistas, manor houses, mining towns and mineral springs. Sheffield also has many well-maintained parks and a beautiful green space for fun all around. Also popular, especially among gardeners, is Sheffield’s 19-acre botanical garden.
When you’re enjoying the city’s many green spaces, it’s worth visiting the center of this university city, where academic institutions have long worked closely with local industry, the most recent example being the Technology Park next to the technical college. Sheffield is known for knives, all kinds of cutting tools, implements and the production of high quality steel, a fact that Chaucer mentions in 1478 in his Canterbury Tales when he describes the “Sheffield Twittel,” the ancestor of the modern pocket knife. Once in home workshops, Sheffield’s fine cutlery was still exported around the world.
See also: Where to stay in Sheffield?
1 Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
Listed in Rank II, the beautiful 19-acre Sheffield Botanical Gardens opened in 1836 and featured more than 5,000 plant species. It’s a beautiful place to walk – especially in spring and summer when many plants are in full bloom. Highlights include the greenhouses, also listed in Class II, with temperate plants from Australia, Asia and South Africa; the Victorian Garden; and the Four Seasons Garden, which is colorful in all seasons. The gardens are a great place to take the kids (look for friendly squirrels), and many music, art and theater events are held on the grounds. After exploring all the botanical beauty, you can relax in the on-site cafe. Best of all, admission is free.
Other popular gardens in Sheffield include The Winter Garden, with more than 2,500 plants in one of the UK’s largest greenhouses, and nearby Gardens World, where water features take center stage amongst patches of perfectly manicured lawn and plenty of cafes.
Address: Sheffield Botanic Gardens, Clarkhouse Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Official website: http://www.sbg.org.uk/
2 Graves Park.
Graves Park MadAdminSkillz / photo modified
About three miles south of downtown, Graves Park is the city’s largest public green space and offers a fun lineup for the whole family. Kids love Graves Park Animal Farm here, where they can see several rare breeds of farm animals and stand next to goats, llamas and donkeys. Two playgrounds are also in the park for kids who want to burn off steam, and a small train wraps around the ponds during weekends and school vacations. Other popular activities include exploring nature trails; casting fishing lines in the pond; and sports like cricket, tennis and soccer. After all your active adventures, you can enjoy snacks in the café.
3 Tropical Butterfly Center Wildlife and Falconry House
Tropical Butterfly Center Wildlife and Falconry House
More than just butterflies, the Tropical Butterfly House is also home to meerkats, lemurs, animals, otters, owls, reptiles, birds of prey and colorful parrots. Animal lovers can encounter close encounters with some of the more charismatic animals. You can pet lemurs, meet merkats, learn all about otters at a keeper’s talk, feed farm animals and spend hours photographing butterflies up close. If you’re hungry after meeting all the animals, the cafe here serves lunch, snacks, and afternoon tea with homemade cakes.
Address: Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Official website: http://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/
4 Kelham Island Museum
Kelham Island Museum Ed Webster / photo modified
The Kelham Island Museum, part of the Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, focuses on exhibits related to Sheffield’s industrial past, particularly steel and silver over the past 300 years. Craftsmen can be seen at work in the Little Mester’s workshop, and the huge Don River Steam Engine, built in 1905 and used in one of the local steel mills, regularly passes through its tracks. The museum also has an impressive collection of tools, as well as historic vehicles. The area around the museum has also undergone significant changes since its industrial heyday and is now popular for its canteen and stores.
Address: Alma Street, Sheffield
Official website: www.simt.co.uk/kelham-island-museum
5 Sheffield Cathedral.
Dedicated to St. Peter and Paul, Sheffield Cathedral stands on the site of a parish church founded in 1100. A new church, built in the late Gothic Perpendicular style, replaced it in the mid-15th century (only the choir and tower remain, and the nave was built in the late 18th century). When Sheffield witnessed the bishop in 1914, plans were for the present nave to be the transept of a new and much larger church, but that project fell victim to two world wars, leaving the church with its unusual ground plan.
Inside the cathedral, note the font donated in 1884 by Freemasons and the marble tomb of the Earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1538), which shows him between his two wives.The unusual black oak portable sedilia (the seat used by bishops) in St. Catherine’s Chapel dates from the 15th century, while the main decoration provided by colorful stained glass windows in the Chapterhouse depict the history of the city (they were added in the 1960s). The most interesting of these, the Chaucer Window, shows Trumpington’s Mill (from Reeve’s Story ) with his Sheffield Knife. In addition to the popular café, the cathedral also offers regular educational programs and tours.
Address: Church Street, Sheffield
Official website: www.sheffieldcathedral.org
6 Weston Park Museum
Weston Park Museum Bea / photo modified
Sheffield’s largest museum, the Weston Park Museum was founded in 1875 to house the Mappin Art Gallery, an impressive collection of works donated to the city by a local businessman who benefited from the steel industry. The facility has grown over the years and now houses the history, archaeology, social history and arts and crafts of Sheffield. Highlights include reproductions of Bronze Age art and armor, some 250 paintings by area artists, and numerous visiting exhibits from larger museums. Weston Park itself, which includes the foundations of the former estate, is also interesting to explore.
