Ahh, Yorkshire, a rural part of the UK where people still live in an oldy-worldy way of life. One of the best places to see the best of Yorkshire is to visit Sheffield, an industrial city that rose to prominence due to its steel industry.

While the steel industry is no more, Sheffield still has a lot to offer. From fascinating museums to stunning natural surroundings, you’ll find there’s a ton of things to do in Sheffield for any type of traveler.

The city is a proper outdoors city like, being the gateway to the Peak District National Park. In fact, one-third of the city lies within the National Park, which is why the city has the highest ratio of trees to people at 4:1.

With all the history, heritage, and natural beauty crammed into one city, deciding what to do in Sheffield can be challenging. So help you out, I’ve made this list of all the top attractions in Sheffield, plus some hidden gems, so you can make planning your itinerary a little easier.

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    The Top Things to do in Sheffield

    If you’re backpacking the UK and don’t have a lot of time, don’t worry, these are five of the best things to do in Sheffield.

    Top Thing To Do in Sheffield
    Take a Walk in the Peak District
    Top Thing To Do in Sheffield

    Take a Walk in the Peak District

    Sheffield is an outdoor city so the best way to experience this is to get outside and immerse yourself in the natural beauty.

    Things to Do in Sheffield with Kids
    Take the Kids to a Fun Football Coaching Session
    Things to Do in Sheffield with Kids

    Take the Kids to a Fun Football Coaching Session

    Experience all the fun of a football coaching session. Suitable for boys and girls of all ages.

    Things to Do in Sheffield this Weekend
    Hike to the Highest Point in Peak District
    Things to Do in Sheffield this Weekend

    Hike to the Highest Point in Peak District

    Kinder Scout is a plateau in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District. At 2,087 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point in the park and the highest point in the East Midlands

    Things to Do in Sheffield for Adults
    Experience the UK’s Highest Altitude Whisky Distillery
    Things to Do in Sheffield for Adults

    Experience the UK’s Highest Altitude Whisky Distillery

    Visit the Forest Distillery and the Cat and Fiddle Inn and see the distillery and a tasting.

    Best Day Trip from Sheffield
    Step Back in Time at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet
    Best Day Trip from Sheffield

    Step Back in Time at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

    Visit this 18th-century village to experience life at home and work for Abbeydale’s residents during the hamlet’s heyday as a hub for the production of agricultural tours.

    1. Take a Walk in the Peak District

    Take a Walk in the Peak District

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    Sheffield is known as an Outdoor City, since it’s the gateway to the Peak District National Park, so one of the most recommended things to do in Sheffield is to get outdoors and immerse yourself in its verdant landscape. 

    The nearby Peak District National Park encompasses a diverse range of geographic features, including caves, valleys, gorges, and sprawling moors. A walk through these wild and remote moors will likely yield sightings of local wildlife, including red deer, and impressive birdlife. 

    Whilst hiking in the Peak District, you can stumble upon the remains of a Bronze Age village, stone circles, and even burial mounds.

    • Entrance: £20 per person
    • Hours: Tour times vary
    • Address: Near Big Moor, Peak District

    2. Visit the Stately Wentworth Woodhouse

    Visit the Stately Wentworth Woodhouse
    Photo: Andrewrabbott (WikiCommons)

    Visiting grand English estates is like taking a fascinating trip back in time. At Wentworth Woodhouse, you can explore one of the most elegant stately homes in the country. The Georgian-era house lies on 87 acres of grounds and was initially built around 1725. 

    The house has over 350 rooms, with only the State Rooms currently available to the public, but that’s more than enough to inspire dreams of attending a grand ball or event as a guest. 

    The gardens are a destination in themselves, with meadows, wildflowers, woodlands, and ancient trees to see. 

