A weekend in Sheffield: Where to stay, where to eat and what to do

Ellie Ross
Millennium Square in Sheffield, England [Photo: Getty]

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Sheffield was once known as the Steel City, synonymous with heavy industry and smoke-billowing factories. No more.

Though its industrial history still exists, Sheffield is a hot ticket right now, with an increasing number of independent shops, cafés, bars and restaurants opening up.

Warehouses have turned into slick shops and food halls, and industrial red-brick walls are covered with colourful street art.

As well as a burgeoning food and drink scene, Sheffield is also known as the UK’s first ‘outdoor city’, and benefits from a close proximity to the Peak District, where climbing, mountain biking, road cycling, hiking and trail running are all easily accessible.

Sheffield: Fun facts

  • There’s a national park inside the city. Around one third of Sheffield is actually within the Peak District National Park – no other UK city has part of a National Park inside its boundaries.

  • It has its own Walk of Fame, outside the Town Hall, with star-shaped plaques honouring local heroes, including athletes Jessica Ennis and Sebastian Coe and actor Sean Bean.

  • It’s home to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, which was founded in 1857.

The botanical gardens in Sheffield are well worth a visit [Photo: Getty]
The Peak District National Park is only 30 minutes or so by car [Photo: Getty]

Here’s our guide to the best places to stay and eat, and what to do while you’re in Sheffield – no matter your budget.

Where to stay

If you’re on a budget

Set amidst the shops, restaurants and bars of the trendy Devonshire Quarter, the Sinclair Apartments are great value for money while also offering good standards. Rooms are clean, bright and modern, with scarlet feature walls, slate grey throws and matching cushions. The apartments are bigger than regular hotel rooms – choose from a studio, one-bed and two-bed boltholes, which all have kitchens and living areas, offering extra flexibility, especially for families looking to keep costs down.

Book the hotel here

Spacious and located in the trendy Devonshire Quarter, the Sinclair Apartments are ideal for families and groups [Photo: Sinclair Apartments]

If you’re looking for luxury

On the corner of pretty Endcliffe Park, Brocco offers boutique accommodation with fantastic food to boot. Its eight rooms are named after birds, like Nightjar’s Nest and Swallow’s Rafter. Expect neutral colour schemes, plenty of natural light, four-poster beds and freestanding bathtubs. The equally elegant, all-day restaurant serves everything from fluffy waffles for breakfast to Sunday roasts.

Book the hotel here

Located in picturesque Endcliffe Park, this boutique bolthole dishes up delicious food [Photo: Brocco]

Where to eat

If you’re on a budget

For an affordable meal, look no further than Kommune, a new food hall housed inside the old Castle House near Castlegate. Open all day, it brings together different cuisines, from artisan bakeries and speciality coffees to craft beer and Middle Eastern street food. The decor is industrial chic, with concrete pillars, long wooden tables, a steel bar and tall windows. You’ll also find a host of events here, from creative writing workshops to yoga classes. Light bites and good coffee are also served at Forge Bakehouse with its award-winning sourdough bread.

Kommune, a food hall, boasts multiple cuisines for you to pick from [Photo: Kommune]

If you’re looking for luxury

In the city’s Kelham Island area, Jöro is made entirely from upcycled shipping containers – a steel building in the heart of what was once the steel city. But while the decor is urban, the menu is exquisitely delicate with innovative, beautifully-presented dishes crafted by head chef Luke French. Feast on small plates of celeriac tagliatelle with herb and caper pesto (£6.50) or a five-course lunch including tomato tartare and roast Goosnargh duck (lunch menu from £35).

If you're feeling flush, the food at Jöro isn't too be missed [Photo: Jöro]

What to do

If you’re on a budget

Sheffield offers a wide range of free activities. Start by stepping inside the Cathedral, glancing up at its famous lantern tower and looking out for the swords and bayonets of the York and Lancaster Regiment. One-hour, guided tours cost £5. You could explore the city by foot for free – the Sheffield Round Walk is a 15-mile loop that takes you from the urban centre to nature in the southwestern edges of the city via leafy parkland, woodland streams, and pretty suburbs. Millennium Gallery, home to Sheffield’s premier collection of art and design, also has free entry.

Sheffield Cathedral, South Yorkshire, England [Photo: Getty]

If you’re looking for luxury

Feeling active? Then grab a paddle and explore Sheffield’s waterways by stand-up paddle board. DC Outdoors offer guided trips where you learn the basics before heading out along the city’s canals and rivers. Beginners can book a half-day taster session (£40) to learn the ropes and go on a mini exploration, or book a SUP experience that sees you paddle into the historic Victoria Quays and the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal (£40).

Explore Sheffield’s waterways by stand-up paddle board [Photo: DC Outdoors]

How to get there

Sheffield has a well-serviced railway station, connecting to other UK destinations including Leeds, London St Pancras, Manchester and York. You can also fly into its airport, Doncaster Sheffield, which lies 19 miles east of the city centre.

The main bus station, called the Interchange, is just east of the centre, and very close to the train station. National Express coaches run from here to London (from £5, taking just over four hours). Buses in the city are reliable, though most places in the centre are walking distance.