Location: West Bank, Sheffield
Official website: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/weston-park/home
7 National Emergency Museum
Considered the largest museum in the world, the National Emergency Museum is a must-see in Sheffield. The museum’s vast collection features more than 50 vintage vehicles, including numerous fire trucks, police cars and ambulances, as well as uniforms and equipment. For a really special treat, these historic vehicles can be rented for city tours or private functions, and regular children’s motorized hikes are included with admission. The old jail cells and police stables are also worth checking out.
Official website: www.emergencymuseum.org.uk
8 Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet http://underclassrising.net/ / photo modified
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is just three miles southwest of downtown Sheffield. It is a charming 18th-century Victorian village where visitors can learn about the traditional manufacture of steel scythes. This interesting tourist attraction includes warehouses, workmen’s houses, water wheels, jackhammers, a grindhouse and workshops, and the last intact crucible furnace in Britain. A new addition is the Attractions Learning Center, which is used to house educational programs, and where you’ll find a first-rate café. Similarly, the historic Ferris Wheel at Porter Brook Town allows visitors to get a glimpse of one of the last surviving water-grinding workshops.
Address: Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield
Official website: www.simt.co.uk/abbeydale-industrial-hamlet
9 Graves Art Gallery and Millennium Gallery
Graves Art Gallery and Millennium Gallery Orangeaurochs / photo modified
Opened in 1934 above Sheffield Central Library , Graves Art Gallery contains an excellent collection of Old Masters and English art from the 18th century to the present day, as well as major 19th and 20th century artists such as Cézanne, Corot, Picasso and Braque. Other notable works include a collection of fine portraits as well as contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Art lovers will also want to visit the nearby Millennium Gallery, which features metalwork, contemporary art and design exhibitions, as well as unique Ruskin City collections. It also hosts traveling exhibitions from partners including the V&A, Tate and the National Portrait Gallery. Also nearby are the Lyceum Theatre and the Teagle Theatre , reopened in 1990 after extensive renovations and the fascinating Site Gallery, which brings together an eclectic mix of moving images, new media and performing arts.
Location: Arundel Gate, Sheffield
Official website: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/graves-gallery/home
10 Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
The colorful pedestrian areas of Orchard Square and Fargate, with their many stores, restaurants and cafes, extend south to Surrey Street, the site of Sheffield’s Victorian Town Hall. This impressive neo-Renaissance building was built in 1897 and enlarged in 1910 and 1923 and is notable for its 193-foot-tall tower, above which stands the figure of Vulcan, the blacksmith-god (look closely and you will see that he is holding arrows, which he only forged, symbols of Sheffield’s predominant steel industry). East of City Hall Tudor Square , home to several museums, theaters and Sheffield City Hall , Castle Market and Castle Square, north of Tudor Square, are modern, partly underground shopping centers.
Address: Pinstone Street, Sheffield
Official website: www.sheffield.gov.uk/out–about/tourist-information/town-hall.html
11 Bishop’s House Museum.
The construction of the Bishop’s small wooden house, the best preserved in Sheffield, began in the 15th century, and in the 16th and 17th centuries. The history of its construction is explained in two rooms, and other exhibits refer to the history of Sheffield during Tudor and Stuart times.The Bishops’ House also hosts artistic and cultural events and is a popular venue for folk music concerts, family celebrations and weddings. Another interesting historic building worth visiting is Sheffield Manor, a well-preserved Tudor manor house that boasts a working farm and field meadows.
Address: Meersbrook Park, Norton Leys Lane, Sheffield
Official website: www.bishopshouse.org.uk
12 Elsecar Heritage Railway.
Elsecar Heritage Railway Chris / photo modified
Ten miles from Sheffield, the Elsecar Heritage Railway aims to preserve, restore and expand one of the oldest rail lines. Highlights include an impressive collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock that once belonged to the South Yorkshire Railway. Development engineers can even learn how to ride a steam locomotive on one of the railroad’s “footplate” courses (they also offer many interesting themed tours). The railroad is adjacent to the Elsecar Heritage Center , an antique, historical and craft center in the former metal and mulch workshops. Also of interest to transport enthusiasts is the South Yorkshire Transport Museum in Rotherham, with its collection of 50 vehicles, including buses, streetcars, locomotives and tractors.
Address: Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wat Road, Elsecar, Barnsley
Official website: www.elsecarrailway.co.uk
13 Beauchief Abbey and Ancient Forests
Beauchief Abbey and Ancient Woodlands Kevin Hutchinson / photo modified
Beauchief Abbey, which combines the remains of an abbey founded in the mid-12th century and a chapel built in 1660, is worth a visit (guided tours can be arranged with advance notice). Regular services are still held at the abbey, but check the schedules in advance.
A highlight of the visit is the opportunity to explore the magnificent ancient woods nearby, including Parkbank Wood, Old Park Wood and Ladies Spring Wood; the latter is popular with birdwatchers for many rare species of woodpeckers. These old woods are wonderful to explore because of the many well known walking paths that crisscross the area.
Location: Abbeydale, Sheffield.