    • Entrance: Adults – £11, children (16 and under) – Free 
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Tuesday to Sunday) 
    • Address: Wentworth, Rotherham

    3. Head Out for Big Views, Bikes, and Bakewell Pudding

    Head Out for Big Views, Bikes, and Bakewell Pudding

    The Peak District, one of Sheffield’s top attractions, can be explored in several ways. A leisurely bike ride to take in these incredible views is highly recommended. 

    Cycle along the Thornhill Trail, which will take you to the Derwent Reservoir. The views from here reach across the Dark Peak and the Derwent Valley. 

    On the return trip, stop in a typically English pub to refuel. What better way than with a traditional Yorkshire Pudding or a Bakewell Pudding and a local ale? Hit the country lanes again for the short ride back to Sheffield. 

    • Entrance: £45 per person
    • Hours: Tour times vary
    • Address: Bamford Village

    4. Experience the UK’s Highest Altitude Whisky Distillery

    Experience the UK’s Highest Altitude Whisky Distillery

    The Forest  Distillery started as a small gin distillery set in a tiny 17th-century cowshed. It has since flourished to include the popular Cat and Fiddle Inn and is now also the home of Forest Whisky. 

    Pop in for a visit, take a casual look around the distillery, and hear all about the history of the building. Enjoy a tasting and perhaps a homemade steak pie and a few more drinks in front of the fire in the Inn to make a day of it. 

    • Entrance: £25 per person
    • Hours: 12:00 to 17:00 (Monday to Sunday) 
    • Address: Between Macclesfield and Buxton

    5. Stroll through the Sheffield Botanical Gardens

    Spending some time in the Sheffield Botanical Gardens is a popular thing to do in Sheffield, particularly when the weather is good. There are over 18 planting areas and various listed buildings to see. 

    Follow the paths that wind through Victorian Gardens, past the Pavilion, which houses plants from warmer climates, and on past the rock and water garden. If you need to rest your legs, relax on the lawn in the shade of one of the beautiful trees. 

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 8:00 to 19:45 Summer weekdays), 10:00 to 19:45 (Summer weekdays and holidays), 8:00 to 15:50 (Winter weekdays), 10:00 to 15:50 (Winter weekends and holidays)
    • Address: Clarkehouse Road

    6. Explore the Natural History of the Peak District

    Explore the Natural History of the Peak District

    Anyone with even a passing interest in archaeology should explore the natural history of this region. There’s a long history of human habitation in this area, dating as far back as the Bronze Age. 

    See the material remains of these ancient residents, visiting enigmatic henges, ancient villages, stone circles, and ancient trails through this landscape. You can visit prehistoric burial sites at Minninglow, Nine Stone Close – a Neolithic stone circle, and the remains of various human settlements. 

    • Entrance: £80 per person
    • Hours: Tour times vary
    • Address: To be confirmed on booking
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    7. Play and Explore at the National Videogame Museum

    Ready, player 1? This is your chance to immerse yourself in the world of video games, arguably one of the quirkiest things to do in Sheffield. Learn how games are made and who makes them, and even attend a fascinating workshop on game development. The Lab is all about the creative process. 

    The Arcade is where you can play (no coins or tokens needed here!) a selection of arcade games. Familiar favorites like Ms. Pacman and Sonic are all there waiting for you. 

    Of course, Donkey Kong gets its own exhibit where you can check out 14 versions of this one legendary game. 

    • Entrance: Adult – £11, children (5 to 18) – £9, children (under 5) – free
    • Hours: 10:00 to 18:30 (Monday to Sunday) 
    • Address: Castle House, Angel Street

    8. Check Out the Imposing Norman Castle 

    Check Out the Imposing Norman Castle

    Peveril Castle is perched on the top of a hill overlooking the small village of Castleton in the Peak District. It’s a popular attraction near Sheffield that attracts numerous visitors every year. 

    It is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses (it was built around 1176), and it has a fascinating history that you can explore through interactive displays in the Visitor Centre. 

    A climb to the top of the hill and the keep itself offers plenty of opportunities to admire the breathtaking views over Hope Valley. 

