Sheffield is a city that’s been through a considerable transformation over the last hundred years or so – a former industrial powerhouse, it’s largely done away with the smokestacks, and represents a green and modern urban centre, set in one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the UK.
Best yet, Sheffield is among the most accessible cities in the country, with strong train links with surrounding cities. You can get from Sheffield to Chesterfield on a train, for example, in around eleven minutes – and there are trains running every fifteen minutes.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Covering around nineteen acres in the southwest of the city, the botanical gardens are a Grade II site of special historic interest. On the grounds you’ll find glass pavillions, a Victorian Curator’s House (which now serves as a café) and a fossil stump which is roughly three hundred million years old. You’ll spend your time here wandering along the network of winding pathways which connect eighteen distinctly themed zones. Each offers a slightly different profile of plant life!
Sheffield Cathedral and Town Hall
Sheffield is actually home to two different cathedrals: a Roman Catholic one and an Anglican one. It’s one of just five Grade I listed buildings in the city, with another being the nearby Town Hall. The larger Anglican Cathedral is the oldest building in the city to still be in constant use. It was formally granted Cathedral status in 1914, but there’s a history of worship on the site that stretches back to before the Norman conquest. There are regular musical performances at both the Cathedral and the Town Hall, and it’s worth checking out what’s on when you’re in the city.
Sheffield Winter Garden
This is among Europe’s largest urban glasshouses, at around seventy metres long. Inside is an impressive collection of plant life, containing more than 2,500 specimens from across the world. You can walk straight into the gardens from the street and enjoy a stop at the cafe. As such, it’s easy to incorporate a visit to the Winter Garden into a walk around the city centre. Bear in mind that the gardens are occasionally closed to host private events. As such, if you’re planning a visit, it’s worth checking ahead of time whether they’re open.
The Meadowhall shopping centre has been around since 1990, and it’s now due for an extension. When the plans go through, it’s set to become the fourth-largest shopping centre in the country – but even now, it’s a perfect place to scratch a retail itch. The building is interesting from an architectural perspective, too, and just under three hundred retailers maintain a presence here.