Official website: www.beauchiefabbey.org.uk
Worksop [Duncan] / photo modified
The coal town of Worksop, located 17 miles southeast of Sheffield, offers several interesting things to do. Most popular with visitors are Priory Wharf; the Circle Arts Center, which features live music and art performances; and Clumber Park, which boasts one of the longest greenhouses in England, along with extensive parkland, woodlands, open heathland and farmland. The area was once home to the Dukes of Newcastle, but all that remains of the estate is a Gothic Revival chapel and a Victorian fenced garden with a greenhouse. Also worth visiting is Mr. Stroh’s House , an Edwardian house with displays of Victorian furniture, family keepsakes, and a garden.
Location: Property Office, Clumber Park, Worksop
Official website: www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/worksop
Where to stay in Sheffield for sightseeing
We recommend these highly rated hotels in Sheffield with easy access to the city’s best shopping, dining and attractions:
Mercure Sheffield St. Paul’s Hotel: 4-star spa hotel, modern building, stylish decor, indoor heated pool, sauna.
Sheffield (United Kingdom) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. Sheffield main attractions with descriptions, guides and maps.
City of Sheffield (United Kingdom).
Sheffield is a city in Great Britain in the county of South Yorkshire. It is located in Central England in the valley of the River Don at the foot of the Derbyshire Hills. Sheffield is an old industrial city, which in the past was the center of heavy industry. Now, however, the smokestacks and factories are almost gone. Now Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in Europe. More than half of its territory is a green area. In addition, part of the city is part of the Peak District National Park. Now Sheffield is famous for innovative and knowledge-intensive industries, cultural events, high-quality steel products and fine cutlery.
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Geography and climate
Sheffield is located in central England in East Yorkshire. The city is on the River Sheaf, which is a tributary of the River Don. Sheffield is on a hilly plain at the foot of the Pennine Mountains. It has a temperate maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Sheffield is the greenest city in England. On its territory there are more than 150 woodlands, more than 75 parks and 10 gardens.
Information for tourists
- Population – more than 570 thousand people (the fourth largest city in England).
- Area – 367.94 km².
- Currency – pound sterling.
- Language – English.
- Time – UTC 0, +1 in summer.
- Britain is not a member of the Schengen Agreement. Visas can be obtained by visiting in person at accredited visa centers located in Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg.
- Sheffield Doncaster Airport is one of the youngest in the UK. It is located 25 minutes from the city center and connects it with Dublin, Alicante, Amsterdam, Paris, Dubrovnik, Malaga, Gdansk, Bucharest, Poznan, Wroclaw, Riga and Vilnius. Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham airports are relatively close.
- Sheffield is a major railway hub of England. You can get here by train from London, Manchester, Leicester, Edinburgh and many other British cities.
- Meadowhall in Sheffield is one of the largest shopping centers in England (more than 250 stores). It is visited by about 30 million people annually.
- The main shopping streets and districts are High Street, Fargate and Peace Gardens.
- Sheffield is famous for its inexpensive (by the standards of England) catering establishments and a variety of pubs (from traditional British establishments to modern bars).
Sheffield was founded in the 8th century by a merger of Anglo-Saxon and Norman settlements, which emerged on the border of the kingdoms of Mercia and Elmet. In the 11th century, the Normans conquered England and founded a castle here, around which a small town was formed that became the nucleus of modern Sheffield. In the 13th century it gained the right to market trade and hold fairs.
In the 14th century Sheffield became famous for the manufacture of knives and steelwork. By the 16th century the city had become the center of British cutlery production. In the 18th century Sheffield became one of the largest centers of metallurgical production in Britain. Industrial development continued into the 19th century and caused the city to grow rapidly. In 1893 Sheffield was granted city status. Industrial production was the main industry of the city until World War II.
The town hall is an impressive Victorian neo-Renaissance building, built in 1897 and expanded in the 1920s. It is a true symbol of the city and is notable for its tall tower topped with a statue of the blacksmith god Vulcan.
To the east of the town hall is Tudor Square, where several museums, theaters and public buildings are located. To the north lies Castle Square with underground shopping centers.
Sheffield Cathedral (St. Peter and Paul) is a late Gothic cathedral built in the 15th century on the site of an 11th-century parish church. The nave was completed in the 18th century. The church contains a number of interesting religious artifacts and objects of art.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
St. Mary’s Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic Revival style church located in the heart of the city. The building dates from 1850 and has beautiful interior decoration.
The Bishops’ House is a small 15th-century medieval half-timbered house that is one of Sheffield’s few ancient buildings. It now houses a small museum.
The Botanical Gardens are one of Sheffield’s most picturesque places, containing some 5,000 plant species from Australia, Asia and South Africa. Another popular spot is the Winter Garden, the largest array of greenhouses in the UK, with over 2,000 plant species.
“The Diamond” is a striking building in the style of modern architecture that houses the engineering department of a local university.
Weston Park is Sheffield’s largest museum and houses an art gallery with an impressive collection of art.
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a charming 18th-century Victorian village near Sheffield. It is an open-air museum, including warehouses, workers’ houses, waterwheels and workshops, where you can learn about the production of steel scythes.
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