Like many English cities, Sheffield owes its modern day position as a major urban area to its industrial past, having pioneered advances in the production of crucible steel in the 18th century and stainless steel in the early 20th century. Although manufacturing in Sheffield has ceased to be the major industry it once was, the strength of its historical connection to metalwork is the reason the Sheffield United Football Club are still known by their nickname “the blades” and the city’s ice hockey team are named the Sheffield Steelers.
Surprisingly for a city with such a strong industrial heritage, Sheffield has a reputation for being England’s greenest city. Visitors to Sheffield will discover a tree filled town with public parks and gardens, woodlands and plenty of national park land. With more than a third of Sheffield overlapping the stunning Peak District National Park, the city is an excellent destination for hikers and nature lovers.
With a temperate climate typical of England, the summer months of July and August are usually the warmest and driest and the winter months of December, January and February are the coldest and wettest, although rain may occur throughout the year.
When to fly to Sheffield
Sheffield sees most tourists in July and August, when weather is most likely to be warmest and driest and the majority of outdoor events, such as festivals, take place.
Tourism is usually lowest in Sheffield from December to February, when the weather is coldest and there is the greatest likelihood of rain.
Getting around Sheffield
Sheffield is a pedestrian-friendly city making it easy to get around on foot. Many sites are within walking distance, too.
However, the city is also served by a tram network called Supertram, which offers routes covering 29km (18 miles) of the city including universities, the Cathedral, sports arenas and many other popular entertainment venues.
Sheffield insider information
- Millennium Galleries is Sheffield’s premier destination for art. Housed in a stunning and relatively new building (opened in 2001 as part of the Heart of the City project), the gallery is dedicated to visual arts, craft and design. It hosts touring exhibitions from other galleries, and features the Metalwork Gallery showcasing the city’s metalwork industries and the Ruskin Gallery showcasing the collection of John Ruskin’s Guild of St George.
- The Peace Gardens is a charming public square in front of Sheffield Town Hall. It has received many awards, and its central Goodwin Fountain, dedicated to local figures Sir Stuart and Lady Goodwin, was once named Fountain of the Year. The gardens’ fountains and cascades represent molten metal – symbolically important to this steelworkers’ city – as well as Sheffield’s rivers.
- Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, situated in the south of Sheffield, is a former steel-working site on the River Sheaf – the Abbeydale Works - that has been preserved as an industrial museum. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and houses relics of Sheffield’s industrial past. Visitors can find waterwheels, a grinding hull, tilt hammers and the only remaining intact crucible steel furnace in the world.
- Sheffield Botanical Gardens, located off Clarkehouse Road, were designed to promote both healthy recreation and self-education. Opened in 1836, the gardens contain 19 acres of plants from around the globe spread over fifteen separate garden areas. The gardens recently underwent extensive restoration, completed in 2005, with the aim of recapturing its late 19th century appearance and condition.