Things to Do in Sheffield

Creative Tourist

Once branded by George Orwell as “the ugliest town in the Old World”, Sheffield’s past and its cultural present are founded on one thing: the steel industry. During the 19th century, Sheffield witnessed explosive growth, the city we see today shaped by its industrial prosperity of old. So its leafy suburbs, for example, were purposely built up hill so that domestic residences would sit above the smog-blanketed centre of foundries and furnaces.

The cutlery works of Sheffield’s past have found new purpose in driving forward the city’s creative life; many now house galleries, independent shops and artist studios. Sheffield’s current status as the country’s greenest city is also, in some incongruous way, due to its industrial heritage: open spaces like the Botanical Gardens were designed to offer Victorian residents a much-needed breath of fresh air. While other cities bustle between high rises and shopping precincts, Sheffield is a place to pause and look around, whether inwards from its hillsides, over spires, chimneys and curling valleys, or outwards from the city centre, to the breeze and birdsong of the moorland that continues to inspire so many artists, designers and makers.

Discover our top picks

Bill Stephenson, 'Tony the Ton' and Martin age 8, outside the Pop In Centre. Hyde Park Flats, Sheffield, 1988 © Bill Stephenson. Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future at S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Exhibitions 20 July–15 September 2018, FREE

Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future at S1 Artspace, Sheffield

It will have escaped few people’s attention that the UK is currently in the grip of an unprecedented housing crisis. Against this backdrop, A Romance for the Near Future – S1 Artspace’s inaugural exhibition at its new Park Hill premises – couldn’t be more perfectly, nor boldly conceived.

Theatre 21–23 November 2018, from £10.00

Dirty Work (The Late Shift) at Theatre Deli

In Dirty Work (The Late Shift) two performers conjure an extraordinary performance in a collaborative and competitive act of description.

From theatrical spectacle to historical events, daily life to impossible feats, cabaret to political speeches, and from sublime beauty to vivid terrors, everything is here, in provocative, intimate and comical style.

Peter Kennard, Disarm Now! 1995-2018. Image © Peter Kennard. Art Against War: Peter Kennard and the CND Movement at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Exhibitions 9 June–7 October 2018, FREE

Art Against War: Peter Kennard and the CND Movement at Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

Art Against War at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield draws together over 100 artworks by one of Britain’s leading political artists, Peter Kennard – best known for his darkly satirical depiction of Tony Blair taking a selfie in front of an oilfield explosion in Iraq.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Exhibitions 30 June–23 September 2018, FREE

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Explore the work of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography – Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, and Clementina Hawarden – with a major new exhibition, ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography’, coming to Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

Music 31 October 2018, from £5

The Ligeti Quartet: Reich and Crumb at The Leadmill

Modern and contemporary music specialist The Ligeti Quartet presents a one-off concert in Sheffield, featuring two of the 20th Century’s masterpieces: Steve Reich’s Grammy Award-winning Different Trains and George Crumb’s iconic Black Angels. With a diverse programme of works by John Adams, John Zorn and Tanya Tagaq completing the programme, this looks set to be an exciting and unique evening at The Leadmill.

Julian Opie, Julian. 2013. Courtesy the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery, London. Heads Roll at Graves Gallery, Sheffield. Curated by Paul Morrison
Exhibitions 11 August–24 November 2018, FREE

Heads Roll: An Exhibition Curated by Paul Morrison at Graves Gallery

Featuring work by over 60 internationally renowned artists spanning 400 years, Heads Roll at Graves Gallery in Sheffield sets out on a remarkable journey to unpick one of the world’s most popular and enduring artistic genres: the portrait.

Sheffield District Guides

London Road & the Antiques Quarter, Sheffield

Centuries ago, London Road was a thoroughfare used by farmers taking their cattle to market,…

Kelham Island, Sheffield

The engraving “Made in Sheffield” continues to stand for quality on knives and forks around…

Hunter’s Bar, Sheffield

On 31 October 1884, the gatekeeper at Hunter’s Bar toll-house requested the city’s last ever…

Devonshire Quarter, Sheffield

Directly west of the city centre, the Devonshire Quarter comes alive both by day and…

City Centre, Sheffield

Welcoming visitors as soon as they step off the train to Sheffield is the Sheffield…

Broomhill and Crookes, Sheffield

To the west of the city, the suburbs of Broomhill and Crookes, though small, contain…