    • Entrance: Adult – £9, Children – £5.40
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Monday to Sunday)
    • Address: Market Place, Castleton, Derbyshire

    9. Discover Sheffield Cathedral

    Discover Sheffield Cathedral

    Sheffield Cathedral is the oldest building in the city that is still in use. The cathedral’s history is over 1000 years long and includes many changes to the buildings along the way. These other additions are clearly visible and add to the character of the building. 

    As you’d expect, the cathedral is peaceful, with beautiful stained glass windows that really come alive when the light catches them. There are also carvings, calligraphy, and statues aplenty to see.

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 8:30 to 17:30 (Monday to Saturday), 8:00 to 17:00 (Sunday) 
    • Address: Church Street

    10. Take the Kids to a Fun Football Coaching Session

    Take the Kids to a Fun Football Coaching Session

    Anyone looking for fun things to do with the kids in Sheffield should consider signing the little ones up for a fantastic day of football and fun. Perfect for children aged 2 to 13, activities are appropriately tailored to each age group. 

    These sessions suit girls and boys and will have everyone learning some great new football skills by the end. Just when you thought you could sit this one out, parents are included in all the fun! 

    • Entrance: From £7.80
    • Hours: Time slots may vary
    • Address: Goals Sheffield Soccer Center, Norfolk Park Road

    11. Explore the History of Industry in Sheffield

    Explore the History of Industry in Sheffield
    Photo: BCDS (WikiCommons)

    The city of Sheffield is a city forged from steel. This history of industry and steelmaking can be explored at this popular attraction in Sheffield – Kelham Island Museum. 

    The museum is located on a man-made island over 900 years old, located in the heart of the oldest industrial district. Inside, you’ll be treated to interactive galleries detailing the industry’s history, from light trades through the Industrial Revolution to mass production. 

    See machine collections, tools, and various other authentic documents and photos from the time. 

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 10:00 -17:00 (Tuesday to Friday), 10:00 to 16:00 (Saturday), 11:00 to 16:00 (Sunday), 10:00 to 16:00 (Mondays, only during school holidays) 
    • Address: Alma Street

    12. Discover Renishaw Hall and Gardens

    A day spent at Renishaw Hall and Gardens is undoubtedly one of the more highly recommended things to do in Sheffield. Discover Renishaw Hall, explore its opulent interiors, and learn about the history of the Sitwell family, who has lived here for nearly 400 years. 

    Outside, you’ll find exquisite Italianate gardens, a garden center, and vineyards open for tours. After exploring the topiaries and ornamental gardens, enjoy a delicious treat at the café.

    Because the family still lives here, access to the Hall is only available on Friday between 12:30 and 14:00 as part of a guided tour. 

    • Entrance: Adults – £9, children (3 and older) – £4.50, children (under 3) – free
    • Hours: 10:30 to 16:30 (gardens), 9:00 to 16:30 (café) 
    • Address: Renishaw Park, Chesterfield

    13. Learn Together at Magna Science Adventure Centre

    One of the top activities in Sheffield with the kids is a visit to the Magna Science Adventure Centre. Hands-on fun and interactive exhibits help young and old experience the wonders of science and technology. 

    Explore the four pavilions – Air, Earth, Fire, and Water – where you can experience the fire tornado, splash in the water, and explode some rocks. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to pop in at AQUA-TEK, a fun splash park suitable for all ages. 

    • Entrance: Adults – £15.95, children (4 to 15) – £13.95, children (2 to 3) – £6.50
    • Hours:  10:00 to 17:00 (Monday to Sunday) 
    • Address: Magna Way, Rotherham

    14. Hike to the Highest Point in Peak District

    Hike to the Highest Point in Peak District

    The Peak District offers plenty of fantastic sites and ways to explore this area of exceptional beauty. Of course, heading to its highest point is a popular thing to do in Sheffield, particularly for the stunning views it offers. 

    Kinder Scout is a plateau in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District. At 2,087 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point in the park and the highest point in the East Midlands. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Manchester and even the mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales. 

    • Entrance: From £30 per person
    • Hours: Tour times vary
    • Address: Edale Village
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    15. Escape the Hustle at Victoria Quays

    Escape the Hustle at Victoria Quays
    Photo: Abarrajon (WikiCommons)

    Take a tranquil escape to Victoria Quays, grab a bite to eat near the water, or embark on a journey along the Canal. There are loads of events held here throughout the year, so it’s good to keep an eye out for any event details. 

    The Sheffield and Tinsely Canal is over 200 years old and offers an excellent path for walking, running, or cycling. A street art trail also features 13 amazing murals along the waterway created by local artists. 

    • Entrance: free
    • Hours: 24 hours
    • Address: Victoria Quays, Sheffield

    16. Hit the Tails at Lady Canning’s Plantation

    Get your mountain bike thrills at Lady Canning’s Plantation. With trails suitable for a range of rider levels, this is a fun thing to do in Sheffield with kids. The Plantation is on the edge of the famous Houndkirk Moors with its many bridleways and is close to various other trails from the Porter Valley.

    The Blue Steel trail is excellent for beginners and little ones and is generally relatively smooth, while the trail known as Cooking on Gas offers more opportunity for speed. 

    • Entrance: N/A
    • Hours: N/A
    • Address: Off Ringinglow Road

    17. Explore the Last Surviving Railway Roundhouse

    Explore the Last Surviving Railway Roundhouse
    Photo: Hugh Llewelyn (Flickr)

    Rail enthusiasts, this is one attraction in Sheffield not to miss. The Barrow Hill Roundhouse is the last surviving railway roundhouse in the UK with an operational turntable. Initially, the roundhouse was built in 1870, so it’s a real piece of history. 

    The rest of the museum houses changing displays of steam and diesel locomotives, a working signal box, and other interpretive displays which use original items from rail history. If you can time your trip to coincide with the Rail Ale Beer and Music Festival, you won’t be sorry. 

    • Entrance: Adults – £7, children (5 – 15) – £5, children (under 5) – free 
    • Hours: Open between March and December. 10:00 to 16:00 (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Address: Campbell Dr, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield

    18. Browse the Millennium Gallery

    A popular thing to do in Sheffield when it’s raining is to visit the Millennium Gallery, an art gallery and museum in the city’s heart. Check out the unique Metalwork and John Ruskin permanent collections.

    A Craft and Design gallery features temporary exhibitions throughout the year. A special exhibition space accommodates major touring exhibits from national galleries like the Tate, and the V&A. Workshops and events are regularly hosted. Make sure to check these out when you’re in town too. 

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Tuesday to Saturday), 11:00 to 16:00 (Sunday) 
    • Address: Arundel Gate
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    19. Step Back in Time at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

    Step Back in Time at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

    Once upon a time, Abbeydale was a producer of agricultural tools. Visit this 18th-century village to experience life at home and work for Abbeydale’s residents. This little hamlet was also the home of the largest water-powered industrial site on the River Sheaf. 

    Visit a typical manager’s house, a worker’s cottage, and a waterwheel. Enjoy a fascinating blacksmith’s display, and visit the last complete surviving crucible steel furnace in the UK. 

    This heritage site is a fun day for the entire family.

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Thursday to Saturday), 11:00 to 16:00 (Sunday) 
    • Address: Abbeydale Rd S, Beauchief

    20. Explore the Story of Sheffield from Prehistory to Today

    Explore the Story of Sheffield from Prehistory to Today

    Weston Park houses incredible collections of natural history, metalwork, archaeology, and art, collected over the years since it opened in 1875. In addition, the gallery has recently added an Ancient Egyptian collection and another collection co-curated with Sheffield’s residents, telling the stories of people who live here. 

    There’s plenty to see and explore here, from prehistory to the modern day. In addition to permanent displays, you can check out some fascinating temporary exhibits and events that change regularly. 

    • Entrance: Free
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (Tuesday to Saturday), 11:00 to 16:00 (Sunday)
    • Address: Western Bank

    21. Take a Peek in Peak Cavern 

    Take a Peek in Peak Cavern

    Deep below Peveril Castle, you’ll find the entrance to the Peak Cavern – the largest natural cave entrance in the British Isles. It’s one of four show caves in the area. Irreverently, the cave is also known as The Devil’s Arse.

    The cavern has many chambers to explore, featuring incredible rock formations. The best way to explore this cave system is with a professional, so you don’t get lost and have someone who knows what to do if there’s an accident (though hopefully this won’t be needed, of course!).

    You’ll discover the history of the rope makers who provided rope for the lead miners and other fascinating folklore. 

    • Entrance: From £10
    • Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (daily between April and October), 10:00 to 17:00 (on weekends between November and March)
    • Address: Peak Cavern Road, Castleton

    Where to Stay in Sheffield 

    Sheffield has a wide range of options of where to stay. Whatever your budget or travel style, there’s something to suit you.

    Choose to stay at a budget-friendly backpackers hotel in the city center, or a quiet cottage in the Peak District neighborhood, you can find it all here.

    Here’s where I recommend staying in Sheffield…

    Best Airbnb in Sheffield – The Fitzgerald

    The Fitzgerald

    Choose this luxury one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city, close to many things to do in Sheffield. Perfect for solo travelers or a couple looking to make the most of their time in the city, the apartment offers a stylish and comfortable retreat after a day’s exploring. 

    Best Hostel in Sheffield – Russel Scott Backpackers

    Russel Scott Backpackers

    This secure and affordable backpacker offers guests a communal self-catering kitchen and lounge and a daily continental breakfast. The rooms are simple but more than comfortable, with Wi-Fi and shared washrooms. This is a great and affordable option close to the Peak District. Public transport is within easy reach for access to the city center.

    Best Hotel in Sheffield – Brocco on the Park Boutique Hotel

    Brocco on the Park Boutique Hotel

    Enjoy the comfort and service of this boutique hotel at great value. Rooms include flat-screen TVs and coffee machines; some even have a balcony, while others offer a city view. The hotel’s location is within easy reach of many Sheffield attractions, making this a great option. 

    Some Additional Tips for Visiting Sheffield

    Before you go booking accommodation and mapping out your itinerary, I have just a few more words of advice before you go…

    • Invest in travel insurance! You never know what may happen on the road.
    • Wear sturdy shoes. Sheffield is a very walkable city (if a little hilly in places), so wear comfy shoes when exploring.
    • Plan your visit for the summer. The summer months are a great time to enjoy the outdoors and the Peak District, but it’s also a popular time to visit which can mean higher hotel rates and longer queues at Sheffield attractions.
    • Bring a good water bottle with you and avoid buying single-use plastic ones!
    • Try a Sheffield fish cake while you’re here. If you’re expecting something made from mashed potato and fish, shaped into a sort of disc, you’re in for a treat. In Sheffield, a fish cake features two slices of potato with a piece of fish in the middle, a la sandwich. Try it! 
    • Find cheap flights. Every once in a while, a killer deal pops up.
    • Book in advance. You can sometimes save a few bucks by booking online in advance. 

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    Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Sheffield

    The city of Sheffield is renowned for its exceptional natural beauty. The Peak District National Park can be explored in several ways to see everything from wildlife and birdlife to underground caves and even Bronze Age Villages. 

    Add to that the city’s long history and well-documented and preserved past and you’ve got a destination with much to offer visitors. With a list of attractions in Sheffield that includes grand estates, galleries, and museums, you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to squeeze it all in. 

    Hopefully, this list has helped you pick out those attractions you absolutely don’t want to miss, so you can plan carefully to make the most of your time in this enchanting city. 


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